Continuous User Enablement: The New Reality of IT
User enablement is something that many organizations primarily think about in terms of large IT initiatives, such as a new ERP system, Operating System, or productivity suite. Traditionally, this standard lifecycle of all critical business applications, the supporting infrastructure behind them, and the tools used to secure them would typically follow a cadence measured in several years before they would require any significant change or disruption to the business. This cadence worked well in the past because it matched the pace of general operations at many midsize businesses. Today, however, the power of cloud technologies has accelerated the pace of technology innovation. While businesses are eager to leverage the benefits of the cloud to overcome many limitations of traditional IT, they struggle to reorganize their approach to change management in order to reflect the new business realities of today.
Embracing a New Pace of Change
In today’s business climate, frequent change has become the norm for any organization looking to remain vital and successful. Cloud technologies such as Azure and Office 365 have accelerated the rate of change from an IT perspective to match this climate. Gone are the days where you can just “set it and forget it.” Organizations looking to grow must continuously retain, extend, and modernize their IT infrastructure to meet modern business demands.
Keeping up with technology is hard enough but enabling the workforce to fully embrace continual change is arguably the biggest challenge of all. Not only is IT tasked with making continual and incremental changes to policies, procedures, and the systems that end-users rely upon, but managing people in the face of digital business transformation has its inherent challenges as well – people don’t like change.
The Changing Role of IT
Human beings are creatures of habit. We like to wake up at the same time every day, follow our typical routines, and expect our technology to “just work” for us to get the job done. For a Managed Services team, this means much more than resetting passwords and keeping servers online. IT must continuously engage with the rest of the business to transform for the future, and this includes engaging directly with end-users to ensure the adoption of new technology.
Deploying a technology solution is no longer the last step to a successful IT project; ensuring the users are leveraging the solution to their full potential, and the business is realizing the actual return on their technology investment, is the new measure of success. This shift in the role of IT is how SWC’s User Enablement and Adoption offering came to be. With continuous end-user enablement purposefully wrapped around regular, incremental IT changes within the organization, end-users will stop seeing IT as “getting in the way” of their work and start seeing IT as a partner that is helping them improve their quality of work and life.
As the movement towards continuous user enablement picks up speed, companies should be looking for a partner who can deliver not only the technical capabilities but also on the change management strategies needed to enable a company’s most valuable asset – its people.
In my next blog, we’ll explore some of the ways IT organizations are choosing to deal with mounting business demands, as well as how to overcome the challenges associated with user adoption and enablement in a rapidly changing business environment.