User Engagement: Empowering Users for a Successful Digital Transformation Journey

By: Ramya Ragavan , Senior Director of Customer Success

July 15, 2020 in Business Resilience, Success

Users engaging with each otherDigital transformation, and going virtual, is at the forefront of companies right now (maybe a little quicker than many expected). This started as a trend, but COVID-19 required companies to pivot and really look into speeding up the process. While many have already started this process, it’s not something that’s ever really complete; it’s an ongoing journey involving a lot of user engagement.

We know that a successful digital transformation journey requires the buy-in from every tier of management – board members, c-suite, and upper and mid-level management; however, to ensure long-term success, it is important for employees to embrace the change as well. For those leading the transformation, this could mean partaking in any or all of the following to move beyond non-actionable documents:

  1. Identifying the right solution and/or system
  2. Promoting the new solution and/or system
  3. Providing training
  4. Leading a phased, early roll-out
  5. Incorporating end user feedback
  6. Continuous improvement

All of this together formulates an effective strategy for user engagement. With many SaaS products contributing to an organization’s journey of successful digital transformation, the key to long-term success is driving adoption and continuous user engagement.

When selecting a solution or a system – whether it is for returning to work, business continuity management, risk management, etc. – make sure that you are not required to build something from the ground up and that there are options to configure. This requires a system that comes with a prescriptive methodology based on industry best practices, as well as provides additional options to enhance and scale as your program evolves.

A powerful system is one that lets you configure features to your program needs. As your program grows and matures, the system should be flexible enough to meet your needs so that you don’t have to move to another system when it reaches its limits. When you are able to progress your program with one system, it helps users adapt easier since they would already be familiar with the program. It will also reduce the overhead on training, as you only have to train the users on one system and/or solution instead of a whole new program.

When thinking about how to roll-out a system, make sure to identify your user’s key persona to promote an easier transition. It is important to note that an administrator’s interaction with the system can be quite different than an end user. For example, an administrator’s role will most likely be to manage the system which can include managing an end user’s ability to access and view information. Administrators need visibility into a lot more data sets whereas an end user’s role might be to complete tasks or perform selective actions. This will only require limited access to the system to ensure the end user is focused and not overwhelmed with more information than needed.

Most software products are equipped with greater configuration, leaving it up to the core users to choose from an overwhelming amount of different options. Well done implementation and planning – along with an effective roll-out strategy – will be a boon to user engagement, contributing to the overall success of digital transformation.

Key user engagement insights (which should be the primary objective of any digital transformation journey) include:

  1. Users are your advocates! Invest in learning about user personas. One way to do so is to learn from end users on how features are used, and then apply that knowledge to drive persona-based user experience. This is an effective strategy to turn loyalty into advocacy, and ultimately, engage users. When you give your users a voice, it makes users more likely to want to proactively participate in your program, and there is no better way to create program awareness. Their feedback can help formulate a roadmap that allows you to execute your vision for a solution. It’s a win-win!
  2. Don’t be a single point of failure. Ineffective roll-out can become the single cause of failure. Don’t depend on just one key resource or one key team to be engaged in your product. Consider rolling out in phases early on. There is no such thing as ‘perfect product/feature’ – investing too much time in implementing a feature without rolling it out and getting user feedback is a recipe for failure. Follow lean principles and build iteratively while promoting to users in phases. For example, at Fusion, we help clients formulate an effective roll-out strategy by separating users into three categories: administrators, power users, and light-touch users. This helps ensure there is not a single point of failure by establishing clear roles and providing checks and balance.
  3. Gain trust and credibility. Gaining trust from users is the #1 contributor to long-term success! To establish trust and credibility, you must engage and partner with your users. Prioritize user engagement to be a key value driver through advocacy and timely roll-out. This will be valuable in promoting program visibility at all levels.

The process of using technology to not just meet but evolve programs through the digital transformation journey is revolutionizing how companies do business as well as survive and thrive the pandemic. And, no program can be successful without user engagement and adoption. Achieving organizational objectives is a multi-step process – leveraging technologies and promoting user engagement are some of the keys to success.