Thursday 28 June 2018

#DWX18 - Tony Byrne on Digital Workplace Technology Selection

I'd seen Tony Byrne from Real Story Group present at an Enterprise 2.0 conference in Santa Clara eight years ago (this was my presentation there) and remember it was an excellent session so I was really looking forward to an update at Digital Workplace Experience in Chicago. Especially as Dion Hinchcliffe talked about the accidental digital workplace canvas no longer being sustainable.

For Tony, the future digital workplace will probably consist of major platforms supplemented with best of breed point solutions. I agree, though for me, this is about the limitations of cloud. Ie that now so much of our technology is only open to configuration rather than customisation it can constrain our needs for best fit. The optimal solution is therefore often best practice cloud for the bulk of our functionality, and best of breed solutions for the things which really matter for us and for which we therefore need best fit. Tony suggested that fit in this context needs to include scenario fit, technology fit, vendor fit and value fit.

I also liked Tony's mall metaphor, where there are anchor stores includes the capabilities which are critical for employees such as collaboration, the enterprise social network and HR, and then additional boutiques. If one boutique goes down the mall doesn't change. If an anchor store does the mall is in trouble.

This means we need to be smarter about our technology selection decisions, understanding how we can help employees work better through design thinking and the use of personas, journey mapping and top tasks analysis, etc, as well as employee stories illustrating these employee journeys or use cases.

We also need to put more focus on applications rather than sites or content, eg by thinking more deeply about the specific functions a particular system can provide, rather than assuming that because we can use something for x, we can use it for y - with Office 365 providing a good example of this.

I particularly liked Tony's arc of participation model linking features to outcomes. Which of these will move the needle often depends on the employee journey. I particularly liked this model as I think the horizontal scale maps to the work done by people (eg collaboration) - people doing work (eg networking) scale in my own categorisation model.

However I don't want to share too many of Tony's proprietary models, and will finish with one more of his less analytical but still very valid suggestions, which is to avoid the following four traps:
  • A one horse race - selecting a vendor just because it is placed in the magic quadrant (particularly if this really indicates the size of the vendor or its marketing and sales spend)
  • Love at first sight - overlay fast decision making rather than proceeding through something like Tony's filtering process
  • My cousin Vinnie - assuming that because a system worked well for them it must also work for us
  • 'Happiness is a stack of warm binders' documenting features - rather than understanding real requirements

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