Persona-led Approach to IT Strategy and Delivery
Author(s): Linda Welch, Posted on November 5th, 2014
Marketing organizations have used the concept of building Persona profiles for key buying groups or organizational roles to increase response rates and interest for many years. By identifying characteristics of core segments of your buying target audience you can customize your messaging and approach to address pain points, key words, interest areas, and objectives that will better resonate and catch attention of that audience increasing open and click-through rates that lead to requesting more information.
What if you take that same approach to providing support and services to the employee within an organization? “Employees are the most important contributor to the company’s success and are as essential as any technology or process,” says Nikolina Bartels-King, Unisys Practice Lead. While your separate employee groups work together to deliver shared business outcomes, they all have unique processes, working pattern and goals based on their specific roles. For example, a sales executive has a different definition of productivity and set of key performance indicators (KPIs) than a procurement manager, a factory line worker, or a customer service representative. As such, the IT tools and support they require are different as well.
“By leveraging a persona approach to IT services versus a one-size-fits-all strategy that optimizes the productivity of each type of employee – or employee persona – you can optimize the performance of the organization,” says Kevin Turner, Architect End User Services Practice at Unisys. This means IT departments need to shift the focus from what technology employees use and where they work, to how they work and what they’re trying to accomplish.
Remember those good old days, not so long ago, when everyone who worked in the office got a PC with the basics – email, word processing, spreadsheet, internet browser, maybe presentation software. It was so simple – and easy to manage. But of course, that was when there wasn’t much choice or diversity, and IT departments started with the assumption that employees in the office pretty much all worked the same way. Over time as technology became more core to the business, IT departments had to start getting more personal in terms of what tools they gave to each employee. You started seeing some role-based computing, and SLAs tailored to different user groups. IT departments realized they couldn’t afford an expensive “do everything” solution that some employees would never use.
“The reality today is that with mobility, cloud and social computing, businesses and their employees have a wide choice, and can often take matters into their own hands. As a result, the complexity IT departments face is overwhelming. In today’s business environment, even employees with the same title don’t always work the same way. Productivity means very different things to various employees – a sales person vs. a truck driver vs. an HR manager – all are measured in different ways,” say Bartels-King.
IT departments need to look at greater personalisation and flexibility to support the levels of productivity and choice employees and the business have come to expect. At the same time, they have to find a balance so they don’t end up with a hugely complex environment based on mass customisation.
“That’s where Personas come in. It’s not a new concept, but now it’s gaining momentum in the IT space to help build strategies and delivery plans based on how users access, utilize and interact with technology,” adds Turner.
“We have found that It helps our clients become what we call “People Critical Enterprises” – recognizing that employee productivity is as critical an element in the concept of “mission critical” as both applications and infrastructure,” notes Bartels-King.
By applying this persona-based approach, you see greater IT resource and cost efficiency – fewer ‘one size fits all’ solutions that are seldom used by large numbers of employees. This frees up IT investment and departmental resources to focus on areas that deliver greater impact.
“The biggest overall improvement we see is stronger alignment between the business and IT by bringing the groups together and discussing IT in a language the business teams understand – business process and employee productivity,” concludes Turner.
Unisys has identified five best practices for more effective persona initiatives. By following these initiatives, you’ll have a head-start on your own personalized IT journey – and be that much closer to capturing your business goals.
For additional information on the Unisys Persona-based approach and best practices, watch this on-demand webinar highlighting the Five Best Practices for Personas-based IT Services to Boost Productivity and Business Results hosted by IDG’s Jim Malone, Nikolina Bartels-King, Unisys Practice Lead and Kevin Turner, Architect, Unisys End User Services Practice. In addition, download this point-of-view paper that expands on the Personas topic explored in the webinar The Unisys & CIO Magazine paper – Five Best Practices for Personas-based IT Services.