How to Keep Employees using your Portal

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Your organization could have the best portal in the world but if your staff isn’t using it, you won’t enjoy the benefits. Therefore, creating long-term and sustained engagement is crucial. To help you keep your employees using your portal, here are 6 tips to create sustained portal usage.

Incorporate the portal into the onboarding process for new employees

The advantage with new employees is that they have no prior experience with legacy processes or systems. This allows organizations a fresh slate and set the expectation that the portal is to be used continuously. It is key to get new hires logged into the portal early in the on-boarding process so it becomes part of the day to day activity. Furthermore, these are internal systems that the new employee would not have experience with, so they need to be trained or they will find workarounds they are comfortable or reach out to other employees that use the legacy processes.

Ensure the system is designed to make lives easier

There will be some hesitation and/or resistance in adopting the portal system. The best way to ensure engagement over the long-term is that the portal is built with them in mind. A well-planned and executed portal will address more than surface concerns of a few stakeholders or a department. The portal needs to be the easiest and fastest place for employees to extract information and complete tasks. A slow, cumbersome, confusing, or outdated portal will lead to employees reverting to their old processes.

Make it part of the day-to-day

For the best return on investment, organizations should focus on increasing the productivity of daily tasks. If the portal only addresses tasks that are done on an inconsistent basis or with long gaps between, the employees may stick with traditional processes despite the improvements portals may bring. The reason being that the headache every so often is less of an inconvenience than learning a new system.

A way to make this part of the day-to-day is to ensure that information flows through the portal. For example, instead of emailing a coworker a document, direct them to use the portal. In this way, people will become accustomed of using the portal. Furthermore, this will ensure that all the content on the portal is kept up to date.

Keeping the portal updated

Keeping the portal fresh is a key to keeping employees engaged. If materials, designs, user experiences, etc. become old; employees will become more frustrated and the usage will begin to drop.  

Consider real-world rewards.

This approach may not work for organizations for a variety of factors, like budget or management style. However, people are motivated by incentives and rewards. Consider incorporating rewards that equate portal activity to real-world benefits. Whether it’s something small, like a shout-out at the next team meeting, or a big prize like a half-day off or a group reward, anything that keeps the water cooler buzz focused on your portal is a good thing. This strategy doesn’t need to always be in place but can be adopted at the beginning of implementation or when usage begins to dip.

Ask for feedback.

This is the most important tip with portal implementation. Organizations need to understand how its employees are using the system and the pain points they may face. Not only will address this feedback improve the usability of the platform, but the employees will feel listened to and that the organization wants to provide only the best tools for success.

A second area to get feedback from its analytics. Evaluate the performance and the journeys employees are taking within the system. You may discover areas that aren’t functioning as intended, important information may be hidden away, some parts may be slower than others, or there is optimization that can be made in certain processes.

How Budgeting Impacts Digital Transformation

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Traditional budgeting in large enterprises interferes with digital transformation success. When projects are approved for a limited budget cycle (say 1 or 2 periods), the project’s value and potential to bring digital transformation begins to diminish as soon as funding stops. On the other hand, if the projects are funded with adequate sustained investment value can be maintained and increased over time. This consistent budgetary support brings about digital transformation. Technology projects have been operating for over fifty years and the lessons learned in that time will help us create better long-term solutions moving forward. For businesses looking to transition into more agile operating models, allowing for creating software operating models will greatly enhance business value and agility.

The Problem with Traditional Funding

The classic funding model for technology projects, that has been the norm for the past fifty years, starts with a business case for change. The project includes requirements, function points, an estimating model, and a work plan all rolled up into a budget request for funds allocation. When the project is approved, resources are provisioned and the work plan is initiated, working toward a completion date. What is missing from this scenario is the impetus for change. Most of these large projects resulted from a long period of dormant activity with the existing technology. Even though maintenance may have been performed on the original solution, this will not promote digital transformation. Without a sustained reinvestment plan, a gradual obsolescence turns into a mountain of “technical debt”. This debt will eventually interfere with business agility and competitiveness.

Moving Toward Agile Business Models

For businesses that desire agility and want to promote digital transformation need to not only speak about it but weave it into the overall strategy. A part of this new strategy is a reimagining on budgeting. A better alternative to the traditional project-based funding is to consider a sustained development program for the long-term, which emphasizes continuous development or “agile” methods. By reorienting the organization toward an operations funding model of this type, organizations reduce business risk associated with technical obsolescence and increase the lifetime utility of their software assets. Any budgeting strategy has its potential downsides. In the case of this agile funding and management approach, software investments can be greater on a net present value basis and it firmly places the software development program as an operations concern to be managed effectively. This potential downside is reduced when the organization and its stakeholders have the vision of digital transformation.

Business agility, as supported by software investments, is a key reason for the popularity of software as a service model. These organizations have converted to operational budget models, and have outsourced the ongoing development and maintenance. Business agility strategies see results from the continuous gain of utility delivered by new software features and the organization’s ability to take advantage of these features. These enhancements will avoid the organization from becoming a laggard and can provide a competitive advantage through the constant digital transformations.

Is Blockchain Right for You? Bridging the Legacy Gap

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In 2017, it has seemed as if every day there were new reports, predictions, stories, and articles on how innovative and disruptive blockchain technologies can be.

The allure of a decentralized ledger is powerful, especially in financial services. The great appeal may stem from the fact that there are multiple use-cases for the blockchain. It does not begin and end as the backbone for cryptocurrencies. In fact, the flexibility of the blockchain is a primary reason why investors and technologists alike have taken an interest in the technology.

There are many use cases for blockchain, but the one that could have the most impact on society is using it as the decentralized ledger for transactions of any type. Cryptocurrencies do not have to be developed for the blockchain to have a major impact on the payments landscape.

It’s clear that technology companies are growing to dominate the peer-to-peer payment landscape. These brands are making strides to take over payments for small businesses. This trend isn’t new. It all began with Paypal, but since then, many payment companies have popped up (Venmo, Moneris, Square, etc.). In addition to those financial technology companies, brands such as Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon are making their way into the payment landscape. If people can send each other money over an app they already use every day, what chance to banks have to win back the market?

Challenges to Technology Integration in Banks

Despite its growing popularity, the blockchain isn’t a magical solution that can solve all of a bank’s problems. There are challenges associated with upgrading any technology suite, but especially those that involve updating an outdated legacy system.

For a blockchain-based solution to integrate with a legacy system, all processes must be explicitly defined and automated. Any ad hoc inputs, reports, or processes need to be standardized and defined. No process can run on the blockchain if it requires human intervention. Blockchain-based solutions need to be able to update automatically for the decentralization to realize its full potential.

Internal processes and outputs must be clear and concise while meeting a business need. If there are ledgers with poorly defined purposes that are to be moved to a single, decentralized ledger, the blockchain solution will not be able to work until the purpose and inputs of those ledgers are defined within a greater system.

The other major challenge to creating an integrated blockchain solution is finding a place for manual processes and transactions. If a process is not automated, the blockchain cannot move it to a decentralized ledger. Banks will need to either automate these processes or find a place for them in the new, decentralized, automated system.

These challenges aside, there are several other considerations to be made when modernizing a legacy system with the blockchain. We will cover them next time in Part Two of this article.

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