Ask experts what initiatives and platforms improve employees’ digital experiences and you’re likely to hear hundreds of names. Your organization can enable self-service capabilities, improve productivity, promote collaboration, and advance compliance with the workflows and capabilities you choose.
Improving employee experience is more important today as many businesses consider hybrid work as a permanent operating model. The choice of platforms, how they are implemented, and the overall employee experience using them can improve employee happiness and help hire and retain people. One report found that employees are 230% more engaged and 85% more likely to stay with their employers for more than three years when they have technology that supports them at work.
Computing devices, network performance, cloud provisioning, and other infrastructure issues matter, but these systems only serve as a baseline for employee experiences. What truly matters are the applications, workflow, and data platforms that empower employees and enable them to get their jobs done faster, easier, and with greater joy.
John Milburn, CEO of ClearSkye, says, “When done right, the capabilities within your digital experience platform will become business accelerators. Done wrong, and you’re putting up roadblocks for your most important asset—your employees.”
Here are nine platforms that can truly make a difference for your employees.
1. Identity and access management simplifies getting started
What is the first thing employees do to start their morning work? Logging in and getting access to authorized systems is almost always the first touch point, and it has become integrated in the era of software as a service (SaaS), remote work, and cloud applications. One report showed that organizations worldwide used an average of 110 SaaS applications in 2021, and the number may be much higher when factoring in cloud services.
Employees experience an initial productivity roadblock if they must authenticate multiple times a day and remember dozens of passwords. IT operations, information security, and devops teams should simplify by implementing single sign-on platforms, centralizing entitlements, and supporting other identity management practices.
2. Collaboration and knowledge management platforms streamline workflows
Google Workspace or OneDrive? Microsoft Teams or Slack? Atlassian Confluence or Microsoft SharePoint? Every company has its tech stack for office management, collaboration, and knowledge sharing. We can debate the pros and cons of different tools, but great employee experiences are driven by integration, training, information architecture, and other usage factors.
Leena Iyar, the chief brand officer at Moxo, says, “Workflow and management capabilities such as digital signatures, sending and receiving documents, tracking communication history, and designating responsibilities can enable better business workflow.”
3. No-code app development platforms make data usable
Employees can do a lot within office suites, collaboration tools, and SaaS, but many want to avoid the swivel-chair data, spreadsheets-in-the-middle, and other manual processes to orchestrate workflows. Rather than wait for IT to develop apps and integrations, progressive IT departments deploy no-code platforms and rapidly develop apps with low-code tools that reduce these pain points.
Deb Gildersleeve, CIO at Quickbase, says, “Low code and no code can transform data to apps, dashboards, integrations, automation, and collaboration. No-code platforms can eliminate silos in teams, data, and tech. Silos are a huge roadblock to collaboration and innovation, and no-code tools allow users to build to fit business needs.”
4. Search platforms work across information silos
How should employees search for relevant information within all the SaaS, cloud-native applications, and other data platforms? Data lakes and data warehouses are the optimal tools for centralizing structured data but need additional tools to support unstructured content. Centralizing a search experience can help employees find information in webpages, documents, and other unstructured data sources.
Nicolas Bordeleau, vice president of products at Coveo, said, “Employees feel stifled and frustrated as they struggle to track down mission-critical information in today’s complex hybrid. Intelligent search makes all company knowledge findable from anywhere and delivers a more empowering and rewarding experience by tailoring it to each person’s unique needs at any given moment.”
5. IT service management platforms help the help desk
Imagine the employee who can’t connect to the VPN, needs authorization to access a SaaS platform, or has a hardware issue with their laptop. How long does it take the IT service desk to respond and resolve these issues? How much does the employee lose in productivity and gain in stress when it takes hours or days to fix common IT problems? IT service management (ITSM) platforms are much more than ticket management systems for IT service desks that measure employee satisfaction scores and seek to provide white-glove services.
Thad West, CEO of Isos Technology, says, “Visibility is extremely important in this day and age, especially with more businesses supporting hybrid work models. ITSM platforms connect teams and give employees the insight they need and deserve.”
6. Content management and digital experience platforms enable employee collaboration
Digital experience platforms (DXPs) are primary tools for building omnichannel customer experiences. But behind the scenes, there are workflows for creating, optimizing, and delivering content while improving customer journeys and measuring business impacts.
In many organizations, digital experience platforms are a central hub of activity that requires collaboration from marketers, operations, IT, and data science teams. The easier it is for employees to use these tools, integrate with other systems, and track their results, the more likely that customers will benefit and employees will enjoy their jobs more.
Leon Papkoff, executive vice president of experience apps at Inpixon, says, “A digital experience platform should delight the employees first, and that will translate to a superior customer experience. Most employees of large organizations are frustrated and hamstrung, having to jump around from system to system and from browser to mobile app just to get their job done. A digital experience platform can streamline those clicks and taps by integrating all system interfaces into a single, mobile-friendly app.”
7. Customer data platforms personalize experiences
With dozens to hundreds of platforms used to interact with customers and capture data around their actions, how do employees in marketing, sales, customer support, and other front-office functions access centralized, accurate, and up-to-date customer profiles?
Although it may be feasible to centralize the data in data lakes, I would argue that organizations should buy, not build, customer data platforms (CDPs). These tools can support many employee workflows, such as analyzing profiles, customizing segments, and activating marketing campaigns.
Tom Treanor, CMO at Treasure Data, says, “By centralizing customer data in one place using a CDP, employees are (finally) able to get a full 360-degree understanding of their customers. This allows them to be much more informed and effective when working on initiatives related to their customers, creating a much more fulfilling work experience.”
8. Citizen data science platforms democratize data-driven insights
More employees want to access and analyze data from multiple sources, and they recognize the limitations of spreadsheets. Citizen data scientists use data catalogs to identify data sources, understand the meaning behind the data by reviewing data dictionaries, and find the data owners who can answer questions. They then use data prep, data visualization, and other analytics tools to develop dashboards and share insights.
Citizen data science and other self-service business intelligence capabilities enable faster and smarter decisions by putting the tools in the hands of employees who are the subject matter experts.
9. Digital employee experience platforms monitor and analyze the environment
When IT deploys these data, workflow, and collaboration capabilities to employees, is the infrastructure keeping up and performing as expected? Monitoring tools that focus on the digital employee experience (DEX) can pinpoint issues down to the endpoint and help IT proactively address problems before users escalate them.
Mark Banfield, CEO of 1E, says, “A truly impactful platform erases all digital friction by addressing common hybrid workplace challenges, such as network connectivity, security, and remote access to digital assets. A digital employee experience platform incorporates automation tools that proactively monitor, analyze, and optimize IT environments behind the scenes to ensure all employees have a seamless experience no matter where they’re logging on from.”
Employees face incredible pressure today to deliver business impacts and improve productivity, especially in organizations committed to hybrid work models. Selecting platforms, integrating experiences, and modernizing ways of working help happier employees do more and do better.
Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.