Monday, October 19, 2015

Porridge and the End User Experience

By John Trimble

According to the Standish Group, what do IT projects that are defined as successful have in common with IT projects that fail? The common link to both successful and failed project is “end users.”

In successful projects the number one determinant factor of success was “user Involvement.” Similarly the number one reason listed for IT ‘fails” was – you guessed it – “lack of user input.”

Is this surprising? Yes and no.

When so many things can go wrong technically in any large IT deployment to have the number one cause of failure being people and not, by the way, the technical team or their skill sets but the actual users one could find that surprising.

But in another way it is not surprising at all.

Information Management systems fall in this category and perhaps the biggest thing IOS has learned in installing over 500 of them is this: the user experience means everything. In fact, when a company invests in a serious content management system what are they really hoping they bought? Great software? Cutting edge technology?

Savvy companies are really hoping they have purchased an end user experience so positive that adoption will happen quickly and without management mandate... that the business process re-invention will be not just accepted but applauded because their people are gleefully embracing a new and better way of working without kicking and screaming because they actually understand it…that change is actually managed….you know, change management?

Companies want to buy that end game and yet still engage in an outdated vetting process to determine which provider is most likely to furnish it.

Possibly the goofiest aspect of the buying process is that most companies ignore the finish line of the user experience – the end game - and focus solely on the false prophesies of RFP’s, different variations of software demo hell and requesting lengthy propaganda proposals where the authors will need to be  paid by the word or platitude.

So much of that is now baked into the techno buying culture that they ignore the one question they should be asking, one we actually love to hear. It would sound like this:

“Hey IOS: About 44% of projects like this are challenged - meaning over budget and over-promised. Roughly 24% are defined as abject failures. SO TELL ME SPECIFICALLY what you do to ensure a successful implementation ensuring a positive end user experience?”

That is a great and honest question.

Our answer?  IOS is small enough to be flexible and creative, to be responsive during design and implementation. IOS is large enough to have redundancies in our technical and software support roles. We are freaking Goldilocks.

This allows us to be able to focus on the end user experience and we work backwards from that. Everything that needs to occur to ensure that outcome is designed and factored including the sharing of what countless other companies have done in similar circumstances with our help.

Porridge anyone?
Friday, October 2, 2015

Satisficer or Maximizer?

By Brian Kopack

Love the concept.  Totally wish I had come up it.

I read about it in a Time magazine article written by Aziz Ansari.

The article was about relationships and it references a Psychology professor’s work that divides people into two groups - people who satisfy and then settle (Satisficers) v people who are always looking to improve (Maximizers).

Business are made of up of people, so it isn’t a wonder that businesses behave similarly.

Closer to home, our experience tells us that the distinction captures how businesses approach their content management challenges – pitch perfectly.

From a content management perspective, whether you are a Satisficer or a Maximizer hinges on two key things: how you see change and your relationship with technology.

For as long as IOS has been in the content management business (and it’s been a long time), our nemesis has always been the Satisficer.  To them, change is hard.  Technology is expensive and unpredictable.  They can tolerate inefficiency.

No business sets out to be a Satisficer.  A strategic delay here, a rationalization there and next thing you know, your systems and processes today look remarkably similar to the way they did in 2008.  You can’t believe it because back in the glory days you were great.  Time passes and it is easier to settle for a workaround or manual process to make your business go than to evolve.  You go a few years without any upgrades.  Now you have an old, costly information management system supported by an army of people working too hard to maintain and compensate for its deficiencies.  The leap into the 21st century seems unthinkable.

Maximizers, on the other hand, know technology is constantly changing the way people work, so to not take advantage of the new waves of advancement doesn’t make sense. The status quo is their kryptonite.  Maximizers see technology as an investment, not a cost.  To them, the cost is in not adopting.  Instead of focusing on limitations, they search for opportunities.  They see complacency as ultimately debilitating.

So here’s the thing, wherever your business is on the spectrum, there is a chance to improve.  That’s good news.  Technology creates opportunity.  Expertise and creativity make opportunities reality.

So here’s another thing, IOS can help no matter which camp you’re in.  That’s better news.  IOS is agile enough to be just as valuable to the Satisficer as to the Maximizer.  In fact, some of our strongest relationships started with a Satisficer customer who transformed themselves into a Maximizer.

That long-arc development is important to IOS because we’ve seen the transitions in the content management world.  We know it’s a process.  We know there will always be new challenges as the information needs of business evolve and technological capabilities expand.

Two other things we know: great, creative ideas never go out of style and experience isn’t a commodity.

Those – we’ve maximized.