6 Key Areas to Digitally Transform Your Employee Experience

Digital transformation isn’t just about technology investments — it’s also about employee empowerment. All the tech in the world won’t make any difference if it doesn’t help your employees work smarter and more efficiently.

Employees may be in different time zones and your organization may collaborate with external partners and agencies who likely don’t have access to all your internal systems. With this backdrop, the need for efficient employee collaboration is critical.

But many of the traditional tools companies used for collaboration in the past no longer meet the needs of the modern worker. For example, email isn’t really sufficient for quick collaboration. As IT adds innovations like the cloud and AI and machine learning-based technologies, employees will be able to keep pace in an environment where they must be more creative at faster speeds. The most successful companies look for ways to make employees’ lives easier and their work more seamless.

“Our employees are looking for ease and access,” says Brett Winn, chief information officer at Blackmores, a leading natural health business based in Australia. “They want to have their information and their work at the touch of a button these days. We’re trying to really make their life as easy as possible and give them on-demand access to the data that they’re looking for.”

Aberdeen research says these six key areas can help IT departments increase employee collaboration and productivity:

1. User experience

The goal of implementing new employee-facing technology should be to enhance the employee user experience across all aspects of their jobs while helping them drive business results. Employees use apps and technology to streamline their personal lives, and they should have the option for the same variety of solutions at work. As IT strives to understand employees’ pain points, they’ll develop solutions employees didn’t even know they needed.

“When we do digital transformation projects, just as much as we are investing in how the brand should communicate to the end customer, [we should invest] in internal sales and marketing tools. Internal sales tools and internal customer service tools need to all align to have the data flow all the way back to employees and back to the customer,” says Vishal Sarkar, global lead for digital sales and service at Avanade, a leading provider of innovative digital and cloud services, business solutions, and design-led experiences.

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2. Data sharing

Customer data is increasingly central to all business operations, and every department must have access to the same data.

The key is figuring out how to “collate all this information on the digital footprints around the customer into one central location, and to be able to act on that information using data analytics from a sales standpoint,” Vishal says.

“Job functions are coming together,” he explains. “To have a relevant conversation for a service person, they need the same data that a salesperson needs [in order] to have the same relevant conversation. And a marketer needs that same data to have a relevant conversation with the customer.”

3. Integration

IT can support data sharing and ensure employees have access to data that it isn’t too difficult to work with, so they’re empowered to help your organization deliver personalized experiences.

With the right enabling technology, IT can help their organizations spend less time cleansing and preparing data and more time drawing insights from it that the enterprise can act on to attract and keep more customers. Giving employees the data they need when it’s most timely and relevant will make their work even more impactful to the customer experience.

4. Workflows

Find opportunities to transform workflows and business processes. With technology rapidly and continuously changing, employees should have seamless workflows that remain constant in the middle of these swift changes. This means thinking through the purposes and functions of the various systems employees use in order to integrate them into a single, approachable workflow. With mobile becoming increasingly integral to employee collaboration, the workflows IT designs also must take mobility into account.

“For our employees, we have the challenge of collecting all of these different technologies and combining them into a simple, easy-to-use mobile experience,” says Manjit Singh, CIO for Toyota Motor North America. “We want to make sure employees can focus on doing their jobs.”

5. Efficiency

While instituting new technology, it’s also essential to reduce the end-to-end cycle time of workflows and business processes.

“As far as process improvement, it has got to be about more efficiency in our supply chain, and really being able to forecast out our requirements,” Brett says.

For many businesses, improving efficiency will come from implementing artificial intelligence tools that automate repetitive tasks and free employees to do more creative, high-level work that drives true business impact. Machine learning should be part of the conversation from the beginning as IT upgrades employee systems for increased collaboration and productivity.

“When you apply artificial intelligence and machine learning, you’re doing it on a huge and a much wider data set than one person will be able to do by themselves,” Vishal says. “That really helps drive more efficiency in the process.”

6. Data requirements

An enterprise-wide data strategy is critical in today’s environment, and security should be a strong component of this strategy.

Security should be a primary consideration in every layer of technology. IT will need to proactively address privacy, security, and compliance requirements for valuable and regulated data. Customers want to have confidence that you’ll keep their data secure. If they don’t, it’ll erode consumer trust in your company and negatively affect your reputation.

Prepare for rapid change

Change is the one constant in today’s technology landscape. IT will play a key role in driving a better employee experience, and part of that responsibility will mean being nimble and revising your organization’s technology strategy as new innovations come to the market.

The pace of this change may be difficult to manage, but it also means exciting opportunities for new tools that simplify employee collaboration and make employees’ jobs easier.

While customer experience is central to business today, it’s important to invest in your people — just as you invest in your customers. Digital transformation shouldn’t just focus on customer experience, it also has to be about the employee experience. Focusing on both will transform your business.

Looking for a strategic solution to improve your customer experience? Learn more here.