From Break Fix to Workforce Transformation: IT’s New Strategic Role in Keeping Talent Happy
I never thought when I took a position away from heading up Dell’s IT End User Computing operations for several years that I’d return to the role earlier this year to find myself at the helm of a business-critical, digital workplace transformation.
Now called Team Member Experience, my team has evolved from focusing on IT hygiene and baseline break fixes to providing the modern, mobile, collaborative tools and services to deliver a work environment that allows users to be connected and productive 24/7 whenever and wherever they are.
We have become a key strategic business partner to help Dell attract and retain the best talent in today’s highly competitive employment world. Team member experience is now a C-level conversation and a top priority for executives. And that has changed how IT defines and delivers what employees need and how we measure the success of how we serve them.
Different World, Different Workers
The reason for the change is two-fold. First, we live in a much more competitive world in terms of recruiting and keeping top talent. Second, workers themselves are more demanding and tech savvy. They want to be able to work wherever they are, whenever they want, and enjoy the same fast-changing technological advancements in their work life as they do at home.
Team Member Experience has had to change our approach as we strive to understand and address these new demands. For example, at first, we talked about accommodating remote workers and mobility as a separate process. But today we understand that mobility is essential for everyone that is working—in the office, across sites, in meeting rooms, in Starbucks or in a home office. And today it is not just mobility but the ability to collaborate through video and with data dynamically anytime, anywhere, any place that is key.
We have also changed the way we measure our performance from the traditional IT statistics around incident tickets and processes to a quarterly NPS-style pulse survey of 15,000 team members that tracks users’ ranking of their IT experience. This gives us a better lens and measurement to understand our Dell team members’ experiences.
The Persona Breakthrough
One of the biggest breakthroughs Team Member Experience has had in this ongoing transformation is its use of personas to provision equipment and capabilities for our workforce in a more efficient and more responsive way. A persona is a fictional character that IT creates based on research to represent the different types of users of IT services and products at Dell—for example, a contemporary developer, a field salesperson, or a business professional all have slightly different needs.
IT has been honing these categories over the past several years and using them to tailor the devices and products that each persona type needs to maximize their ability to do their job. We now base our IT service catalog on these personas, enabling team members to choose equipment packages to most effectively meet their needs in a simple, standardize process.
What we have realized is that our business-professional-focused Latitude 5000 Series laptops are perfect to support some 50 percent of our workforce, about 25 percent requires a high-end performing system and leverage our Latitude 7000 Series or Dell Precision Workstations, and our executive team uses our lightweight XPS laptop models. These are complimented by Optiplex and VDI for additional persona use cases. By setting up standardized catalog offerings based on personas, we have been able to improve our service to users as well as reduce our costs.
For one thing, we can now gear our technicians to a standardized set of equipment packages with a predictable set of repair needs and spare parts. What’s more, we have set up generous features in our persona-based packages to offer users more capabilities than what they will likely need to do their jobs.
That means users seldom feel the need to request for exceptions to our catalogue offerings to get expanded capabilities in what they order. So while 90 percent of my job several years ago was handling exceptions from team members who wanted a more powerful PC or some other upgrade, we have eliminated the need for that time-consuming and unpopular process.
As a result, the relationship between IT and the business is much more positive. We are giving the business users what they need at the outset. It has really been a win-win and our satisfaction scores from users have more than doubled.
A second innovation that has been a win-win is our creation of a Tech Central program, a network of physical centers (help desks) around the globe where clients come in and get face-to-face technical help from our IT experts.
User response to Tech Central has been extremely positive and our technicians, who at first were wary of being in ‘fish bowl’ environment, have also come to appreciate the one-on-one client relationship. It is all part of our journey in IT to get rid of the policies that had us constantly saying no to Dell team members and to instead empower both our technicians and team members in a positive way. Tech Central continues to deliver our highest IT pulse scores quarter on quarter.
Aligning to Deliver Transformation
Because workforce transformation goes beyond a great IT experience, it is important for Team Member Experience to align with other organizations, stakeholders and partners. We are working closely with Human Resources and Facilities. HR leads the drive to attract talent and then, working behind them, we provide the required technologies and products. Facilities deals with the physical needs of our changing workplace such as desk and meeting room space. At the same time, IT must align with cybersecurity and IT infrastructure groups to make sure we have the protection and bandwidth to accommodate our roll out of modern collaborative software.
One of the great advantages of driving workplace transformation at Dell is working with our family of technology companies and our service and product group teams to help shape our strategy. We meet regularly with our Client Solutions Group and Services teams to discuss enhancements and evolution of our service catalogue. And we also meet quarterly with the Dell Technologies strategically-aligned companies to share best practices.