Any digital transformation initiative that doesn’t take the user experience (UX) into account is setting itself up for failure.
Without a clear user workflow, there is no way to achieve even modest efficiency and productivity goals. A purely tools-based approach will never reach its true potential.
That’s because there is more to success than productivity metrics. The UX is a core component of what makes a product or service great, and it plays an enormous role in how employees approach their responsibilities in providing those products or services to customers.
Any business that is planning to go fully digital needs to take the UX into account before creating, developing, or deploying any application or workflow. Taking the time to do so can generate compounding returns down the line.
Why Is UX Design So Important During Digital Transformation?
Many IT professionals will argue that UX design is important across the board – not just during digital transformation – and they’re right. But the moment an organization decides to develop and implement new digital workflows is a critical one. That moment is where the greatest gains are to be had.
For example, consider a company that works entirely on paper. There is only so much “engineering” that can go into a paper-oriented process structure. The nature of the medium prevents a great deal of innovation.
As a result, UX design takes a step back in importance. This is why major firms in the 1950s and ‘60s had no term for the concept.
Fast-forward to today, and the story is wildly different. Most organizations depend on having superior communication infrastructure to offer their users the reliability, efficiency, and security they expect.
But highly customized, all-digital workflow systems are complex. In most enterprise-level organizations, there is no single person who knows how to use every application the business relies on every day.
Business leaders and CTOs who recognize this fact make building simple, easy-to-use systems a priority from the start. Moving from painstaking manual processes to lightning-fast digital ones is a demanding process. Executives who can establish a seamless UX for their employees from the start are able to leverage their resulting successes better.
Three Ways to Improve Digital Transformation With UX
Organizations that take a leadership-oriented approach to digital transformation have a much easier time getting employees on-board with change. The most successful ones typically use an approach that combines the following strategic principles:
Demonstrate Company Values Throughout the Organization
Digital transformation is a critical time for executives to ask themselves what the company stands for. Your customized IT infrastructure is going to represent your company’s mission and values, whether you are consciously aware of it or not.
Leaders who take the time to identify those values and align the digital transformation initiative with them are able to impact the UX in ways that reinforce those values.
For instance, a customer-oriented company that prides itself on its support service is going to invest more in its customer relationship management (CRM) system than one that values empowering customers with self-service options. Both companies will need a powerful, robust CRM (with different features and functionalities), and if employees aren’t sure why they’re using the new tool’s features, they might just avoid doing it.
Break Digital Transformation Into Small, Manageable Steps
It might be tempting to simply throw away your old system and replace it with a brand-new, high-functioning alternative in one day. In most cases, this confuses employees and forces a steep learning curve on them.
Instead, most organizations establish a tiered adoption structure that gradually replaces key functionalities over time. As employees get used to the new processes, their leaders add additional features that seamlessly integrate with initial workflows – this slows down the transformation to a manageable pace.
Integrate User Feedback Into UX Design
Not all users are the same. In order for UX design to mean anything, it must be informed with clear data from real users. IT leaders need to design their user-oriented systems around actual user feedback, gathered from willing employees over time.
This key step can prevent costly mistakes and help ensure that the company’s cultural values are actually aligned with what employees feel on the ground floor.
Design Tools For Employees, Not the Other Way Around
From the Industrial Revolution until now, most organizations focused on training employees to use increasingly complicated tools to perform tasks. Once an employee role was specified, the organization would “design” a willing participant to fulfill that role.
This scenario is changing, and digital transformation is one of the forces causing it to change. Employers who understand how to design tools for their employees are going to see much higher rates of user adoption than those who don’t.