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Walls between tech experts and customers are crumbling in mainstream companies

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Looking outside the tech sector bubble, how well are tech professionals really aligned with the end customers of the business? Are they still insulated within the walls of the IT department? Has the wall finally come down?seems obvious A few The walls are finally coming down, and in the process, tech professionals are learning new roles as design thinkers and educators.

Some mainstream companies have completely removed the walls between their technical teams and their end-user customers. This is certainly true of commercial construction company McCarthy Holdings. For McCarthy, the ultimate customer is the final occupant of a building under construction, says Justin McFarland, his vice president of Information Systems at McCarthy. “Our job is to help our construction partners work with new technologies.”

The company’s technical team works hand-in-hand with the project manager to deliver results. “The final user experience is extremely important to us,” he explains. “We want technology professionals to get out of the office and onto construction sites to better understand what trade workers and field workers are doing on a regular basis, and how technology can assist them in their day-to-day operations. We encourage you to identify potential opportunities. Observing, listening and asking questions are key to delivering a more effective customer experience.”

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Tools that aid this engagement include “predictions, automation, smart job sites, and digital twins.” “We have the resources in each region to scale new technology from project to project to ensure we understand the ‘why’, provide the training and support needed, and ensure that the technology solution is aligned with current processes. We are educating our team on how it means and how it makes sense in our day-to-day tactics.”

At the same time, McFarland adds, it’s a challenge to keep technology professionals up to date on key parts of this customer collaboration, such as user experience (UX) and design thinking. “The expectation of creating a seamless and positive customer experience is widely recognized. While they may be fully immersed and knowledgeable about the program and its technical capabilities, having expertise in both technology and UX design is more unusual. We work to find the right balance of expertise and awareness with UX and design proficiency.”

Developing UX and design thinking skills is a key challenge for McCarthy’s IT department, according to McFarland. “UI/UX and visual design training is essential to delivering both great experiences and products to your customers. This includes layout, etc. It’s important to note that you don’t have to be an expert in all of these areas.Leverage partners from other teams such as marketing and communications to shape the final design You can ask questions and where you focus is important.”

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Other skills, particularly relevant for technical professionals in the construction industry, “include communication and leadership training to assist with facilitation, collaboration, and presentation tasks during the project lifecycle,” McFarland says. adds.

McFarland’s team has another mandate to help and educate colleagues who may not be as tech-savvy. “By giving clear examples of what has worked, where it can go, and how someone’s day-to-day is impacting, teams can break down barriers to adoption. We are comfortable with different experiences and evolving technology tools,” he says. “We are committed to educating more of our tenured staff on why technology matters and how it benefits everyone involved. [how to] Show value to those who are not tech-driven. We also identify champions in their field who are willing to try and validate new technologies and leverage these teams to influence their peers and drive adoption. “

This peer-to-peer interaction allows groups across the company to “hear from other experts, as this technology can seem new and intimidating. We implement a thoughtful change management strategy that helps us gain greater buy-in for our ‘technical solutions’.

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Another part of the challenge is coordinating “the complex application ecosystem that the construction team and partners utilize during the project lifecycle.” “We found that the user experience is different when logging into System A and System B. By bringing in multiple programs, our goal is to leverage technology to create a common cohesive experience.”

McCarthy adopts “Experience Layer Platform” to better support partners and the entire project life cycle, from the early planning stages when a building project is being considered, through design and construction, from start to finish is in the exploratory stage. operations,” he says McFarland.