The Gartner Digital Workplace Summit had everything. Except for one crucial thing.

It’s the 2nd day of the Gartner Digital Workplace Summit in London. I’m waiting in line for coffee at the venue and I hear this:

“How’s the summit going for you?”

“Well, great and not-so-Great”

“How so?”

“Great that I have my business case nailed down. Great that I now have hundreds of ideas to improve experience in my organization”

“And the not-so-Great?”

“I have no idea what to do next”

 

I found myself nodding in agreement.

We are big fans of the Gartner Digital Workplace Summit here in Nexthink.

Each year, hundreds of IT professionals meet under common enterprise goals, engage with the leading analysts in tech, and learn from Gartner’s deep domain expertise and session content. For us, the summit presents a key opportunity to read the pulse of the tech market, so we were delighted to sponsor it (refreshments were on us) and present a breakout session.

But the comment I heard from the guy in line for coffee keeps coming back to me.

This year’s summit highlighted that the business case discussion around digital employee experience (DEX) is now pretty much done. There was unanimous agreement from attendees that positive digital experiences are fundamental to employee engagement and productivity and they can be directly linked to bottom-line business outcomes such as: accelerating time to market, improving market innovation and disruption, reducing attrition and onboarding costs, and strengthening overall agility and competitiveness.

The focus has definitely moved from “Why is DEX important?” to “How do we improve DEX?”.

The summit showcased a seemingly endless number of solutions to help drive this improvement—like better networking, improved intranets, seamless collaboration tools, innovative community platforms and more. In addition, Gartner introduced the idea of EXTech (Employee Experience Tech) – a wide range of technology solutions that can help the enterprise in delivering a better digital workplace for their employees.

So, the summit seemed to have everything.

But there was a gap. And we think a significant gap.

Every single session, and every single pitch addressed the ways and means of improving DEX. But no one was talking about how to measure and manage DEX.

Why?

The business case for DEX is now a given. There is 100% consensus that the enterprise needs to put experience front and center in their IT and HR planning. But how do you put a plan in place to improve experience if you have no starting point, no point of reference, and no measure of success?

Given that there were so many technology options on show at the summit and alternative technology approaches, you can sympathize with the guy in the coffee line who simply didn’t know where to start.

Maybe one reason that no one was talking about metrics was because measuring DEX is difficult to do effectively. In fact, there are three significant challenges to overcome:

  • Traditional hard IT metrics can be retrieved relatively easily from the network and from different endpoints. But measuring “experience” requires more employee and service-centric metrics that show not just the performance of IT production, but also of IT’s consumption. For example, how do you effectively measure the business services that are delivered to employees, and how those services are adopted and consumed by employees? Employee-centric metrics hold the answer but they are difficult to source with traditional IT monitoring tools.
  • Even if you do manage to gather all of the required hard metrics from your environment, you are still measuring only half the story. You need to capture the employee perspective as well – what is the sentiment of your employees around the different aspects of their workplace? You need to avoid the often-referenced situation where the lights on your IT dashboard are all showing green, and yet your employees are still experiencing a non-optimal experience. Measuring employee sentiment is no easy task and requires building a rich communication channel with the workforce.
  • DEX measurement is not a one-off process. You need to understand experience on an ongoing basis. Improving DEX over time may not follow a simple upward curve, so it is important to understand how context and timeliness can impact your employees. This means that any measurement process must be robust enough to give you accurate historical data, so that you can understand trends and DEX-impacting events that have occurred over time.

These three challenges look pretty daunting, but you are going to have to overcome them in order to make your DEX improvement processes effective, scalable and repeatable. You can’t manage what you can’t measure.

That’s where Nexthink can help.

We believe we have something that no one else at last week’s summit (or anywhere) can offer—a Digital Experience Score that aggregates metrics for the multiple key drivers of employee experience—browsing, security, collaboration & productivity, business service usage, and the employee device itself.

We combine traditional IT metrics with sentiment data captured from employees for each area. And we let you track all of these metrics over time to ensure that you are always going in the right direction. Our customers are using the Nexthink Score to benchmark their performance internally and against their industry peers (this data is already generating some really interesting DEX talking points—come back to find out more in the coming weeks).

We believe Nexthink’s Digital Experience Score can give you everything you need to get DEX right, and to help your company save millions in enterprise cost and cut thousands of hours in lost productivity.

So, to the guy in the coffee line I would say this:

You have a solid business case for Digital Employee Experience. Last week’s summit gave you multiple approaches to improve different aspects of your employees’ experience. And now for the first time, you have a robust, relevant and contextual way to help you identify where you are, to map out your roadmap for improvement, and to measure your ongoing success.

So now you do know what to do next.