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December 07, 2018
XR onboarding best practices
By: Brent Blum

Like any technology initiative, the success of an enterprise extended reality (XR) project requires up-front strategic thinking and stellar follow through. Getting the C-suite and end-users engaged is critical—both for initial acceptance of the XR application and ongoing usage. When done correctly, your enterprise will gain a productivity-enhancing tool that drives efficiency and achieves genuine human acceptance.

Here are some onboarding best practices to ensure the long-term success of your XR initiative:

Initial Strategy

Start by articulating a purposeful technology strategy that covers relevant business and IT teams. Without a clear plan for the preferred platforms and relevant stakeholders, isolated teams will tinker and experiment with XR initiatives. These activities are at best redundant and at worse likely to lead to technology silos.

A successful enterprise #XR project requires a good plan & buy-in from the C-suite – @blumbr01 explains in a #TechInnovation blog post

 

 
 

Be intentional about the project’s strategic aims and communicate these to the affected functional groups or preferably widely across the enterprise. Additional considerations in the proof of concept and pilot phases include:

  • Try, rinse, repeat—Instead of reaching for the shampoo bottle, use this iterative method to pursue a prioritized list of XR use cases and hypotheses based on the enterprise setting. To develop the use case prioritization, interview relevant stakeholders from the business and IT side to understand their pain points with current processes. Consider existing XR use cases that are already delivering efficiency and productivity gains in your industry, such as manufacturing or equipment maintenance.

    Rank the use cases to compare value vs. ease of implementation and focus on high-value use cases that are reasonably simple or cost-effective to implement. Test them in sequential order and document if they have been proven or disproven as you move from proof of concept to pilot.

  • Collect data—Before commencing with testing, determine how to gather data and measure specific key performance indicators (KPIs) for both the XR proof of concept and pilot. These data points, whether collected by employee satisfaction surveys or a more formalized XR analytics tool, will be the basis of your business case.

    Classic things to measure/test include the improvement in time it takes to do or teach a specific task, first-time quality, error rates, end-user comfort, time on tools, and hard or soft improvements in safety. In some cases, the KPIs will have established benchmarks; otherwise you will need to establish the benchmarks and then measure. For your first projects, bias toward use cases that will bring immediate value and are easily measured (or have existing benchmarks).

Technical Platform Approach

When possible, take the long-term approach and pursue an XR platform over a point-solution. This will provide cross-functional features like setting up proper security, users, roles and master data management. A platform will also scale with your business, including the use of open development standards that make it easier to add new teams and integrate to new systems.

In addition, platforms are usually device-agnostic so they support new hardware as it's released to the market, which is important with the rapid technology advances being made. Case in point, an Accenture client using the Upskill Skylight platform began its XR initiative by developing for a specific pair of smart glasses. Later the team seamlessly switched to a new and improved device, thanks to the platform-based approach that supported all major smart glass vendors.

In another example, an Aerospace & Defense client used a platform-based approach to equip its engineering and design teams with an XR application for assembling aircrafts. When the business case called for expansion, the team extended the functionality to equip warehouse inventory teams distributed across the country. The expanded XR solution saved significant costs by minimizing the need for inventory specialists to travel to manufacturing facilities to confirm available supplies.

Change Management

The onboarding process should help employees understand the new XR technology and become comfortable with using it in their day-to-day tasks. Focus on ways the tool can help them do their job better or more safely. Supply adequate time for training and include a ramp-up period. Designate a XR champion who believes in the application to share the value proposition and demonstrate the benefits.

Additional changes at the policy level include:

  • Establish a privacy policy—Set transparent data usage standards for the XR application and publish them so that all users have a clear understanding of whether any personal data is collected and how the information is being used to help them do their job better.

  • Expand the mobility policy—Revise the organization’s existing mobility policies to include XR hardware. As just one example, Accenture helped a client assess and rewrite its mobility policies to include smart-glass specific considerations, including data privacy and recording parameters.

Operational Considerations

Before rolling out the XR application, think through the procedures for daily use by employees. Much of this is common sense but may be overlooked in the design and development process. For example, dedicate an easily accessible physical space at each job site or warehouse to store the devices securely with ample access to power outlets.

Decide on a check out/check in system such as scanning a bar code on the device itself. Determine how often the devices will need to be charged depending on the battery life and consider using pre-charged swappable batteries. Maintain proper hygiene and sanitize the devices regularly. Finally, develop a process for what happens if a device needs maintenance and have back-up devices ready.

To learn more onboarding tips and discuss how to fast-track your XR enterprise application for design, engineering, manufacturing or operations, contact me at brent.r.blum@accenture.com and visit our Accenture XR site.

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