Personas are groups of stakeholders that are impacted by digital transformation in a similar way; thus, a persona represents a specific user type. Within digital transformation, there are several different personas which help us to better understand the needs of each stakeholder group, along with their motivations and challenges.
By recognising different personas, we can move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to digital transformation and consider targeted communications, engagement and learning to support each stakeholder group on their respective journeys. It is also worth noting that, throughout the transformation, some stakeholders might take on several roles, and therefore transverse across multiple personas.
The Three Personas
When looking at the stakeholder groups for digital transformation, we have identified three main personas: policy & strategy, transformation programme, and owner/procurer/operator.
Policy & Strategy Personas
People in the policy & strategy persona are those who understand and justify the need for change. They set the strategy and direction of the digital transformation programme. Generally, people who fall into this persona are more heavily involved at the beginning of the programme to get things started and then transition into more of a support and monitoring role as the programme progresses through the transformation states.
Cross-cutting executive or legislative bodies
Digital transformation sponsor / lead / champion. Responsibility for an area of targeted benefit from digital e.g. innovation, efficiency, competitiveness, transparency.
Transformation Programme Persona
This persona includes all people involved in delivering the transformation programme, from the early stages of establishing the team in the MOBILISING phase through to the IMPLEMENTING and SCALING stages. The stakeholders included in this persona are delivering the change under the direction of the policy & strategy persona.
Temporary organisations / programmes established to define and implement public sector-led, cross-cutting change.
Influencing / defining / implementing change in industry strategy & policy.
All programme roles e.g. lead, champion, change management, comms, capacity building, framework development & standards
Owner/ Procurer / Operator Persona
The people who sit within this persona benefit and make use of the outputs of the transformation. They will generally be involved later in the transformation programme to test and implement the developments. Importantly, this persona provides feedback to the transformation programme from the developing state, right through to the SCALE and OPTIMISE states.
Cross-cutting or sector-specific public entities
Planning, procuring, owning, or operating public-built assets
Digital transformation sponsor / lead / champion / workstream lead / subject matter expert
Personas in transformation states:
The personas involved in the overall transformation will evolve over time. Typically, the Policy & Strategy persona will be leading the first transformation states, setting the vision and need for change. As the programme becomes established and a change team is formed, the transformation programme persona will grow as the policy & strategy persona starts to move into a more supporting leadership role. Once the transformation programme is formalised, the Owner/Operator/Procurer persona will slowly start to become more involved, providing input into the transformation programme in the developing and implementing stages. The Owner/Operator/Procurer persona will generally start to ramp up in the IMPLEMENT to SCALE states where these stakeholders make the change happen within their organisations.
National vs Organisational Personas:
The personas outlined above apply both at the National level and Organisational level. Usually, the National level transformation programme is established first. However, in some situations, it can be an Organisation level transformation programme which can then lead to a National level programme commencing as a follow on action.
At both the National and Organisation level, there are stakeholders who fit into each of the personas outlined. At the national level, the Policy & Strategy persona will generally be people setting public policy and regulations. At the organisational level, these would be stakeholders who are responsible for setting the vision and direction of the company or organisation. It is also worth noting that people may transition across personas at different levels. For example, a member of the National level transformation programme may also be fulfilling the Organisational level Policy & Strategy persona.