POINT-of-WORK ASSESSMENT:  Systems & Technology

In this snippet of the Point-of-Work Assessment methodology we focus on Systems (which may include multiple enterprise systems, software apps, and “human” systems) utilized to accomplish work…and…Technology utilized by Knowledge Workers as they accomplish task-level work activity that requires interfacing with any combination of their work systems (which may include mobile phones, tablets, desk-top computer, and other hand-held devices). Productivity Acceleration Technology and the implications to L&D represent the primary focus in this document (See Figure 1) and the importance of WHEN & HOW it is introduced to the Knowledge Worker along their Learning Performance Continuum from Point-of-Entry (During Training) and their ultimate Points-of-Work (Post-Training) destination.

Figure 1

While Productivity Acceleration does not manifest until reaching Point-of-Work, application of the new technology is first experienced during Point-of-Entry Training. As such, the introduction of this new technology has implications to the solutions designed (intentionally of course) to serve as experiential source content for exercises and activities that emulate/simulate actual Point-of-Work scenarios. In fact, the performance assets designed for Point-of-Entry are the same exact assets recommended in the PWA Road Map for application at Point-of-Work. Doing this accomplishes a couple of favorable outcomes:

  • The amount of time spent training and volume of training are reduced
  • Content development time and ongoing maintenance and updates are reduced
  • Knowledge Workers experience Point-of-Work DURING Point-of-Entry
  • Knowledge Workers have less to remember/recall when back on the job
  • An experiential continuity during the learning experience speeds time-to-competency
  • Reduced time-to-competency accelerates productivity and decreases cost of mistakes, error isolation, rework delays, material waste, business liabilities…and…and…and…

Compartmentalizing Systems & Technology

The objective of the PWA is to establish a current state benchmark of the Systems & Technology footprint; this becomes doubly important if the organization is on the path to achieve Digital Transformation. Why? Because every phase of the transformation has implications of CHANGE that will impact:

  • The work Environment and demonstrate a Cultural shift toward accelerating productivity
  • The workforce (People) and their readiness (Capability) to adapt to and adopt work activities using new technology interfaces
  • Different Workflows and Processes at task-level
  • Access to and acquisition of Content & Resources
  • Utilization of “new” Systems & Technology for optimized application of embedded and evolved capabilities at Point-of-Work
  • Analytics essential to gauge adoption and Utilization Impact at the Point-of-Work

In other words, Transformational Change, the likes of which often restrain/limit/delay the success of, and sustainability of our transformation efforts may be compromised. Simply put, we are not talking about a GoLive event where Plan B defaults to calls to the Help Desk. That’s not sustainable. We have to get closer to, if not within, the workflows and the systems utilized at Point-of-Work. The LMS is not going to “deliver the mail” in that regard. We’ve all been through the chaos of these singular events; now multiply those events over a couple of years of new phase iterations of transformation and the fallout dependent upon training the workforce to a point of readiness to deliver optimized results and remain productive as learning curves are crested… AND…at what cost?

IT will handle the heavy lifting and leverage their IT version of Change Management to ensure successful GoLive events; however, that’s only a slice of what defines successful implementation.  But what about GoLive events related to workforce readiness to perform and adoption we count on to accelerate their productivity? Digital Transformation represents a headlong movement to the cloud. Should we also position Productivity Acceleration Technology there as well?

Considering the elements shown in Figure 1, you may note the key focus is largely targeting the L&D role and centered around Productivity Acceleration Technology. While there are many tools and apps on the market and with more surfacing every day, there are two varieties I see as foundational:

  • Strategic – where the outcomes key on accelerating critical-thinking and informed decision-making from Performance Insights curated from curated source content before burying recipients with redundant effort. Yes, curating curations…to improve speed-to-insight.
  • Tactical – where task-level support assets are contextually embedded directly into workflows and the enterprise systems themselves at Point-of-Work…AND…embedded within experiential learning opportunities during Point-of-Entry.

The upper right section of Figure 1 focuses largely on L&D Workflows & Processes related to:

  • Cross-discipline efforts to rapidly collaborate and author learning performance assets
  • Unifying project management to streamline activities across disparate team responsibilities
  • Rapid development, update, and maintenance of  assets in multiple formats from a single source

At the bottom of Figure 1 we see where Productivity Acceleration Technology blows the doors off any LMS and serves as a single capability to embed learning performance assets into both the workflows and systems along with actual Training opportunities whether Performance Insights or Learning Performance Support.

Given there will be multiple enterprise technologies involved in Digital Transformation, minimum technology selection criteria should include choosing platforms that are system agnostic. Also, since the transformation will scale over a couple of years in larger installations, the acceleration technology should be non-disruptive and scalable as well. In fact, the newer cloud-based acceleration technologies require little if any direct IT involvement.

Finally, how do we know we’ve been successful? As part of the PWA, we determined “What good looks like” in terms of Level 3 & 4 impact, but how will we know if we’ve arrived at those results without access to utilization analytics that track Knowledge Worker engagement and actual performance results? Again, the choice of platform should include this level of visibility as onboard capabilities.

Closing Thoughts

Quite a lot to think about, right? My advice…step away from bright, shiny Productivity Acceleration Technology until you’ve established a benchmark of current state technology, where it’s headed, what new technology is planned, when it’s going to happen, and who’s going to be responsible to utilize it successfully. This may be over simplified, but these elements of knowledge will inform a decision regarding Productivity Acceleration Technology that will be as brilliantly planned and executed 18-months down the road as it was 30-days after GoLive.

Who besides IT is hip deep in this venture? You guessed it…L&D…and I’m not talking about training the workforce to readiness because we’ve seen how that is not sustainable. L&D must get to the Point-of-Work and assess current state and productivity implications to affect a sustainable future state.

Thanks again for reading. As always, I welcome thoughts, comments, ideas, and/or push-back as you are so moved.

Take good care!


Gary G. Wise
Workforce Performance Advocate, Coach, Speaker
(317) 437-2555
Web: Living In Learning