3 reasons user experience matters to your digital transformation strategy

Your digital transformation can't succeed if employees are struggling with UX issues. Here are three essential focus points to ensure a winning initiative
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Customer experience (CX) gets a lot of hype, and for good reason. The marketplace is saturated with gadgets, applications, services, and products to make people’s lives easier. Need to get from your office to the airport? A ridesharing app is just one tap away from getting you from point A to point B. But whether you use Uber, Lyft, or another service all comes down to a few simple factors: price, ease of use, and experience. In a competitive landscape, let’s assume price is comparable. So by the process of elimination, a seamless customer experience is everything.

In our digital culture, it’s easier than ever for businesses to understand where their shortcomings lie. Customers vote with their wallets every day and they’re not shy about sharing their opinions. But what if the customers we’re talking about are your employees, and perhaps they’re not so vocal about the products and services they’re using? Or worse – what if they are and nothing is done about it?

This is a huge problem for several reasons. First, employees can’t get their jobs done in an efficient way if the user experience (UX) is poor. Second, when people struggle to complete daily tasks, they have less time for creating and innovating, and IT teams become burdened. And third, employees are resourceful. They will find a way to do their job, whether it’s sanctioned by IT or not. This can lead to bad security practices that put your business at risk and compromise the safety of your entire network.

[Also read: Digital transformation: 3 roadblocks and how to overcome them.]

How digital transformation and user experience go together

In a time where digital transformation (DX) is a core tenet of growth and viability, businesses can’t afford to be slowed down by subpar workflow processes. Here are three reasons a solid UX is essential for any DX initiative to succeed:

1. Productivity

Like consumers, today’s workers are using more applications, systems, and tools than ever before. The difference is, they don’t have a choice. But employers do. As such, any new technology or process should be weighed against the legacy systems already in place. Leaders should use a critical eye to determine what will work within those constraints and should be wary of those that don’t.

According to psychologist Gerald Weinberg, each extra task or context switch eats up 20-80 percent of a person’s overall productivity. A Carnegie Mellon study found that most people average only three minutes on any given task, dropping to only two minutes on a digital tool before moving on to something else. With those lapses in productivity, adding layers of new tools and workflows only complicates matters further. Multitasking is a part of modern work and making it easy for employees to do so is vital.

2. Operational excellence

If you don’t have a productive workforce, time spent on innovative, big-picture projects suffers while people deal with IT headaches. The switch to remote and hybrid work, coupled with The Great Resignation, in which people are leaving their jobs at the most unprecedented rate in history, has only exacerbated this. Companies that were not already on the path to digital transformation in 2020 had to accelerate plans to move to the cloud and enable a distributed workforce, which hasn’t come without complications.

[ Read also: IT talent and the Great Resignation: 8 ways to nurture retention ]

Employee turnover and lofty recruiting goals have made it more important than ever for UX to be intuitive. It’s just not realistic to expect existing employees and those new to the business to take on an IT overhaul. At a time when collaboration and filling in institutional gaps are necessary, a streamlined UX will only help ease the transition. Ideally, this will mean many once-manual processes become automated to help eliminate organizational silos.

Security should be baked into all systems from the get-go, not treated as an afterthought.

3. Security

Simply put, a strong UX makes it easier for people to follow the rules. You can “best practice” employees all day long, but if those practices get in the way of day-to-day responsibilities, what’s the point of having them? Security should be baked into all systems from the get-go, not treated as an afterthought. And when it’s working well, people shouldn’t even know it’s there. Don’t make signing into different systems so complicated or time-consuming that people resort to keeping a list of passwords next to their computer.

Automating security measures as much as possible is the surest way to stay protected while putting UX at the forefront. By doing this, people will have access to the systems they need and be prohibited from those that they don’t for the duration of their employment – not a minute longer or shorter. Automation also enables organizations to understand what is normal vs. anomalous behavior so they can spot problems before they get worse.

For business leaders who really want to move the needle, UX should be just as important as CX. Employees may not be as vocal as customers about what needs improvement, but it’s critical information.

While customers may vote with their wallets, employees vote with their loyalty, and talent is not a currency any enterprise can do without right now – especially with DX ambitions at stake.

[Where is your team's digital transformation work stalling? Get the eBook: What's slowing down your Digital Transformation? 8 questions to ask.]

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Jackson Shaw is Chief Strategy Officer at Clear Skye, an Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) software company focused on enterprise identity access and risk management.

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