Start with the 'why' - the increasing need for attention on the human element in digitisation. Takeaways from the Beltug N-sight, 5 Dec 2019


While the digital transformation is driving us towards tools promising greater efficiency, productivity, insights, collaboration, etc., they won't get a company very far if employees don’t use them. That means we can never forget the human element in the story. 


So you have to ask yourself: does your staff adopt these tools and use them to their fullest capacity? Do they truly leverage the new possibilities? And how do you support and guide them to embrace the new tools and increase their engagement?


During this session, we heard three real cases:  how Nippon Gases embedded adoption in its transformation vision, how employee acceptance of mobile devices and apps is increasing efficiency at Seris, and the success and failure factors experienced by SD Worx. Then, work21 took on change management and adoption.


The presentations from the N-sight are available for our members (after login). 



Case: Workplace NEXT - A compelling transformation

We opened the session with the real-life case of Nippon Gases. Gianni Cairo, IT Service Delivery Manager Europe at Nippon Gases explained that a major acquisition lead to profound changes in the organisation’s ITS landscape.  Combined with certain technological challenges (for example, the company was still running Lotus Notes on-premise), this created a need for a single vision for the entire company.  The change programme, set up in collaboration with Insight, was dubbed 'Workplace NEXT'. It involved several stages, that needed to be realised in only 1 year. (slide 7).


Several steps were taken to communicate about the program and on-board the staff:

  • A SharePoint portal
  • A central program mailbox
  • A dashboard portal about the status of the migration
  • Calls from the CIO/President for reinforcement and motivation
  • Display monitors in the main office to create awareness


Gianni shared the training and guidance program that was rolled out (slide 10).


The very tight deadline was a dominating factor, and Gianni also observed big differences in adoption in the different (EU) countries.  Yet he evaluates the project positively and embraces a few lessons learned (slide 11).


Case: Successes and challenges in business transformations

SD Worx also started its transformation one year ago. Frederik Somers, Transformation Officer at SD Worx, took us through the ‘lean management methodology' implemented (slide 6). The KPIs themselves are no holy grail, but rather an enabler stimulating conversation on the progress and looking for improvements.


After 2 weeks of preparation (defining the change story, aligning involved stakeholders, preparing a communication plan, etc.), 16 weeks were taken to assess, aspire and implement (slide 9).


"Why do transformation efforts fail", Frederik questioned, then explaining that 70% of change programs fail because people are not on board with the transformation.  Don't spend more budget, he advised, spend your energy - on on-boarding your staff and users.  Shifting mindsets and behaviour can be achieved by using four change levers of the influence model. "I will change my own behaviour by:"

  • being a role-model
  • fostering understanding and conviction
  • developing talent and skills
  • feeling the impact of change
  • (slide 15).


Frederik highlighted a few of the challenges to their programme and the efforts to shift the mindsets and behaviour of the staff:

  • Superiors do not demonstrate the change or openly question the transformation and its purpose
  • The aim of the transformation is unclear or people have the wrong perception
  • There are unrealistic expectations for the speed of IT initiatives
  • New people entering the company do not have the required skills
  • Etc (slide 16).


Frederik concluded with his key success factors for a change programme:

  • Make sure the 'why' is well understood by your staff
  • Develop sufficient skills and knowledge
  • Make sure your line managers act as role models and are recognised as such
  • Have people feel the impact

(slide 17)


Case: Mobile devices and apps at Seris

Stijn Verheyden, Project Manager at the Seris, then shared the organisation's user story of mobile devices and apps. He began by outlining how mobile technology helps Seris in its challenges, through:

  • More efficient dataflow
  • Accurate logging
  • Live data & reporting
  • Doing more with less, and reducing the number of devices needed.
  • Employees working digitally
  • Eliminating paper
  • Faster customer reporting
  • Improved employee security
  • Operational cost reduction
  • Better and faster help for at-risk employees


The 'My Seris' mobile project first saw the light of day in 2009, with every mobile security guard getting a smartphone (a Windows Mobile 6.5 at the time).


Throughout the years, Seris learned (at times the hard way - see slides 11-13) that these mobile devices needed to be secured.  The organisation went looking for a partner to help them, and chose mobco. Together they tackled the first hurdles, and solved the issues of excessive data consumption and unprofessional behaviour (slide 17).  During Q&A, Stijn explained why the security guards need a separate device, rather than using their own smartphone with a few professional apps: the 'man-down' app for instance has specific technical requirements, smartphones need to be 'rugged', etc. In a 3rd stage, when the (outdated) devices needed to be replaced, new technology was implemented (slides 21-25).


(R)evolution in the user adoption of digital tools

Whatever technology you implement in your organisation, the human element is always your base point, started Gonny Vink, CEO of work21 as she shared her consultative expertise.


Most changes impact a large number of employees, enterprise-wide.  A majority of projects also impact business processes.  And in this era, the number of changes is increasing, leading to greater need for attention to the human element.


One key piece of advice she shared is to have change management play a major role in the success and business impact of a project.  Her call to action: make sure to dedicate part of your project budget to this change management.


Also, integrate the 3 pillars with each other: human, organisation and technology. For example, you ask your staff to adopt a new tool and at the same time you share how to use it.  Don't separate these elements.


Gonny shared an example of a digital workspace maturity canvas (a model created by Jane McConnell), that allows you to benchmark your organisation and compare your maturity to others (slide 24). And she gave a few use cases of this model (slides 26-28).


Don't forget, she emphasised:

  • The fear is stronger than the potential
  • We assess technology from our old frame of reference
  • If something is so new that we cannot compare it with something else, we underestimate it


Make sure to know the difference between a mere training and the higher steps: defining learning needs and goals, changing business performance and behaviour and the business needs and the impact that can be created.  These last are often not achieved with a simple training.


Gonny concluded with a 'mentometer' (see slides 29-31), a matrix with 2 axes:

  • X: the level of necessity to change
  • Y: the level of advantages of the change

The quadrants give you an indication of what type of guidance/intervention people need to adopt the change.





















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