May 17, 2020

Personas with Craig Cooksey

Personas with Craig Cooksey

Craig, Heather, and I discuss the intelligent workspace another term that is used to describe the Digital Workspace. We cover building a business case to transform the environment. Engagement with companies to help them by understanding their users. The t

Related Links:
Craig’s LinkedIn Profile
Barclays and Sapience
Microsoft Workspace Analytics
Lakeside Software - SysTrack
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* Apologies for some audio issues, we cleaned it up as best we could. And we published anyway, as we thought the content was still useful *  

Craig, Heather, and I discuss the intelligent workspace, another term that is used to describe the Digital Workspace. We cover building a business case to transform the environment. How the productivity gains estimated and presented to the business.  Engagement with companies to help them by understanding their users. This includes covering an assessment and maturity model approach. Craig talks about working with customers who do not have the right tools versus having the correct tools.  We also discuss how the company culture can affect the adoption of the digital workspace. The understanding from a company point of view that now, delivering a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work and how Persona’s help to address this from a strategic point of view.   


Ryan Purvis  0:00  
Hello, and welcome to the digital workspace works podcast. I'm Ryan Purvis, your host supported by producer Heather Bicknell. In this series, you'll hear stories and opinions from experts in the field story from the frontlines. The problems they face, how they solve them. The years they're focused on from technology, people and processes to the approaches they took, they'll help you to get to the scripts for the digital Express inner workings.

Craig Cooksie  0:29  
My name is Craig Cooksey. I am a principal consultant for NTT. Historically Dimension Data, but we've had a global merging of Dimension Data and about 30 of its sister companies. So as a principal consultant in the intelligent workplace or modern workplace or traditionally end user compute, however you want to define it from their perspective, typically technology agnostic, working with our customers From an outcomes driven perspective, so what is it that they trying to do and how do we get them there? So understanding their objectives, understanding what they have in place today and developing strategic roadmaps to help them get there

Ryan Purvis  1:14  
great and you know, share the South African heritage. Your profile that you'd been new in the UK for eight and a half years. Yeah. And I'm Coming up on eight years, which I thought was kind of ironic. I don't know how long I've been working on it for too long. But that's

sort of Yes. Yes.

Craig Cooksie  1:38  
So I've been working on it for going on 22 years. It's sort of a family thing. Really. My dad's a civil engineer. So we clearly have a technical mindset and approach to things but I'm the youngest of three boys. And Funny enough, all three So I've ended up in it when my dad would have liked at least one of us to carry on the family business

that way. 

Ryan Purvis  2:10  
I think I think it is the new engineering. Yeah. So engineers would probably disagree with that. I remember it was big constellation when I was studying decades. them to run across University, that you couldn't be an engineer and do it. Every day, we had to do one year of engineering data feed with 

Craig Cooksie  2:31  

when did you graduate tomorrow?

Ryan Purvis  2:36  
Oh, actually 2012 I dropped out. Because while I was enjoying the work more than the studying, honest, and I wasn't getting asked in a while and I wasn't passing. I was working these these ridiculous. We're working on a project which I was selling Basically pretty much I mean, a couple other guys were working all nighters and all weekends and all that kind of stuff. And the first time I was looking at a textbook for an exam was on the morning of the exam. Okay? So it wasn't smart by any means. But insane that I didn't cost something. So I don't know if you remember this in South Africa, it was a whole thing about you couldn't carry your credits past seven years. Yes, five years. So I saw because I was failing and I wasn't passing enough to keep up with the credits. I would had to read them like my first years. Okay. At that point, I scible mostly that I'd rather go and work on doing some really cool stuff and getting you know, Microsoft loves us within awards and like anything. So I dropped out. And in jumping out about three or four years later, I found out that actually they changed the law and that you could actually have all your prior learning. carried through actually So I went back to UJ and I said, so with all my credits, what can I get? And I said, Well, if you finish maths that's hooked up to math three, you can have a mathematics degree with some it and whatever. So I went back and I did two years of part time, full time, because I was told, okay, yes. And I was traveling like an animal. I was in the Middle East every couple weeks. I was doing my tests on the plane and I was taking pictures of my tuts and emailing them back to my lecturer. She was walking them for me. Okay,

Craig Cooksie  4:30  

Ryan Purvis  4:31  
Yeah, it was, it was quite an experience. Yeah,

Craig Cooksie  4:34  
I did. I did my masters through Liverpool University. Part time, which was interesting what what was great is that you know, as part of our efforts to get to the US, one of the things I needed was a degree because I didn't study straight out of school I went straight into and started as a drop breakers or pulling metric cables, as you would say, So really started at the bottom and working my way up through, through, you know, with that day, my plus and going into first line, second line support and that sort of thing. And when we started looking at coming to the US thought, Hey, I really need to do a degree. And so I started looking around and eventually got in touch with Liverpool University, University of Liverpool, I get my English right at some point in time. And they actually allowed me into the master's program based on resume reference letters and industrial certifications and that sort of thing. So that took about two and a half years. But thankfully, I managed to skip out on on the bachelor's and move straight into masters, which is definitely helping now.

Ryan Purvis  5:47  
Yeah, I must admit, I don't try to follow your path a bit. In that sense. I'm still debating and I think going further with more education never hurts. Yeah,

Craig Cooksie  5:55  
I just got to the point where I was tired of having to redo all my industry certs together. Keep them current. I was like, I need something that I can that I can do that nobody can take away from me for a bit. And so it was it was tough that, you know, we were I was working full time we were heavily involved in our church. And that's one of the things I do on the side is music, love music. And so we were leading that for our church. And then we had two young kids. So it was getting amplified morning studying, going to work coming home and getting, you know, spending time with the kids getting them into bed and then studying some more for for two and a half years, which was, which was fun. Not in a massive rush to do anything like that again anytime soon, but definitely worth the experience.

Heather Bicknell  6:46  
So Craig, I'd love to know. So this podcast is all about the digital workspace. I'd love to know what that term means to you.

Craig Cooksie  6:54  
So, for me, the digital workplace really is everything. campuses, employees, digital environment for them to do their jobs so that everything from what is the device or platform that they're using, whether it's whether it's a laptop, a desktop or a VDI, through to the productivity capabilities that they need to do their job from the collaboration aspects from whether it's Cisco Microsoft, through to the productivity applications that they need to actually do the job. So what does that environment look like for them? obviously take into consideration where they work from and how they like to work. So that for me and mob perspective, really holistically is what what the digital workplace means to the user.

Heather Bicknell  7:45  
Yeah, that's interesting. is Ryan does that. Does that resonate with your high you see it?

Ryan Purvis  7:51  
Yeah, I think I mean, yeah. This is just a few times. In fact, we did a stage eh. It was a stage presence or whenever we spoke in front of a few people in the Gotham digital workspace here in the UK? Probably that was probably

Craig Cooksie  8:09  
that was September last year.

Ryan Purvis  8:12  
Okay, so so we've had this chat a few times, I think the thing that interests me the most about what Craig has done is two things in fact public sector work you did for one of the medical fraternities. And then the second thing was how use personas or create own personas around the user.

Craig Cooksie  8:30  
I'll start with the healthcare provider. Um, you know, the way that we typically used to do those desktop transformations is just identify the device that a user is currently using, make sure we understand what applications they're using, which was always very difficult, because you would typically just take an inventory of that endpoint and if you saved to a user, do you use all these applications, even if they're any use three of the 500 on the desktop with it laptop though, yes, all of them, I use all of them just in case. There's something that I forget. And that really changed the provider because as part of that, I had to write the business case, which was a fairly sizable business case, in DNS losses, the hard way. Assessment design implementation was about a $56 million program over five years, the whole lot of cost of that program. And that's really where I got my first taste of Lakeside. substract, really, and a key aspect to us actually getting that business case approved, was being able to leverage actual data to understand what the user experience was today and then rebase line once we'd move them to the new environment and prove that they were getting the productivity gains that that we said they could get, you know, so industry industry. Why papers at the time around moving to Windows seven back then was the productivity gains and they were saying around 20 minutes per user per day, improved power consumption, that sort of thing. All aspects that we looked at when when writing that benefits realization plan of being able to move users to a new environment, really difficult to prove, especially when it was so subjective you know, if you as a rudimentary example, if you say to a user, well how long does it take you to log on? And they'll say 15 minutes I you know, put in my credentials and then little spinny circle comes up and are going to want breakfast and coffee and spinning and then when in reality when we're able to actually it's you know, and in this particular example, there was a specific use case, planning about the logon times able to understand That actually on average across the environment was about five minutes. Still not great, really not great. But we could then say, No, that's what your baseline is right now. And we can rebase line once you're on the new platform, and we're aiming for 90 seconds. So proving that

was pretty cool to us getting approval, that business case, especially when you're being funded by the government, and they they really scrutinize everything that you put in there, you know, if you say to a clinician, hey, we want to spend $56 million on on giving you a new endpoint and upgrading your operating system, I guess sorry, what. But when you can say to clinician Well, actually, we're going to be we're going to be able to prove that we can give you a brief minutes of your time back in a day, at least. You know, for them, it didn't necessarily mean they could see more client back patients in a day. It means that they could see patients on time. So it gives them a bit of patient experience and patient outcomes as the whole drama be funded, they're not profit driven. And then it also means that they can leave on top, you know, so a lot of clinicians were having to stay late because they were getting delayed. And a big factor in their ability to see patients on time was was the impact of the endpoint or the, the, the digital workplace or space throughout the day. So, you know, being able to leverage that sort of analytics really was critical to us getting that approved, and being able to roll outs and then then we actually move straight to Windows 10, which was also very interesting. But you know, we were part of the adoption program for Windows 10. And a clinical environment was very interesting. And being able to leverage that data was was really useful. So, from that, in moving to my role in the US, really looking at them One of the critical factors, being able to understand what users are actually using versus what's just installed on the endpoint is really critical to us understanding what users are actually using. And so what I've seen over the last couple of years really is clients, our clients as a global solutions integrator, our clients or really our understanding that it's no longer a one size fits all, you know, consumerization, as it started gaining traction, and everybody wants an experience at work that was similar to what they could get at home, a more tech savvy workforce, all of those things impacting a corporate organization being able to provide services to the users that they really wanted to use that they were excited to use, you know. And so with that, it's really about understanding what they doing and how they're doing it. So, from my perspective, our clients are just coming to us and saying help us understand our users because we need To be able to give them a good experience, we need to be able to give them an experience that we're expecting. Because we want to attract and retain you new talent, you know. And so leveraging the data from leg side and being able to understand what users are doing and and you know, even as a quick starting point, that capability within leg sort of being able to identify personas as it's defined by god man, as Lex has adopted that definition is really gives you a leg up on on those environments that don't have that technology. So I've done a couple of these user and user segmentation or persona analysis engagements we one of them head, Lakeside, and one of them didn't. And it took us far longer to do the exercise or for the organization, excuse me, they didn't have Lakeside. And so it's really critical in understanding, you know, the device that they use and the software that they're using, which really informs the conversations but you're actually engaged in the business to understand what it is they're doing. You don't really, necessarily get the insight in the context of how they see applications today. But it really is a great starting point to understand.

Ryan Purvis  15:17  
So I'm curious about a few things that you said today. I mean, just just give me an idea of what is the smallest customer? I mean, the nicest way  to the largest, I guess. We can apply personas, it doesn't matter if it's only a small company of 10 people would you think it is, we need to have a minimum amount to see some real value. 

Craig Cooksie  15:40  
I think

there's always value in in knowing and understanding your users regardless of the size, your organization is obviously a lot easier to manage from a smaller organization perspective, but, you know, we've done done organizations that are 250 employees. And they've got five business units through two are about to undertake a large global banking organization that has 140,000 users. You know, the the problem with that, though, is just, you can get caught in the weeds and it's very easy to get distracted by the amount of data that you having to analyze. And just condensing that down to as Gartner recommends, you don't want to have more than nine user segments or personas within any sales organization. But having that and it's an ongoing activity, you know, so I'll give you an example of another large insurance provider that we did this for, they have around 30,000 employees, and they've actually they've actually built out a whole team and then actually an actual business unit, for doing this on an ongoing basis. You know, as all as the markets evolve. You know, the companies are evolving with them to keep up with them and offer new services and that sort of thing. And you traditionally would have a function like a business relationship manager. So go between the business and it. And it's really taking that and putting it on steroids and and proactively understanding your user base and what they do, how they functions and making sure that ultimately what you're trying to do is aligning the right technology, services, and tools to those personas to give those users a good experience and make them more productive.

Heather Bicknell  17:35  
Craig, I'd love to know, from your experience working on all of these persona projects and really aligning technology to user needs. I think a lot of organizations, you know, can see the value in that. But oftentimes it comes down to what's you know, what's the budget justification, right? Like, how do we fit this in the budget? I guess I'm curious what, what your experience has been with that. Have you, you know, had to justify the ROI every time? How does that work?

Craig Cooksie  18:07  
I'll start off by saying that any sort of consulting that you're trying to sell to anyone as action is a tough sell. It's really we've seen it as a challenge to, to sell to any size organization, they really do clients. And I think it's especially since 2008, when when the big crash happened. Everybody is about value, what is the value that you're actually giving me unless you can articulate that value to the business, they're not going to be overly excited about it? And then there's a couple other things that are that that really impact this. One is that for some organizations, they will do a level of consulting of this sort up front with the objective of winning the water piece of work, which is the Hey, we now have your personas, to be honest Stand Let us now develop that roadmap for you to get the technology and services in place to support those users. So they're really looking at the detailed design and implementation services and then any other infrastructure sales or technology sales and then looking to get to the managed services. So it really depends on how you pull that into your commercial model and taking this to to your clients. Others depending on who you talk to you they automatically see the value I've just had a conversation about three weeks ago with also global pharmaceutical and before we even got to the point of weakening Hey, you know what we sing we sing a lot of people asking us for the stuff. They said they kicking off a their own initiative for understanding the use and doing the Sona analysis. And so right off the bat, we were speaking the same language, they understood the value. For people that don't understand this can be a challenge to articulate the value and it's also also challenge to estimate the level of effort and then be able to process visible so again, goes to the level of granularity that they want to get to. So I'll give you one example is for a client about they wanted to get an extremely granular level because they business deed was they had my staff turnover. And what they were finding is that people were joining the organization. And it would take two weeks before they were actually up and running, and and that they had the right device. And then I had the rock taxes on services and a lot applications. And so we can do the persona analysis to ultimately help them develop the configuration management items within the audience. So that when they onboard a new employee, they fall into this bucket of persona. And we can with a couple of attributes, we can add you to the right groups get you the the access that you need to the services you're going to need and give the right device on the get go. So that one took a little bit longer just because of the amount of data that you're still having to distill and process and analyze through to ultimately giving them almost template configuration items for for implementing into the ITSM. tool. And then you have other other customers that are going, Hey, we just really want to know, who can use a soft phone we know we having to do and this is coming up quite a bit actually, from a collaboration perspective, we are wanting we having to replace all these these hard climb with phones. We want to know who can move to a soft phone and who can't. But we don't really understand in detail what each of our users are doing within the business unit.

Ryan Purvis  21:48  
I got a couple of questions. Going going back to that. So you do this pre assessment if you like, where you might go in and you deploy some tooling and let's say using you know Strike or one of the other search tools. Yeah. And from that you can you can give the customer some sort of insight initially to say you got three personas or five personas, whatever it is, but go back, say six months later or a year later, after you've given them this plan. And you've helped them to do to make these decisions to go and see if the return on investments there, or

Craig Cooksie  22:26  
so what I would say is that and that's you've reminded me where I was going a little bit earlier before I went down the rabbit trail, so that that insurance company, they basically got us in to help them baseline upfront, and then they've building out they've built out their business unit to then do it on an ongoing basis. So they understand that the market is shifting and evolving and they want to shift and evolve with that. And what we actually have, as part of our service is a maturity model that we can do this Assessment and give you a maturity rating on where your organization's at, in terms of understand your sign as and where you need to be. And it goes from basic, intermediate advanced to optimal. And really, that's that basic and intermediate is a starting point. But it is an ongoing activity, you really do want to be going back, I would say, for me nine to 12 months to make sure that that's still relevant to your organization. Because where you're really getting to is you're getting to a place where you're starting to proactively identify new technology that that can make your users lives easier, or be able to perform functions that they need to do their job roles have evolved to needing them to do so. Definitely is something that organizations want to do. We haven't yet been brought back in to do a refresh. Although what we do Do for some of our consulting engagements is where we have a managed service we actually build Tom into that we do once we have develop that strategy, we then proactively go back in there with him and go, Hey, it's time for us to reassess where you're at right now. And where the delta is. So we can address those.

Ryan Purvis  24:19  
I dont know if you've seen the article, the Barclays Bonanza, I have a they had been Okay, so, so basically, Barclays here in the UK, did a pilot program here in Canary Wharf, where they installed a piece of technology called sapiens, which was the need to monitor what users were doing and to track when they were not active and ask them what they were doing. So while they're running around to go, bathroom break or smoke break, or whatever it is, they come back to the desk and they get asked a question, you know, where are you what are you doing that sort of thing. The we looked at this previous as well. product we sort of stepped away from us. But I was wondering with with you looking at personas, and I guess the American legislation look different to European? How are you considering those sort of scenarios, sort of productivity tracking versus privacy of data and what users are doing, etc? Or have you not come across that? 

Craig Cooksie  25:19  
So I actually did come across this born in the UK, so even for the healthcare provider, when we started seeing the sort of data that we're able to get out of Lakeside, there were HR concerns raised, you know, specifically, I had been asked by one of the managers to please let him know who's the least productive need to worry that about touching them with a bargepole? So absolutely can see that being a potential challenge and to be honest with you know, what Microsoft in one box was able to do with Office 365, and they were Express analytics The Productivity analytics. They are questions that people are raising internally going, wait a minute, so I'm getting these reports telling me what I am and what I'm not doing. On the Microsoft side of things, what are you using that data for? You know, Microsoft does say, well, this isn't shared with anybody so you can breathe easy. So, sadly have come across that I wasn't aware of Barclays specifically doing that. I don't think that there is legislation here that would allow for an organization to do that with their employees think they would have other legal issues on the hands versus trying to make sure people are being productive. Well, you know, in reality, what what we are seeing is that especially on on from our side internees that people are typically treated like a rat, you know, delivering results. delivering on what you're needing to do not only where you are and what you're doing and how you're doing it and then there's other ways of figuring out being productive or not

Ryan Purvis  27:17  
The culture of your business should shouldn't dictate how people are measured. So if you are results driven organization when you work two hours a day or 10 hours a day doesn't actually mean you're productive

Craig Cooksie  27:30  
 hundred percent

I could I could sit clicking around in Outlook so that I've got you know, and window all day but not actually be doing any

material work, you know.

Heather Bicknell  27:44  

Craig Cooksie  27:45  
But, yeah, you know, that is that is at the end of the day, I think. We we do I have come across some really old school clients here in the US. One of them is a large manufacturer and they're available They have all sorts of facts that everybody in the world will have at least one or two of them in the home, I would venture to guess, and they are in school, they want you in the office at your desk all day. So, you know, as a as a, an SI there was really challenging in that, because the US is so big. And this is one of the major differences between working in the UK and working here because the US is so big. Generally, remote working is far more acceptable and widely accepted, then the expectation that you're in the office being seen, and even there doesn't necessarily equal productivity either. But this particular client was very, very focused on making sure that, especially if they brought in an ASR partner that those people were on site on premise all the time. They were very much. It was very much down to the optics is actually how much how productive they were actually being?

Ryan Purvis  29:04  
Yeah, I mean, I could see the argument forward if you are in a very collaborative environment, and people have to talk to each other every day and you make a decision a brainstorm when you make decisions. And, and there's a lot of flux. If you're a knowledge worker who's been spending your life on the phone, because you're on conference calls all the time and capital, that sort of thing, whether you're in the office or not almost becomes immaterial, or if you're writing code or something like that, and again, also get to be where you need to be to be the most most effective and efficient.

Craig Cooksie  29:33  
Yeah. You know, the way that we're typically working as an exercise that at our back office functions like HR and finance and what have you, they are typically working together. They're, they're generally in the office together. Our sales force is typically out on the road, seeing clients, and as I, as I'm a pre sales resource that's supporting nationally You know, it's impossible for me to be at every client meeting across the country. Now I am traveling for the next five weeks now I'm in my Atlanta this week. I'm in San Diego next week in New York week after that, you know, and those distances to be traveling and then trying to be in every meeting in person is just impossible. Then laser eye point be going into the office because there's nobody there that I actually need to see.

Ryan Purvis  30:29  
Yeah. Just wondering when you did your your persona work, or when you do your persona when you take into account on people's jobs on what their skills are trying to have.

Craig Cooksie  30:39  
100% so what we typically do is we, we take the data that we get from the likes of subtract, you know, we've also used SCCM Data System Center Configuration Manager manager data, we take that in conjunction with HR data, so we absolutely engaged HR, you know, and and we asked them questions along the lines of Are your job descriptions? Or your your titles and your roles? Are those all up to date? When last? Did you baseline them? Are they still relevant? Does your HR system integrate with Active Directory and is that kept up to date. And a lot of the times, we're aligning those roles and titles with the different business units and the functions that we're going to go into the interviews that we have. So we run workshops, we run focus groups, we do one on one interviews with the business to actually understand what it is they're doing and how they're doing it. So I'll give you an example. And that that insurance provider we interviewed two different parts of the business. And but on the face of it, the application load sets are exactly the same. But when we eventually got into it, and we're talking to them, one was a clear set of task workers where they were using that application to do repetitive tasks. Day in They are. But then when we went inspect the other side of their business, they were using the same applications, but they were actually using it to pull reports, look at the data. And from there develop new insurance products and that sort of thing to put back into the system for the task workers to then leverage so that that's sort of differentiation, you can't understand just from the data itself, you need to go and talk to the business to understand how they're doing it. And from there, we're also asking questions about how they're collaborating who they're collaborating with, are they generating the own content? Are they just sharing content? Or they're sharing just with their own team? Or is it across the business that those sorts of questions?

Ryan Purvis  32:38  
I think that you because what you're saying is very interesting is the data needs context. Yes. And you can't just use one one message when the one source will give you that context. So you guys drink example or any other dm, yo, but you need to mix that with x directory or or HR data. Yeah, or something like that, to give you something a little richer.

Heather Bicknell  33:00  
Craig, it's been great talking with you about your persona work. And yeah, where can people find you online if they want to connect with you?

Craig Cooksie  33:10  
So if you look me up on LinkedIn, Craig Cooksey there's a couple of us but principal consultant at NTT, you'll find me. Great. Thanks for everyone.

Ryan Purvis  33:25  
Thank you for listening to today's episode of The Big Nose our producer, editor. Thank you, Heather for your hard work on this episode. He subscribes to the series and rate us on iTunes or the Google Play Store. Follow us on Twitter at the DW w podcast. The show notes and transcripts will be available on the website www digital works best of works. Please also visit our website www digital workspace works and subscribe to our newsletter. And lastly, if you found this episode useful, please share with your friends or colleagues.

Transcribed by

Craig CookseyProfile Photo

Craig Cooksey

Director: Global Strategic Solutions

A dynamic and confident IT Professional with over 21 years’ experience in strategy, development and implementation of technology. Excels at identifying required business outcomes for clients and designing optimum solutions to meet those needs. Consistently achieves exceptional results with reduced lead times, improved quality and greater client satisfaction. Passionate about transforming organizations by delivering the best possible solution while realizing the optimal return on investment.