Jan 25, 2021 Bogdan Udrea

Predictions: 5 ways XLAs will transform enterprises in 2021

Popular opinion on how workplaces are constructed and managed significantly changed in 2020, with enterprises reevaluating how they deliver a great digital employee experience. The first step is to adopt and design XLAs.
Predictions: 5 ways XLAs will transform enterprises in 2021

Throughout 2020, many IT organizations honed in on ensuring availability of their operations and maintaining good productivity levels among employees. However, as we have learned from research conducted during the pandemic, the relationship between users and IT hasn’t gone as smoothly as organizations may have hoped. For instance:

  • Over half of employees experienced slow-running corporate devices when working remotely
  • Over a third of employees experienced more IT issues working from home
  • 72% of employees wait hours, days or even weeks to get an issue resolved

This has inherently led to a significant decrease in the overall user satisfaction and, as a natural outcome of this, decreased productivity and engagement.

2021 will be the year to design user-centric workplaces

How organizations rebound, and indeed grow, after such a tough year will depend on their ability to embrace a new way of thinking and working. Many have already realized—and quickly—that to grow and retain their customer base means first growing and retaining employees.

Put simply, a “Worker/User First” organizational mindset is essentially the core driver behind enabling a Customer-First culture. Without it, enterprises will find it difficult to increase their workers’ productivity, motivate users and, equally important, retain and attract skilled employees in what will be a very intense war for talent.

It’s time to start measuring the relationship between employees and IT

Digital workplace services play a crucial role in employee engagement and productivity, particularly for remote workers. If my device is slow or crashing, I can’t work or join Zoom calls with my colleagues. If I experience IT issues that impact my ability to focus, I’m going to feel disengaged and more than a bit peeved with my employer (and IT).

Workplace technology and the IT support we receive is so important to our happiness in the workplace, that I expect many organizations to start redesigning how they measure the relationship between users, IT, and the enterprise overall. Inevitably, this will lead to an increased focus on the adoption, design, and continuous refinement of XLA’s as a core actionable framework that underpins and drives any enterprise digital transformation program.

This understanding will represent a game-changer for many enterprises. The ones who find better ways to positively act upon worker experience challenges will be the ones that will gain the most in the marketplace.

The transformative effects of embracing XLAs

We’ve already seen many organizations that have started down this XLA path by adopting a workplace IT servicing model and augmenting traditional SLAs with experience metrics. These primarily revolve around capturing users’ perspectives on devices, applications, services, and some of the enterprise journeys that they engage with inside the enterprise. But what else can you expect when adopting an XLA program? Here’s my 5 predictions:

  1. Enterprise will reach peak maturity in terms of how user experience programs are managed by adopting centers of excellence. These will focus on holistically tracking and addressing the workers’ experience across multiple services and processes.
  2. Organizations will continue to mature their UX-centric approaches and evolve their XLA metrics beyond understanding, measuring and acting upon discrete device and application performance metrics or contextual/non-contextual user surveys. This maturity evolution will be primarily fueled by better analytics solutions that allow organizations to collect, analyze and extract insights from across systems of work or systems of engagements that were previously outside of their reach.
  3. As a natural step, enterprises will start analyzing entire cross-platform managed processes and the associated experiences users have as they navigate them. This will start with the most friction-full processes, such as onboarding and offboarding, and include the most experiential and productivity-impacting events during the user lifecycle, such as user device replacement.
  4. On a parallel track (and again powered by more mature analytics capabilities), enterprises will seek to elevate the way they collect, aggregate, normalize and apply weightages on metrics to enable a more personalized approach to digital workplace optimization. As a result, organizations will forgo a one-size-fits-all approach to end user experience through better understanding of workplace personas and the ability to adjust metrics to measure and reflect what is important for specific user subsets.
  5. Last, but not least, one element that will become more prominent in the post-Covid, employee-centric workplace is improving users’ wellbeing. Organizations will seek to proactively uncover the factors that are detrimental to users’ wellbeing by combining indirect sentiment metrics, from communication and collaboration platforms, with out-of-process survey data to pinpoint and rapidly address pain areas. Enterprises will incorporate these user wellbeing metrics into the overall employee/worker experience scores and, by doing so, enable another core driver behind executing improvement programs.

2021 will be the year we solidify the concept of a user-experience driven workplace. A better understanding of what impacts users’ perception of the workplace the most, as well as formalized measurement of the workplace experience in the form of XLA’s, will enable enterprises to radically transform their value proposition to employees. Those enterprises that lag being will soon find themselves in a situation where their capability to rapidly pivot and grow in the marketplace will be severely hampered by a friction full workplace experience, disengaged employees and an inability to rapidly grow, retain and attract critical skillsets.

To find out more about how to tangibly use XLAs, join my webinar, How to use XLAs to  measure and elevate employees’ digital experiences, on 28th January. Even if you can’t attend live, sign up here and we’ll email you the recording.