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NICE - The digital workplace

Transitioning the staff members of NICE onto Microsoft Teams (MS Teams)


User Research | Civica | Setting up a transformation program | 3 months


The client

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an executive non-departmental public body of the Department of Health and Social Care in England that publishes guidelines on the use of health technologies, among others.

The brief

Civica was asked to focus on implementing new services on MS teams and technical support on the transition to a new way of working for users of NICE. The main users will be Internal NICE staff and potential external contractors.

Research methods & deliverables

The activities and deliverables required for the project, include:


User interviews | Usability Testing | Engagement plan | Personas and Scenarios | Research findings reports | User journey map | Affinity Maps | Workshops with stakeholders | Presentations to the client |

My role

I worked for 3 months as a User Researcher on this project and my main tasks consisted of:

  • Conducting user interviews to collect relevant data on how the user is currently interacting with the services

  • Analyzing the user interview results into an affinity map to highlight the key insights

  • Deciphering pain points from the gathered feedback to create a view of where we want the service to be soon

  • Facilitating retrospective usability and accessibility testing sessions with users.

  • Building user journeys for future users.


Miro, DevOps, Google Slides, MS Teams 

Research objectives 

  • Create an onboarding plan to introduce and guide NICE members of staff to use the new digital workplace.

  • Improve the functionalities within MS teams following UX best practice

  • Discover any issues that might prevent work productivity and create recommendations to mitigate them.

  • Increase the productivity and time efficiency of NICE users on collaborative work tasks

The secondary research goals are:

  • Ensuring accessibility and inclusivity in the service for all staff members

  • Support on communication and engagement for the transition to the digital workplace

Important to know

What’s important to know is that the client has not asked us to design a new product. The business decision has landed on MS Teams being the digital service. Civica is designing/configuring tailored UI and services. 

So far, there were:

  • A certain number of project teams are already onboarded on Project Spaces. We call these teams early adaptors.

  • Early adaptors have been assigned to establish ways of working with the new service

  • DevOps is used as the organizing tool




From my understanding of the brief, to get overall results, I will focus on the following:

  • Increasing usability

  • Providing insights and recommendations on the current ways of working to inform training needs for new service users

  • Providing the internal team with recommendations on how to engage with new service users to provide support on their issues and concerns

  • Increasing accessibility



NICE embarked on the design, delivery and rollout of the next service as part of the digital workplace, named “My Space”.

The My Space service will be for all NICE staff members and contains a tailored area for them to manage their work more effectively in one place.  


The features embedded in Myspace will be:

  • OneDrive — a service to store personal documents and drafts. It is possible to work offline and sync files later

  • Viva Insights — a platform to see analytics about daily work or to keep track of patterns and activities — e.g., how much time was spent in meetings

  • OneNote — for organizing and planning a workload and tasks and personal notes


Research goals

To get the results, we will focus on gathering research insights to inform:

  • a business change plan including a roll-out strategy

  • a training plan based on the learning needs of staff members 

  • a communication plan to recommend ways of working

Deliverables for My Space 


As agreed by the stakeholders, my user research would consist of these outcomes:


  • User interviews (25+ participants)

  • Affinity maps

  • User journeys

  • Personas

  • Research report and presentation to stakeholders

Engagement plan

I created an engagement plan to identify a diverse range of users to perform user interviews. After conversations with key stakeholders, we established a list of criteria that each round of user interviews should include as a representative sample.

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The representative sample should include participants with:

  • new starters

  • accessibility needs

  • various levels of digital literacy

  • a variety of seniorities

  • managing a large number of team members

  • managing other colleagues’ calendars/documents

User Interviews

I created a discussion guide after having defined our research goals, which method to use to collect data and which user to engage with.


The key research questions are:


  • What are the current ways of working in terms of people managing their documents, sharing and collaborating on early drafts?

  • What is the awareness of Delve and OneDrive and how confident are members of staff using these technologies?

  • What are the challenges with the adaption of My Space?

  • What are the different training and onboarding needs for members of staff?

  • What are the digital accessibility and assisted digital needs for members of staff?


Affinity mapping

To organize all the data I have gathered and identify themes in the user's feedback,  I created an affinity map. I made sure to group all the data by service first and made and categorized them in commonalities, for example:

  • ways of working, 

  • pain points

  • learning needs.

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Some key patterns emerged:

  • Not knowing where to find files or documents is a common theme across all departments of NICE

  • Not knowing when or whether to use MS Teams group chat vs. MS Teams private chat vs. e-mail.

  • Using Outlook for calendar/diary management was universal

  • Existing training was regarded as basic and out-of-




With the insights of our research in mind, I created personas based on the different types of staff members of NICE. These personas let us keep the users of My Space at the centre of the implementation process. We created personas based on experience, digital confidence and ambitions for their job roles using My Space.

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Research report and presentation to stakeholders — outcomes

These are 3 overarching themes that will guide us in future user research:

How Might We statements

To address the themes for each service, I created How Might We statements, to get us to think about translating my recommendations into actions.

Viva Insights is already available; How might we:

  • communicate to users where to access Viva insights so they can learn about how it might support them.

  • empower colleagues to book focus time so that they can balance their workload.

OneDrive is partly available; How might we:

  • communicate the policy, benefits and best practices of use

  • create awareness for members of staff to tidy up their folders ready for transfer to OneDrive

Next steps

At this time I made a hard stop on the project. I made sure to do a strong handover of my deliverables and communicated all my insights clearly with a final presentation and handover deck. This explained the whole process I made and included recommended next steps for user research

These were:

  • What form of guidance is needed? What would be the best training guide 1for people to learn about the new technology they are being introduced to?

  • Identify the benefits to NICE from using these tools consistently/effectively across the organisation

What I have learned

I have learned that users within a company have very different perspectives on technology that’s being used company-wide. Every staff member has various work tasks and different experience levels and they have tailored their ways of working to complete their daily tasks.

The challenge I found is that you will unlikely find a way to create a one-size-fits-all procedure to transition people to a new technology being introduced into the company.

To ensure everyone is transitioning as comfortably as possible, you need to regularly check in on all staff members. It is important to have various methods of support prepared that fit best with the individual training needs.

Companies can monitor staff members’ progress via surveys or focus groups to get an understanding of where they are in the transition process. With this information, you can adjust training needs when necessary so everyone feels included.

Performing more user research after the introduction can greatly support improving this process.

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