Learnings from Empowering Business Workforce

One of my project teams is on a journey to empower themselves with technology. The team is using a rule-based dashboard. They wanted to tweak the rules, as per business demands, without waiting for IT support. Since this is a globally distributed team, they also want to coordinate and collaborate across markets. The ideas and change requests need to be reviewed for impact across regions. A decision was made by IT to empower business to own configuration changes and limit IT ownership to major releases. To facilitate this change management a set of training, process standardization, and quick prototypes were built to manage the ideas and change requests. Organizations across the world are striving to empower their workforces and I would like to share few learnings here,

  • Clear roles and responsibilities: As business users learn and create tools and make simple configuration changes, there needs to be clarity on the roles. For example, business users may not have sufficient knowledge or skills to carry out a deployment or set up an environment. These should still be supported by an IT expert.
  • Process clarity: A clear definition of the current process will give you a head start. As the team knows what role they play, and the steps involved in accomplishing a task. This will help you to plan what steps will be handed over to the business, what access and controls will be transferred, and to which roles.
  • Training: The most essential components in this change, is training. The citizen developers within business obviously need to get trained on the platform. In addition, they need to get a sufficient understanding of the technical environment setup, where they can develop, test, etc. This training can be a mix of documents, e-learnings, gamified learning courses, and simulations. A role-play and or mentor/mentee approach can also be very effective.
  • Prototypes: As the team completes the training, they can be introduced to their new roles and tools, in a gradual fashion. They can participate in building a prototype for a use case in the backlog. The feedback from this exercise will help us improve the training, the role definitions, and the process.

When the workforce is empowered with technology to implement their ideas, without waiting for approvals and support, you can see the ideas and change going live in days/weeks instead of months. The other less exploited opportunity is to leverage platforms like Microsoft PowerApps to build quick prototypes. The prototypes can be used to gather end-user feedback and finetune the process. This is especially useful if the process is dynamic or where it is less defined or adhered to. The excellent developer experience provided by PowerApps and UiPath platforms enables business users to adopt them easily and build a solution for themselves.

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