Experientia’s solid grounding in ethnographic methods and techniques is often applied to investigating consumers’ behaviours and attitudes. But the same methodology can help companies to improve their business from the inside out – applying ethnographic research to internal systems and processes, to improve productivity and culture within organisations.
Experientia’s trained ethnographers have worked with major companies worldwide, including Red Hat and Vodafone, as well as others that remain confidential, using ethnographic methods to introduce new systems into company workflows, and manage change in a smooth manner. Going beyond classical approaches which focus solely on business goals, Experientia links business strategy with the day-to-day processes and systems being used within companies, and the impact they have on factors such as productivity and well-being.
Employing techniques such as shadowing, contextual interviews, card sorting activities and participatory design processes, Experientia works with the people who are affected by the various processes that the organisation has determined, and explores how these processes are actually being used in people’s daily tasks. In this way, we uncover any discrepancies between the way a system has been designed, and the reality of how people interact with it, and ensure that all our resulting insights and designs are fully informed by the user perspective.
In several software development projects, Experientia has partnered with Accenture, participating in the ethnographic research and design phases, while Accenture guides the production phase of new systems. Over the course of several projects, Experientia conducted contextual interviews with key stakeholders from throughout the company, from upper management to the end-users of internal systems and processes, as well as shadowing, participatory design workshops and card sorting. The research explored the systems currently in use, the gaps between common practices and official ones, and any pain points and unmet needs related to current processes. The subsequent analysis focused on improving systems, or, where necessary, creating completely new systems which fulfilled all of the users’ needs.
The projects with Accenture have covered areas such as: improving a system for managing data collection and visualisation; creating an event marketing registration tool; developing a user-friendly, integrated corporate platform between the global and the regional markets; and designing new business intelligence applications to manage the modelling of inter-company pricing.
For other clients, Experientia has created an idea management application for a large corporation, which identified what managers and researchers needed in order to best visualize the spectrum of ideas and their connections in a data-rich environment; studied the difficulties key employees of a procurement office were experiencing when performing the tasks required by their position and role; explored the way partners used the Red Hat Partner Center tool; and worked with Vodafone on building vision and identity for their internal UX department, to provide further direction to their future activities and to enable better positioning within the Vodafone group.
Case study: Improving the system for managing data collection and visualisation
Experientia worked with Accenture to create a platform for an international consumer goods company, which gives them an accurate overview of their client relationships in terms of volume, share of market, share of sales and investment through dashboards and analytical tools. While the company was aware that account managers needed to monitor volumes, data and market share of their client accounts, they did not have a general overview of the level of detail different managers needed to gather, and their methods for gathering them. Experientia conducted semi-structured, face to face interviews with managers at all levels of the client company, in order to understand what data they needed, and how they went about collecting it, as well as pain points and workflows within the current client data collection system. The resulting findings were detailed in an executive report, which demonstrated the different methods at work throughout the company and the problems with the existing system.
Experientia then created the information architecture, navigation and wireframes for a new platform, which allows the company’s managers to manage the visualisation and entry of information according to their specific needs.
Case study: Achieving a “Perfect day at work” – usability research, design and development
Experientia was asked to study and interpret the possible difficulties key employees of the procurement office of this company were experiencing when performing the tasks required by their position and role.
Experientia began its investigation with a series of interviews, followed by in-depth ethnographic observation and analysis of the documents and tools used at work.
The research was based on the principles of Lean Management – maximise employee efficiency while minimising waste.
Experientia presented the client with a very detailed overview of main difficulties, problems and risk areas, together with comprehensive advice on possible solutions.
Whilst deliverables vary according to project, Experientia typically delivers insights into a particular internal corporate process or system from the perspective of the people who are involved with it on a daily basis. Our deliverables help to visualise the real behavioural models and attitudes of company employees, and identify areas where the system excels or where it is problematic. Experientia interprets the information uncovered, developing new models, offering recommendations for improvements, or conceiving concepts and designs for new systems and processes. This aids management in implementing new processes and systems smoothly, and managing people’s expectations and responses to change.