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This post is sponsored by Microsoft Office, but all views and opinions are my own.
No matter how much technology is likely to grow and change in the next few years, there is one thing that will surely stick around: the importance of user experience (UX). I talk a lot about UX and customer experience (CX) as drivers of the digital transformation. You could almost say there would be no transformation if technologists weren’t rushing to make things easier, better, and more intuitive for users.
So—that begs the question: why are so many companies getting UX wrong? When it comes to overall UX and CX goals, many companies seem so focused on getting it right for their customers they neglect the people using tech day-in and day-out in their businesses. Not only does it slow down efficiencies, it can cause stress and low-levels of adoption among employees—negatively impacting company effectiveness overall. After all, employees want tech that is easy to use, too. They want streamlined processes and workflows, faster systems, mobile accessible apps, and automated data analysis. They want the same things as our customers. Here are a few ways to give it to them.
Involve Your Employees
Digital transformation is not top down or bottom up. It’s top down and bottom up. One of the biggest drivers of companies successfully reimagining UX is providing technology and tools employees want to use. You’d be surprised how many companies get this wrong. They leave tech decisions up to the tech teams, never bothering to make sure the teams who will use the software believe it is capable, intuitive, and worthwhile. While it might make your tech teams feel good, there is one thing it won’t do: ensure your employees adopt it into their workflows. To ensure they do, bring them into the conversation! Beyond that, take time to do beta tests before jumping in department- or enterprise-wide. See how the tech functions in “real life” at your company. Does it cause bottlenecks, or speed things along? Does it cause confusion, or make life easier? Only consider software that makes life easier for your employees! That is the whole point of digital transformation.
Go Beyond “Getting the Job Done”
We’ve all worked with software that technically did what we needed it to do—but it was so clunky, difficult, and slow it made our entire days painfully inefficient. In the digital transformation, it is no longer enough. When making purchases, companies need to think about technologies that make their employees faster, smarter, and better. Sometimes it might mean a bigger payout on the front-end, with the benefit coming in overall ROI. For instance, one major automotive company reduced purchase order approval time by 60 percent by creating a mobile-friendly workflow. It may not have been the cheapest, most readily available off-the-shelf solution—but it now takes employees less than half as long to finish the process. That translates to huge savings on the bottom line.
Remember: Simple is Always Better
I have never met an employee who asked for a process or piece of software to be more complicated or cumbersome. If we wanted that, we would all still be doing our accounting by hand—or even better (and worse), chiseling our communications by stone. Complex solutions are not always the best solutions. Bells and whistles don’t always equal value. What determines the value of the tech you choose is whether it can do what you need it to, quickly, in a way that enhances your team’s abilities. Which brings me to another point: You need to know what value you want the tech to bring before you try to adopt it.
When it comes to keeping it simple, there are an increasing number of resources—and providers—to help your company stay in line. The folks at Microsoft are offering a free web series, the MS 365 Webcast, to help companies do just that. If your company is struggling with bringing simplification and strong UX to your employees, make time to check it out. I’m guessing almost all of us are using Microsoft 365 by now anyway. Sometimes a familiar foundation is the best place to start.
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