I often smirk when I hear or read about other companies pitching a digital experience management platform for IT support.
To outsiders this claim may sound innocuous but after 30 years in IT I know most cannot even come close to understanding, let alone managing, the full Digital Employee Experience (DEX).
It’s best to define some terms before I draw any lines in the sand.
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When other tech companies say they’ll improve your “digital experience” they really mean “digital performance management”, which can take the form of Network Performance Monitoring (NPM), Application Performance Monitoring (APM) and other back-end monitoring solutions—all of which are certainly valuable for enterprise IT—that much I agree with 100%.
But those companies fall short because they disregard (and simply cannot measure) their employees’ perspectives. They try to solve the puzzle of DEX with only half the pieces available and that is why they fail.
Why should IT care about employee sentiment? Money, Money, Money
If businesses could thrive without having to worry about employee satisfaction, or if networks, devices, and business applications communicated in some sort of parallel universe devoid of human interaction, then yes—I’d say things like employee sentiment and end-user monitoring are useless.
But that’s not the world we live in.
Companies simply cannot turn a profit without an engaged, stable workforce. And it follows that the networks, devices and business apps that IT provisions to their employees can keep people engaged and productive at work, and ultimately help a company grow.
It’s also been proven that the overall employee experience—this sense of personal-independence and engagement on the job—directly boosts the bottom line. Companies that prioritize their employee experience over those that don’t produce twice as much revenue and over four times the profit margins.
Conversely, businesses with poor technology environments tend to have a higher employee turnover rate, and because of this, they waste millions trying to recover their losses. For example, workers at companies in poor-technology environments are 450% more likely to change jobs compared to just 2% at tech-friendly companies. For some roles, especially in tech, employee turnover can cost a company up to 2.5 times their employee’s salary.
If, for example, the bulk of your employee salaries range from $60 – $120k, it only takes a couple of employees leaving to inflict millions in “brain drain” company costs. In addition, there are other “soft” costs that can take a toll like lowered productivity, decreased engagement, training costs and the cultural impact.
But what if I’m already spending well on Digital Experience?
Most IT departments believe their existing budget and strategy is preventing the type of turnover costs outlined above.
The problem, however, is not if but where they spend their money and time.
Companies continue to invest heavily in network resources and backend server capabilities. Backend capabilities include servers, storage, software investments (i.e. not network elements) found in data center(s), and cloud-based services—all of which are still relevant and vitally important to IT support.
However, many companies make significant financial investments in software monitoring tools based on flawed reasoning. The expectation is that these monitoring tools will enable IT to better support their employees, but how can this be if they have limited visibility into what their employees experience and zero capability of intervening in a non-disruptive manner?
NPM, APM, and other backend monitoring tools report performance and availability information for the network and they sometimes provide a few utilization metrics such as “trending on application usage” by employees. Unfortunately, metrics like those fail to answer critical employee-perspective questions like: why do certain employees react better to tech deployments than others? Or, how do my employees rate their digital experiences today versus last month, and why?
Beware: most companies in digital experience management are just selling you another monitoring tool that gathers “hard” IT metrics but ignores your employee’s feedback.
It’s tough combining timely and powerful employee computing insights with metrics from your network, servers, and business applications. But you need both sides of the coin, preferably in one platform, to best understand what is happening across your digital workplace.
I’ve seen many IT solutions in market these past 30 years, and all except for Nexthink have had this glaring Achilles heel when it comes to DEX.
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