Walk through any office today and much of the action takes place around people interacting with applications. It may be happening at their desk, on a mobile device or even with a group collaborating around a large monitor. Given the high importance of these two elements of the business, the smart executive should continually improve application proficiency levels to drive better results.
Most businesses spend time testing software to verify it fits the business. Equally important is the need to test the level of proficiency their staff has when using the applications. Both elements have a large impact on future business success. Objective measurement of application proficiency over time helps business leaders understand the impacts on daily operations and discover the performance gaps. This is key to understanding the total business benefits associated with these important functions to arrive at a fair Return on Investment determination.
Improve the effectiveness of your technology investments.
The consequences are significant when people lack application proficiency. One outcome could be data errors that negatively impact operational performance and increase support costs. Or customers may receive a poor experience, causing increases in complaints and a reduction in satisfaction. This could lead to hiring additional staff to make up for the lower productivity. And when the staff is frustrated and unhappy with their proficiency low morale and increased turnover occurs.
Effective measurement of user proficiency requires four key steps:
- Define the target proficiency needed to achieve operational performance
- Tailor training and preparation to reach this proficiency level
- Measure the actual proficiency level compared to the target
- Close proficiency gaps with additional training or other measures
Define the target proficiency
Defining the level of proficiency to achieve the desired operational performance goal requires a focus on the system transactions that impact the transaction volumes and slow execution times. It is also important to differentiate between the proficiency level of a new hire and one operating at optimal levels to adjust expected time required between these two levels.
It is important to link a training curriculum to the relative importance of the different processes and transactions for the job. Training should be role-based and include all major process variants and key exception processes. The effectiveness of training must be evaluated by measuring staff proficiency over time.
Measure the actual proficiency level
Time and motion studies fail to identify all of the people that are struggling and need more training. Today’s Cloud-based tools automatically measure proficiency by recording each keystroke to track whether they are navigating the application correctly. Using data in real-time enables immediate analysis of performance compared to the expectations. These measurement systems have the power to improve operational performance with little additional effort.
Close proficiency gaps
Once good data is flowing from an application measurement system it can be immediately used to identify activities to improve performance.
- Staff can be re-trained or given additional practice time
- People who are struggling in the live environment can be taken offline and put through targeted additional training
- Transactions that are slower than expected can be redesigned
- The training and on-line support tools can be improved
The benefits of measuring and improving user proficiency are continuous, ensuring that operational performance levels are maintained over the long-term and through staffing improvements. In fact, I believe that if executives were to put as much emphasis on enhancing and measuring staff application proficiency as they do on other performance indicators, they could significantly improve the effectiveness of their technology investments. This, in turn, would increase operational performance both today – and into the future.