Digital employee experience (DEX) is becoming a major topic in many organisations, and the discussion is picking up steam (see What is digital employee experience?).
In many ways, DEX is a byproduct of the broader digital transformation rolling through many organisations. IT plays a crucial role in driving digital transformation, and it should play a similar leadership role when it comes to DEX.
We see four reasons why IT should care about digital employee experience:
- It keeps digital workplace projects out of the swamp
- DEX aligns overlapping projects
- It mitigates the growing complexity of the IT landscape
- DEX gets IT a bigger seat at the table
Each of these is explored below.
1. It keeps digital workplace projects out of the swamp
Digital workplace projects can be difficult to get across the line. Rolling out a new platform such as Office 365 brings hugely improved functionality to the business, but the further IT progresses on these projects, the less clear they can become.
- Should all the features be turned on at the outset, or if not, which tools should the business start with?
- How do we have meaningful discussions if business users are unfamiliar with new ways of working? (“What’s document co-creation?”)
- What user experience should we be providing to users?
- Beyond infrastructure benefits, what are the business drivers for these new platforms and systems?
These questions and uncertainties can lead digital workplace projects into a swamp, where clarity is lost and enthusiasm is sapped.
Digital employee experience keeps these projects out of the swamp, by providing a vision and direction that IT and the business can both commit to. DEX also provides a framework for clear business benefits and objectives, beyond just the technology component. With a focus on employee experience, it becomes much easier to design these new enterprise solutions.
The net result is clearer projects with sharper scope that deliver more compelling business benefits.
2. DEX aligns overlapping projects
Business areas aren’t standing still when it comes to technology change. While the IT team is rolling out Office 365, HR is launching Workday, ServiceNow is making its mark, the digital team is establishing a new innovation platform, the comms team is deploying a new mobile news app, and the developers are starting to use Slack.
These projects often end up overlapping, or worse, competing. For example, does HR content still live on the intranet, or does it move to the new HR platform? Do forms get built in Office365 or ServiceNow? What’s the agreed way of delivering mobile functionality?
Strategic discussions about DEX help resolve these issues, by getting all the stakeholders around one table. By aligning projects early on, everyone can be clear on the boundaries of each solution, and the relationships between them.
By framing discussions at the right level, DEX enables strong governance to be established, which is critical for ongoing success and sustainability.
2. It mitigates the growing complexity of the IT landscape
It’s no secret that ‘shadow IT’ — where staff are using consumer tools without corporate approval — is growing every day. Some of this stems from the gap between enterprise and consumer technologies, but it also comes from the widely varying (and nonetheless legitimate) needs across organisations.
A growing number of organisations are endorsing whatever tools business areas ask for, as long as they are hosted in the cloud.
The result is complexity across every aspect, from end-user requirements to business strategy and enterprise architecture.
Digital employee experience provides a way of understanding staff needs, as well as offering a framework for making broad decisions about what’s offered as corporate solutions.
For example, staff personas and journey maps are key elements of many DEX strategies, and they make visible the real needs of business areas and the staff within them.
By putting shape around needs, DEX can empower IT to move more quickly and decisively to deliver better solutions, and stem the tide of shadow IT.
4. DEX gets IT a bigger seat at the table
Senior leaders don’t care about behind-the-scenes technology changes. The rollout of new platforms, whether it’s Workday or Office 365, simply doesn’t enflame passions.
While the CIO (or equivalent) already has a seat at the senior leader table, the role can be hobbled by an assumption from the business that IT is just about keeping the lights on.
Technology plays a pivotal role in driving business transformation. It unlocks new ways of working, as well as sweeping away legacy constraints and issues.
Digital employee experience is something that leaders intuitively understand the importance of, and it gives CIOs a more strategic framework for engaging with the rest of the senior leadership team.
On the back of customer experience (CX) success, DEX empowers the CIO to move faster and more strategically, taking on a true leadership role in business transformation.
Be part of the coalition for change
Delivering a great digital employee experience will require active leadership from many part of the business, and direct engagement from every area. Internal communication teams shouldn’t be afraid to join the core coalition who are driving change, alongside IT, HR, and others. With more voices involved in strategic planning, the results are bound to be better for the employees (and the business!).
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