Communicating Changes in Digital Services


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Ontario Library Association SuperConference 2014

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Communicating Changes in Digital Services

  1. 1. Communicating Changes in Digital Services Lisa Gayhart | Anika Ervin-Ward | Jacqueline Whyte Appleby OLA Super Conference 2014
  2. 2. Agenda ● What is Communications? Why do we need to do it? ● What is Change Communications? ● Communicating Change: Case Studies ○ OCUL Organizational Effectiveness Review ○ Consortial RFPs ○ Scholars Portal Journals interface changes ○ University of Toronto Libraries’ new catalogue interface ● Scaling up and down: communications at your institution ● Takeaways and questions
  3. 3. Who is here today? Are you from an academic/public/school/specialist library? Are you part of the digital/systems/IT team? Are you public service/management/other? Are you from a large/small library? Are you involved in your library’s/teams communications? If not, who is ? Have you seen a communications plan before? Have you written a communications plan? Are communications usually part of your project plan? What do you think ‘communications’ are?
  4. 4. What is ‘communications’? • Communications is a conversation (two-way) • Common goal not persuasion • Reciprocal - learn from each other
  5. 5. Why communicate? • • • • • • • • We want to help! Make services better for everyone Increase in user satisfaction Build relationships and break down silos Increase transparency, especially around technology Increase recognition / justify resources Demystify library technology, development, and testing Non-event status
  6. 6. What is change communications? • • • • • • • A tool AND a process (not just something that has to be done) Strategic & purposeful Part of the overall change process or project rollout Multi-level, multi-site Relationship building and strengthening Learning opportunity not just a ‘teaching moment’ Engagement tool
  7. 7. Key Considerations • • • • Context o stakeholder relationships o organizational and industrial culture o existing communications practices o external influences Change & uncertainty Time, resource & information limitations Flexibility and responsiveness
  8. 8. Communicating Change: Case Studies ● OCUL Organizational Effectiveness Review ● Consortial RFPs ● Scholars Portal Journals ● University of Toronto Libraries Catalogue
  9. 9. Case Study OCUL Organizational Effectiveness Review • • Background • o o o o OCUL is a consortium of libraries from the 21 Ontario universities 2013 review resulting in broad structural change Impact on entire organization Consultation with key stakeholders Communicating the why, the when, the how
  10. 10. OCUL Organizational Effectiveness Review The Plan The Rollout • • • • • • • • • • • Aim Stakeholders Message Medium Timeline Review Announcement In-persons Stage updates Operational comms support Collaborations
  11. 11. OCUL Organizational Effectiveness Review What Next? • • • • • long term project work in progress continued collaboration constantly assessing the plan responding to stakeholder needs
  12. 12. Case Study - OCUL RFP Process • • • OCUL = 21 institutions with FTEs ranging from 1,000-80,0000 Scholars Portal also acts as a service provider to non-OCUL institutions including o Universities outside of Ontario o Colleges o Hospitals
  13. 13. OCUL RFP Process • • An RFP is an opportunity to scan the landscape - use it! o o o o What does the community want? What is essential? vs. What is nice to have? What tools are available? Who wants to partner?
  14. 14. OCUL RFP Process Stakeholders • • • • • • OCUL library staff Other library staff OCUL business office Current vendor Potential future vendors Users
  15. 15. OCUL RFP process What does each stakeholder group want to know, and what’s the earliest date it would be useful for them to know it? What information do we need from stakeholders and how/when can we get it?
  16. 16. OCUL RFP process: Communication plan • • • • • • • Purpose of the plan Desired outcomes Strategy Target audiences Key messages Distribution methods Evaluation methods
  17. 17. OCUL RFP process: Communication plan public info we are doing this, here’s who to contact rmembers OCUL members w/ login credentials timelines, selection committee members Selection committee meeting minutes, criteria, everything! wikispace
  18. 18. OCUL RFP process Snags • Managing logistics without actually making the decisions • Distributed networks - who wants this information? • Confidentiality & protocol of the procurement process
  19. 19. Case Study - Scholars Portal Journals re-write ● Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) ● Time for a refresh!
  20. 20. Case Study - Scholars Portal Journals re-write The Plan • Share screenshots well in advance • Introduce a beta tab early and actively solicit feedback • What do users like about the old site? What will they miss? • What are user expectations, based on other databases they use?
  21. 21. Old platform
  22. 22. New platform
  23. 23. Case Study - UTL New Library Catalogue • Background • • • o New library catalogue interface development (2012-2013) o Launch (Sept 2013) Goal - essentially working towards a “non-event” Focus o Getting users involved in the process (buy-in) o managing change in service o responding to user needs/wants Our challenge o wide user base with different needs o getting in touch with our users (and non-users)
  24. 24. Our feedback process in 2013 • Opened channels of communications with users • Continuous cycle of feedback and response • Occured throughout various stages: o development o beta testing o launch o post-launch
  25. 25. Who was involved? • Led by project team (development, design, communications) • But involved department as a whole • Support from administration • Reached out to many groups - continual promotion, repetition of message, building buy-in and engagement
  26. 26. Why go to the effort? • No surprises! • Two-way communication - we learned from our users and they learned from us • Working together to make a heavily used resource better for all • And, selfishly, raising the profile of our department and putting a face to ITS
  27. 27. How did we gather feedback? • • Open channels of communication o email, website, online forms, in-person events, meeting and committee updates, training, focus groups, usability testing, informal discussion o call to action - focus on user participation rather than news updates o “why should I care?” Response management o Jira implementation o standardized response times and messages o staff participation
  28. 28. Feedback form in the library catalogue
  29. 29. What did we do with the feedback? • • Respond and share with team/department Informed development process in many areas o e.g. redesigned icons, roll ups in search results, placement of tool set, etc. • Snowball effect - led us to more users/non-users • Relationship building - created good will (keep this going)
  30. 30. What we learned from this experience • How to take feedback gracefully • Managing user/team/library expectations • Get in front of the message • Everyone is a brand ambassador • Timing is everything - never enough lead time….except when it’s too much
  31. 31. Scaling up and down: Everyone can communicate change • • • • • • • • • Engage front-line staff Everyone is part of communications Get buy-in and heed organizational culture Make feedback easy: webform, Twitter, polls Be empathetic to user problems Be realistic Be prepared to respond to feedback (take action) Be consistent When to automate vs the personal touch
  32. 32. Takeaways • Communications is about relationship building • Iterative process • Get early buy-in • Be transparent • Be flexible and focus on collaboration
  33. 33. Takeaways Know your: • Communications goals and message(s) • Users & stakeholders • Communications channels • Desired outcomes
  34. 34. Questions? Anika Ervin-Ward / Administration and Communications Coordinator Ontario Council of University Libraries / Jacqueline Whyte Appleby / Client Services Librarian Scholars Portal / Lisa Gayhart / Digital Communications Services Librarian University of Toronto Libraries /