Oct 05, 2021 Hannah Lenane

What is Digital Employee Experience (DEX)?

You may well have heard the term digital employee experience (DEX) being used increasingly more often, especially as the world continues to transition to remote and hybrid working models. But what is DEX, why does it suddenly matter so much, and what does it mean for you?
What is Digital Employee Experience (DEX)?

With the continued move to hybrid and remote working, priorities have changed around providing a good digital employee experience. With the laptop (and other devices) replacing traditional offices, organizations must understand that a good employee experience is no longer providing snacks, Friday afternoon beers, and a foosball table. The employee experience has become digitized, just as their working environment has. And considering research from Forrester shows that 40% of companies will operate in a hybrid model by 2023, this isn’t going to change.

It’s safe to say if there’s one thing you should be prioritizing as we head into 2022, it’s your organization’s digital employee experience (DEX) program. As such, our most recent Work From Anywhere Conference (WFA) was dedicated to exploring everything you’ll need to build your DEX plan for 2022. Dan Wilson, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner, joined us to talk us through Gartner’s emerging category – DEX.

So, what is DEX?

In short, DEX is an evolution of endpoint management; we need to augment endpoint management to ensure a good digital experience for employees. Dan explained that digital employee experience (DEX) transcends simply “admiring” the problems employees face in their digitally corporate lives.

Gartner defines DEX as a strategy that focuses on employees, their experience, and their use of technology. This strategy is supported by a set of tools that offers key feature sets to provide insights that drive action – both in the form of a script or technology automation and human action or behavioral change. It’s simple really:

Performance and Usage + Organizational Context + Employee Sentiment + Analytics and Machine Learning = Insights and Action

How does it differentiate from digital experience monitoring (DEM)?

DEX solutions aggregate data about device and software performance and usage and context-sensitive sentiment data into a holistic experience score. Unlike DEM tools, DEX solutions also include automation capabilities to eliminate poor digital experiences at scale.

The role of DEX in an enterprise is essentially a journey of maturity consisting of three steps:

1. Discover what is happening in your environment by aggregating data: This initial step is all about gathering the right analytics about the endpoint estate and is the central tenet of DEM. The analytics gathered should be able to tell you about how employees use their devices and applications, what (if anything) isn’t working to standard, and what is causing the issues.

2. Verify the data’s validity using sentiment analytics: Polling users on their use and feelings toward specific workplace technologies or their overall digital experience will identify what they care most about. Ideally, the cumulative scores are aggregated in the DEX score.

3. Act upon the findings: What differentiates DEX from DEM is the capability to do something about a poor digital experience. For more immature organizations, this will mean manual remediations on a case-by-case basis. For the most mature, an autonomic endpoint engine that proactively suggests fixes or fixes the issue across all affected endpoints.

Why does DEX matter?

But, why does DEX suddenly matter so much? Why should we be prioritizing building out a DEX plan for 2022? The answer is simple. The pandemic-induced move to hybrid and remote work has placed emphasis on the importance of the digital experience – most specifically the employee’s digital experience.

To quote from Forrester’s research “once a luxury, an exceptional digital employee experience (DEX) is now a necessity”. With more employees than ever before working from anywhere, IT organizations need to improve digital employee experiences and employee engagement, increase operational agility and automation, and secure employees regardless of location.

WFA-Sept-21 8242 -Quotes- 6

In his WFA session, Dan spoke to the greater need for Insights-Driven Experience Automation (IDEA) that goes beyond analytics to eliminate employee experience degradation and productivity-inhibiting issues. Gartner estimates that before 2025, over 50% of IT organizations will use DEX to help prioritize and measure digital initiative success.

What are the benefits of DEX?

The benefits of implementing a DEX program are numerous; from uncovering unreported technology issues, to basic software asset management or license cost recovery, and even accelerated technology deployments, the use cases for DEX are extensive. But, in summary it helps to look at strategy from a more business-centric, holistic point of view. DEX transcends simply impacting your staff, to affect your businesses’ bottom line.

For example, research shows that organizations with mature DEX programs are:

  • 6x more likely to see fewer disruptions to the digital employee experience
  • 56% more likely to agree that their DEX practices help provide a better remote work experience
  • 33% more likely to report higher employee satisfaction
  • 62% more likely to see higher employee retention rates

Who should be responsible for DEX?

It’s important to note that DEX doesn’t just mean invest in new technology, set the switch to ‘on’ and sit back and relax. In fact, embarking on a DEX journey means enacting an organizational change as well as a technology change. As Dan Wilson explained, “in some cases it’s even deeper than [organizational change], it’s a cultural change”. But with this in mind an interesting question arises, who should be responsible for DEX initiatives within your organization?

Since DEX has become a board-level concern, the pressure is on the Digital Workplace team – who have traditionally evolved from End-User Computing organizations – to deliver. DEX is not simply about IT, it takes a village to be able to implement correctly and requires support from other IT peers, centers of excellence (CoE), technology vendors, shared services partners, etc.

Insights from Gartner predict that by 2025, 50% of IT organizations are expected to have established a DEX strategy, management tool and team – which could be made up of anything from one person to ten people depending on the organization size.

How do I get started?

It can be daunting to get started on your DEX journey if you haven’t already. And it’s no secret that many organizations strategies (particularly surrounding things like automation) fail within the first two years. So how can you develop and implement a successful DEX program, whilst avoiding potential obstacles?

DEX Maturity and Enterprise Preparedness

It’s important to be mindful of DEX maturity and enterprise preparedness. First things first, you need to understand where your organization’s DEX initiatives are currently. This is where Forrester’s newly developed DEX Maturity Model comes in. Use this new tool to assess the maturity of your digital employee experience and benefit from customized results and recommendations on your current DEX maturity, and what you can do to improve based on your responses.