A deep dive into Digital Employee Experience (DEX)
Recently, Nanoheal's Managing Director, Sabyasachi (Saby) Das, and guest speaker, Forrester Senior Analyst, Andrew Hewitt, engaged in a dynamic conversation on Digital Employee Experience (DEX). Following the webinar, Andrew sat down with Saby to share his thoughts on the future of DEX and how enterprises can maximize value from their DEX investments.
Andrew Hewitt is Senior Analyst at Forrester, covering all the key components of the digital workplace, including digital employee experience (DEX) which we will discuss at some length today. Andrew helps large enterprises improve digital employee experience (DEX) and drive higher engagement, retention, and satisfaction. Andrew is also a trusted advisor to several leading software companies, helping them better align their product roadmap investments to customer needs. Andrew has the honour of publishing the world's first evaluation of End-User Experience Management technologies. Andrew is a frequent keynote speaker at industry events, and his insights frequently published in key business magazines and journals.
1. What is the long-term vision for Digital Employee Experience (DEX) and your advice for the customers?
Today, most approaches to DEX improvement are siloed technologically and organizationally. End User Experience Management (EUEM) tools focus on DEX from the perspective of end user computing and service desk. Internet platforms see DEX as primarily a knowledge and content management challenge. Meanwhile, HR professionals attempt to improve DEX through investing in human capital management (HCM), learning and development, and recognition platforms, among many other employee-facing HR apps. These tools don’t integrate, and these business leaders aren’t aligned.
The problem with this approach, of course, is that DEX is much broader than one single technology and stakeholder; it is the sum of the perceptions employees have working with all the technologies they use in their work life. The long-term view will feature two major innovations: 1) DEX will increasingly bring together these disparate data sources to present a holistic and unified approach to DEX and 2) businesses will seek to use DEX data to understand how DEX impacts the customer experience, employee retention, and ultimately, business outcomes. One day we may reach a point where organizations use DEX data to predict when an employee is at risk of burnout. While that vision is not yet a reality, customers should seek to bring together as many elements of DEX that they can. Sometimes that means using a broad EUEM tool to benchmark the experience, sometimes it means exporting that to an external data lake.
2. What parameters can be used to quantify the delivered value of an EUEM DEX tool?
Customers should always look at both tangible and intangible business benefits to an EUEM tool.
There are hundreds of tangible use cases that can help prove the ROI of an experience tool. Forrester has bucketed them into five overarching buckets: visibility, strategic planning, automation, compliance, and usage. Each drive their own unique value:
Visibility use cases drive value by reducing mean-time-to-resolution — it simply takes less time to resolve an issue when administrators have real-time access to experience data.
Strategic planning helps companies avoid costly decisions. For example, we see companies using EUEM tools to deliver the right amount of compute, memory, and RAM to developers. Enough to make them successful, yet not so much that it’s overly costly.
Automation use cases are essentially limitless, but we see organizations driving significant ticket deflection with EUEM automation. Classic examples include Wi-Fi certificate renewal, disc space clean up, endpoint management agent reinstalls, and configuration self-healing.
Compliance is all about ensuring that the right software is installed on the endpoint. These use cases help avoid the risk of a costly audit. EUEM tools can look at antivirus, UEM, EDR, and other agents to ensure they are working correctly.
Usage tries to understand how many applications employees are utilizing with the goal of harvesting unused licenses. This is often one of the first use cases customers pursue to drive DEX ROI.
Intangible benefits accrue over a long period of time but are essential to the business case for investing in DEX. They include areas like:
Sentiment to benchmark employee satisfaction
Customer experience improvement
3. The DEX players have done a good job of providing insights. But employees don't see these reports on IT issues. So, what makes a real difference to end users and positively impacts employee experience?
Ultimately, the best digital employee experience is the one that enables employees to be successful each and every day with the technology they use for work. Technology should not get in the way of employee productivity. It should not fundamentally distract employees through issues like blue-screens-of-death (BSODs) but effectively set a strong foundation for focus. While employees may not notice if their technology experience is great, they will certainly notice if it’s disruptive.
At a more tactical level, when we examine the results of our most recent Employee Experience Index (EXi), a propriety methodology which means engagement on a scale of 0 (least engaged) to 100 (most engaged), we can see that highly engaged employees are more likely to associate a positive DEX with how they perceive IT itself, rather than the technology. In our report “Make DEX The Centerpiece Of Your Digital Workplace Strategy” we demonstrate how two areas impact DEX the most. The most engaged employees:
Believe IT provides an experience that is conducive to productivity, highlighting the importance of creating a distraction free digital employee experience.
Feel that IT provides them adequate training to adopt new technologies, underscoring the important employee-facing role that IT must increasingly play to impact the perception of DEX positively.
4. How important is automation capability in a DEX tool?
Automation is one of the five key use cases that drive tangible business value. Out of all five of the use cases, automation is the one that consistently drives the most ROI, so it’s a capability that every company should seek to unlock with its EUEM tool.
There are three main reasons why automation is so important:
It drives automation consistently over time. Automation is not a “one and done” task. Through effective automation, organizations can fix a problem once and forever, effectively recouping the benefits of the automation every time an issue occurs.
Automation use cases are limited only by IT’s creativity. There are hundreds of known automations use cases today. Low code orchestration capabilities are making it easier for IT admins to bring automation more effectively into their environment.
It provides a pathway for career development for IT. Forrester often hears from practitioners that they wish they could spend more time on innovative projects, but they’re mired in mundane troubleshooting. There are simply too many problems to have enough time to focus on innovation. Automation solves that issue, paving the way for IT practitioners to work on projects that could help accelerate their career.
5. What roles do various stakeholders – Customers, System Integrators / Service Providers, & DEX players - play in successfully deploying and deriving value from DEX tools?
It’s a tight-knit relationship between all these various stakeholders, each one playing a very important role.
We consistently see the responsibilities divided as such:
Customers are responsible for defining data collection methods, setting benchmarks, and building a DEX-centric culture in the organization. At larger enterprises, they will often host and manage the EUEM tool, but the service providers can also play that role.
Service providers help accelerate DEX initiatives by offering key strategic expertise, consulting, and implementation. Services providers play a particularly strong role in setting up experience level agreements (XLAs), either as an internal benchmark for the customer or to manage the relationship between service provider and customer.
EUEM tools collect the data and drive the remediation; they are the platform that the entire DEX initiative is built upon. These vendors often have specific training and certifications for practitioners to leverage when first adopting an EUEM tool.