Identifying Requirements: User Input is Key

1 Oct 2019

Don’t spend money on technology that won't be used by anyone. Get your end users involved by including them in your requirements needs analysis.

Finding the right technology solution is like buying a car. There are lots of choices. Cars, SUVs, trucks, and vans can all get you from A to B, but in very different ways. You choose based on your needs and budget.

So how do you identify your voice communication needs?

Your technical staff should have a lot of input. They fix the problems and keep things running. But usually, they don’t have the whole picture.

To get the rest of the story, you must talk with your users. Yes, it takes time. It might even slow down the process on the front end.

So why involve your users in the process to define requirements?

Requirements: Uncover Important Information

In almost every needs analysis I have done, we discovered both training issues and process issues that were previously unknown. In some cases, the IT team got a quick win by resolving these issues for the users.

The process also reveals the exceptions, where people don't use the system in an expected way. You may discover capabilities in use today that you did not know about. And you’ll probably learn about needs that the current system does not meet.

Reduce Resistance to Change

People don't resist change in and of itself. We all experience change constantly. But people do resist change that is forced on them or is unexpected.

When the users are involved in the process, the change is no longer forced or unexpected. The transition is easier.

In fact, I recommend involving your most judgmental users. You know the ones. They complain the most, and are most critical of the existing situation. If they participate in the change and have some ownership of it, then it will be harder for them to complain about it once it's implemented.

Discover Future Needs

In many organizations, users don’t make it a point to tell IT about things they would like to have. But they will talk about their wishes during a needs analysis session. How else will you know what your users need, and will actually use?

Develop User Profiles

Developing user profiles is important down the road. You need these user profiles to determine the types of phones needed and to define your licensing requirements.  Typically, there are at least three different user profiles: Basic, General, and Power User. There could be more, but almost every organization has these three types.

Save Money

Saving money is the payoff for creating the user profiles. By assigning profiles to your users, you know the correct quantities for each type of phone and license and can buy what’s appropriate for each type. There's no reason to buy the most expensive licenses for everyone.

More importantly, you will have better user adoption. You realize the full value of the solution ONLY if the users actually use the capabilities. A needs analysis is critical if you want to avoid spending money on technology that nobody uses.

In addition, the right solution will decrease the incentive for users to invest in Shadow IT. (You know, those rogue applications that users pay for out of Department budgets, without approval from IT).

Of course, in the long run, IT ends up having to support those unauthorized applications. This creates an unanticipated support burden that requires unbudgeted time and/or dollars.

Improve the Employee Experience

The importance of the Employee Experience has been confirmed by many surveys. Happier employees are key to happier customers.

Employees that are frustrated with their technology are less likely to be happy. So involve your users in a needs analysis to uncover what it takes to make them happier. Who knows? You may end up with happier customers, too.

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