Digital Document Observational Study (DDOS)

Digital Document Observational Study (DDOS)

The Digital Document Observational Study (DDOS) studies the intersection between people, technology, and work (process), with the major aim to find areas where technology architecture and human requirements produce inefficiencies. It relies on the knowledgebase and corporate wisdom of your employees.  Technological change will affect the relationship between your employees, your company policies, human resources, training, and performance metrics.


The DDOS will predict the repercussions of what the implementation of technology, the change in process, and increased operational requirements will have on your employees, management, and the company in general.  These findings are necessary before technology is implemented so that changes can be made to ensure the ROI is achieved, and cooperative human element will ensure success.

The advent of development tools like Agile, the reduction of business analysts in corporations, and a desire for rapid implementation has led to shortcuts in proven design process that include:  task analysis, guidelines, verification and validation studies, input from employees at all levels, identification/ implementation of training, and the interconnected effects to the rest of the organization.  The oversimplification has led to reduced understanding of needs, lack of innovation, extensive re-work, additional human work arounds, lower than expected ROI and a drain on management’s time.

There is an enormous need for the DDOS to gather quantitative and qualitative data that will create technology implementations, generate the financial ROI, create expected process improvements and be relatable to the employees…in other words, a mutually beneficial implementation.

A general law of adaptive systems is that every system will be stretched to operate at its capacity; as soon as there is some improvement, it will be exploited to achieve a new level of productivity.  This is often the case when discussing a digital document architecture.

The reverberations of technology and process change are quantified through observing people at work and analyzing available data to identify best practices, as well as any variations and deviations of employees perceived vs. actual reality.  By adding the observational component to the DDOS, we can identify how technology and process changes will impact the organization.

New technology and process changes are implemented to create new ways of doing things.  In most cases, it does not keep the old way of doing business, but substitutes new technology and processes that require training, adaptation by employees, and higher expectations of performance.  Companies looking to improve their digital document architecture are not looking to exchange one medium for another (i.e., replacing printers with copiers or moving from paper to a digital format).

The reality of technology change is transformation and adaptation, and in most cases, it requires the insight and wakefulness to allow for the change to happen in a phased approach for some, while a complete transformation for others.

The idea that new technology can be introduced as a simple substitution of what was happening before and preserving the process and achieving improved results is a costly oversimplification and perpetuates the substitution myth.  This is the reason that so many document assessments from vendors and manufacturers have failed to produce the results

they promised.  These assessments have ignored years of research that show technology and process change as an intervention into an ongoing field of activity.

In many situations, we are engaged when a company is not getting the results that they expected from a technology implementation or a process change.  We then conduct the DDOS based on the S.M.A.R.T. Platform and review the implementation and/or process change to identify where the breakdowns are. Our experience has shown:

  • New technology or process changes alter what is already going on in the current everyday tasks and accomplishment of employees. In many cases, the initial efficiency is then affected by employee level-setting.  This leads to a level-setting of the new practices that keeps the employees’ productivity (over a period of time) to what already exists, or an increase that was not presented when considering the ROI.
  • New technology and processes alter the tasks of the employees involved. This equates to an altered situation based on a new set of conditions for the employee.  This results in a change in the desire to engage in the new process that leads to the level-setting to the old way of doing business.  Therefore, the removal of printers usually results in the re-introduction of desktops, while still paying for the more expensive copiers.
  • Improvements designed to ease the burden on the employee, reduce fatigue, and simplify tasks usually translates into a desire from management to demand more from the employee.
  • Almost without exception, when we have looked beyond the initial contractual cost savings, technology does not meet the ROI presented in the proposal or achieve the process improvements expected.

There is a synergy between people, process, and technology that corporate entrepreneurial leaders are wakeful to, and utilize the S.M.A.R.T. Platform to ensure every implementation and change hits the mark.  Corporate entrepreneurial leaders understand that process change and new technology results in altered employee stress, and will also be aware of how this new intensity and expectation of operations will affect the employees of not just those directly affected by the change, but by those employees that are interconnected to the department that is implementing the change.  Mutual benefit is a cultural experience that incorporates the interaction between people, process, and technology.

No matter what the industry or level of employee, there will be an impact on process and cognitive actions.  Some people will excel at the change in routine, others will be unhappy at the potential leveling of goal achievement, and others will look at the change as an opportunity for advancement through new role development.  Corporate entrepreneurs know that employees adapt to achieve goals and avoid failure.

Performance pressures on the overall system for greater efficiency or throughput tend to push employees to level-set the performance metrics rather than embracing the benefits of the changes.  As a result, surprises occur in the form of new paths to failure to meet KPI’s and other metrics. This is just one of the many negative side effects of a technology implementation or process change that did not utilize the S.M.A.R.T Platform when designing the new system.

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