The end user is the third variable of assessment use; the last two posts have looked at the product and the expert and how they may affect sustainable use.
Interestingly, in the assessment business the end user tends to be the variable that gets the least amount of attention in terms of sustainable use, or use at all for that matter! This is interesting since it is the end user that will benefit most from sustainable use of the assessment! After all, the product is about them and how the information gets used will have the most impact and value for them.
For the most part however, assessment companies have come to rely on the experts they train to provide the impetus and design for sustainable use. Not only does this not make a whole lot of sense, I think this will change dramatically over the next few years. Here are a few reasons why:
- End users are becoming more and more used to accessing ‘their’ data directly and then bringing questions for interpretation to an expert, if needed, in a variety of formats (consider, for example the changes that have occurred to our access to our own health records and test results).
- End users now can easily access much of the background, research, applications and common questions about any assessment they may be using so are far more prepared to use the data effectively without the need of an expert.
- Experts are expensive and unfortunately there are a lot of experts that simply do not offer enough value for the cost in traditional assessment use. End users want sustainability and too many experts are not delivering on this need.
- End users are beginning to question the traditional role of the expert. Historically it was thought that the product contained complex information that required expert interpretation. When you critically look at almost all mainstream assessments, this is simply not the case and end users know this.
- We have ever increasing access to technology that is effective in getting the data into the end users hands in ways that they can make immediate and long term use of it.
However, the traditional way in which assessments are used is still a very strong left loop, a strong pattern of behavior for all three variables involved in assessment use. The end user may want sustainability but they are not well informed in how to do that.
They know they want more but as of now, they are not sure how to get more.
This puts both the experts and the assessment companies in an interesting place and with some interesting choices. For assessment companies they could:
- Transition away from the expert role and take their product directly to the end user (there are already examples of this).
- Alter the role of the expert and train and develop them differently to recognize the changes desired by the end user.
- Some combination of both of the above.
In any of the three choices above the role of the expert is changing. In fact, in order to stay relevant change will be essential! Earlier in this series of posts I asked what people thought the ordering of importance of the variables of product, expert and end user in terms of sustainability was. I said I thought assessment companies ordered them as product, expert and end user, however I ordered them as end user, product and expert and indeed I think this is the way the assessment business is headed.
It is the way TMS Americas is headed. We are pursuing scenario 3 above and have been for quite some time now. We think this provides some great opportunities for everyone involved. We also think this is the best way to create sustainable use of our assessments and through this approach, sustainable behavior change.
Connect with us to explore the details.