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From the back office and into the front: why CIOs should own employee experience (EX)

From the back office and into the front: why CIOs should own employee experience (EX)

You’ve no doubt heard the term ‘digital enterprise’ more times than you can count. How about ‘employee experience’? As an IT leader, maybe you’re more interested in the former, but if you’re not already thinking about the latter, I’m going to argue why you should…
Firstly, let’s not mix employee engagement with employee experience. The two are linked, but not quite the same. Think of employee engagement as a workplace ‘approach’ that results in the right conditions; goals, values, mission and vision. Secondly, when I talk about ‘employee experience’ I’m not talking about office perks, break-out spaces, or Friday beers. They’re going to help you build a positive working culture and ‘approach’, but when we talk about employee experience—or EX—what am I getting at?

Defined by McKinsey  as “companies and their people working together to create personalized, authentic experiences that ignite passion and tap into purpose to strengthen individual, team, and company performance…”

EX is increasingly concerned with the touchpoints throughout the employee lifecycle, particularly the technological touchpoints, that can affect the mood and sentiment an employee has within your organization.
And this goes a step further by translating that mood and sentiment directly into hard numbers, proving that employee experience is critical to a successful business.
According to HBR, companies that invest in employee experience outperform those that don’t, generating four times more profit per employee and three times more revenue per employee. But here’s the caveat: only 7% of enterprises have implemented digital workplaces, and the transition to one is taking twice as long as expected.
So how can you as the IT leader make a difference to employee experience in your business?

The number one tool in the digital enterprise? The endpoint

Your employees’ number one touchpoint or tool on a day-to-day—inside and outside of the office walls—is their endpoint. And if the endpoint isn’t performing, then we can be sure the user isn’t either! Endpoints are synonymous with ‘experience’. If our technology and devices aren’t performing as we’d expect them, we’re going to be pretty unhappy, right? And thanks to the rapid development of consumer tech, as users—no, as humans, people—we expect all our tech, business or otherwise, to just work. And, of course, have a good experience while we use it.

Digital EX is a ‘cornerstone’ of the digital enterprise

This digital EX is the cornerstone of digital enterprise transformation—so why do we underestimate this EX initiative so much from an IT perspective? I’m not saying we run alone in this EX race—of course, IT leadership needs to play a pivotal role in unifying all business teams, but our time at work is fully tech—so if we have a bad experience with our tech, we have a bad experience at work. It’s that simple.
But the challenges associated with transitioning to a digital enterprise and delivering superior EX can generate some pretty ugly challenges—due to the speed at which technology advances and then fuels user expectations for ‘non-consumer’ tools and tech to give them the same level of satisfaction. We need to manage change—change in the organization to a digital enterprise and change in the workforce and what they want from their workplace technology.

Challenges to better EX

No matter who we’re serving—digital-native employees or otherwise—and no matter whether they’re in the office or at home, disruption cripples the experience we have with our endpoints. But what’s causing disruption and why are end-users really unhappy?

  • Resolution of IT issues takes too long (6.2 hours on average)
  • Underperforming devices
  • Too many interruptions from IT failures and security issues
  • Current tools don’t give end-users the autonomy to “be their own master”
  • Lack of choice which limits end-user empowerment
  • Inability to securely work from any device, anywhere

And how does that affect your organization? Well, to start, IT issues cost companies £3.4bn per year in lost productivity (according to research from MSP ProBrand). The breakdown? Losing 5% of a working day to tech issues equates to 21 minutes of lost productivity per day, 1.75 hours a week, or 7 hours (one working day) per month.
Among the top issues cited were slow running equipment, cyber breaches, and outdated hardware. The number of end-users who said that their workplace IT systems are hindering their productivity rises the larger the organization (from 27% of end-users through to 33% of end-users in enterprises with in-house IT departments).
Aside from the alarming monetary issues, the repercussions of poor EX can manifest itself in:

  • Loss of productivity—an obvious one, but a critical one, nonetheless. Poor performing tech means poor-performing employees.
  • Process failure—a digital enterprise relies on software to create and drive value so it’s likely that if issues are occurring, end-users may skip process and seek out their own solutions.
  • Low morale—we all want to feel good doing the job we’re in and so if we don’t have a great EX, our moral is going to sink, and we’ll look elsewhere.
  • Increased stress—IT downtime drives us crazy. We can blame this partly on consumer tech that’s intuitive and well, just works. We want the same in the workplace.
  • Increased recruitment rates due to attrition—combine the latter two points and you’ve got employees seeking other opportunities.
  • Drop in competitiveness—combine all aforementioned points and organizations lose their competitiveness. The ability to compete and win in an ever-changing digital world is critical to the health of any business.

As the CIO taking charge of the EX, solutions are sought to manage the proliferation of endpoints, end-users, and remote workers. You need control over every single endpoint inside and outside of the corporate walls—and be able to manage and remediate them in real-time.
If tech—and EX by its very nature—is the central nervous system of the organization, it’s good practice to look after it. So enough of the negative stuff, let’s have a look at what we can do together to not just own the EX, but deliver on it.
Wait, I hear you… “We have to do more with less so how can I take on the EX initiative with limited resources and budget?” A real-time, holistic digital experience monitoring and remediation tool.

Owning and maintaining EX in a disruptive world

Employees demand a productive, secure, and enabling technology experience with their endpoints. That’s why the EX and IT gap—and end-user computing (EUC)—should be on the minds of all businesses. The world is seemingly getting the message.

According to Gartner, the percentage of CIOs with end-user service organizations as a direct report will rise from less than 5% in 2020 to 50% in 2024.

So here’s what’s going to put you in the EX driving seat, racing toward more productive, empowered, and happy end-users.

  1. The right tools to give you 20/20 vision of endpoint usage at scale. With a holistic device experience monitoring and remediation tool, you can measure the experience a user has with the endpoints with key metrics such as stability of the device, the responsiveness, and the performance. With real-time insight into device usage across all endpoints in your IT estate, you can pinpoint issues and remediate them before the end-user even realizes there’s something up. IT teams need not just the knowledge that an issue exists, but the insight across all endpoints that tells them how to resolve it.
  2. Cross-platform automation is key for proactive identification and remediation. Automation is the new frontier for reducing recurring issues and to remediate at scale. Automating common, but complex scenarios, provides instant gratification for end-users and IT teams alike. This reduces downtime, increases productivity and reduces the number of support tickets sent to the help desk. Proactively identify and remediate—and then automate.
  3. End-user empowerment is critical to better EX—so give them the ability to self-heal. With intelligent tools such as chatbots and virtual agents, you can put power into the hands of the end-user to fix their own issues and feel empowered while doing it. This level of autonomy can significantly impact the relationship a user has with their endpoints.

The digital enterprise transition isn’t a nice to have—it’s an imperative. But forget about the role EX plays in that transition, and it could be make or break. As software becomes more critical to driving business value every day, a re-think in the technology and EUC provision on offer is critical. And you—the technology leader—hold the keys to bridge the EX and IT gap so that the business can grow, compete, and win in a disruptive world.


The FORRESTER WAVE™: End-User Experience Management, Q3 2022

The FORRESTER WAVE™: End-User Experience Management, Q3 2022