Good service design deserves good business change

There’s no question that, when it comes to service design, it makes sense to engage the best team possible. Why isn’t Business Change viewed as such an integral part of a project team?

Good service design deserves good business change

There’s no question that, when it comes to service design, it makes sense to engage the best team possible. Why isn’t Business Change viewed as such an integral part of a project team?

Meet the author

Catriona McKimmie

Consultant

There’s no question that, when it comes to service design, it makes sense to engage the best team possible. 

Why isn’t Business Change viewed as such an integral part of a project team? Change is too often brought in at the last minute to deploy comms and training right before rollout, meaning that there isn’t time to design and deliver a true engagement strategy. A recent public sector engagement reinforced our belief that Business Change is more than a “nice to have”. Rather, it is an essential part of any successful transformation.

Recently, Clarasys has worked on both sides (service design and business change) of a major digital transformation project.

The service is a large scale initiative which will impact hundreds of organisations of varying sizes.

Initially Clarasys was engaged as part of the service design team alongside a partner organisation. As the project developed it quickly became evident that the change aspect had not been sufficiently scoped. Clarasys’ prior experience with successful change projects led us to recommend the engagement of a Business Change team to concentrate on the tricky business of winning the “hearts and minds” of stakeholders.

Service design lies at the heart of the project, but the impact of the Business Change team has highlighted the importance of giving equal credence to Change Management when stepping back to look at the project as a whole. The service could be the best in the world, but if users don’t find the whole process as intuitive as the interface then adoption will suffer and resources wasted on avoidable problems.

How did we do it?

Rather than beginning with training and comms – often viewed as the “bread and butter” of change projects – the team started by segmenting stakeholders based on geography and sentiment to get to the heart of why they might feel negative about the change. This led to an understanding of the root blockers to adoption, and how we could help. Without this analysis, a stakeholder would simply be labelled as “a blocker”. Having done the groundwork, we were able to understand that it was (for instance) hardware issues, not merely a poor attitude to change, which was preventing them from adopting the change.

While developers can easily be lost in the detail, the change team has the luxury of being able to zoom out to the bigger picture. This perspective makes it easier to understand where, fundamentally, the project has come from and where it is going. They are also able to step into the user experience from a different angle to the user research team. Although user research focuses on the click-through journey, Business Change has the luxury of looking at this in relation to the user’s overall experience of and attitude towards the product.

Through analysis, frequent iteration of engagement strategy and ongoing daily contact with stakeholders the Business Change team was able to understand where blockers to adoption existed and work cross-regionally to counteract them. An organisation in the north could be having exactly the same issue as one in the south, but, without the Change Team bridging the gap and encouraging them to help one another, both would have suffered in isolation. This meant that each organisation was not only provided with the correct support, but that this support was given in their own language. Regular, personalised communication (such as case studies from various Local Authorities) was key to ensure that stakeholders were drivers of their own journey and that the change will stick after the go-live date. Drawing on Clarasys’s Customer and User Experience expertise brought further understanding of how the user felt at each stage in the transition.

This engagement has been instrumental to drive adoption and gather feedback from all corners of the country, a key aspect of Agile development. Through case studies and project spotlights, the Change Team has highlighted that feedback has a real impact on where developers focus their efforts. Once stakeholders see the impact which their feedback has, engagement becomes even more likely.

Ultimately, this background work has enabled the smooth adoption of a new digital service. 

From small benefits like preventing unnecessary tickets being raised on the service desk to larger ones like moving a stakeholder from the blocker to the adopter persona, the benefit is self-evident. The whole industry is prepared for the change and moves as one. The numbers speak for themselves: 100% of Local Authorities were engaged and had a plan for transition before the go-live date, over 180 users joined the self-serve app designed to share change materials and over half of all organisations attended webinars.

Any project of this scale will inevitably involve changes to ways of working, so why don’t more organisations pre-empt this from the offset and place the same value on Business Change support as Service Design?

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