I am guilty as charged. I have added content and posts all about how the changes in the world have transformed our lives and the ways in which we operate, albeit with the noble intent of bringing UX Thinking to business enablement. The truth is, there are still people, many, many people, that call this the new world. We see the same points being pushed over and over again – the workplace is mobile; cloud, mobile, and social have transformed the world; we are always connected; experience is important…and yes, all of this is true. But, what are you doing about it?
While these factors continue to grow and even morph still, the facts cannot be ignored. Cloud’s mainstream introduction has several dates, some that precede 2006. Smartphone has been around for a while (iPhone was introduced in 2007), and social is pretty much a standard (Facebook launched in 2004). Sorry to bring it to you but nearly a decade later, this new world is in fact simply now just the world.
No one is debating the power of the triplet, but it is critical to understand that this is most importantly the well-laid foundation for what comes next. The question to ask yourself is this: Do you really have a true understanding of how this fact must transform how you operate?
There are a couple of core understandings and considerations for Leaders today when it comes to mobility in the workplace, here are just a few –
BYOD…ah yes, that wonderful four letter acronym that plagues many an IT Leadership Forum. Let’s get one thing straight: BYOD is not a buzzword; it is not a policy; it is simply a fact. I am really sorry if you missed it but smartphones have been tailgating into your offices in people’s pockets and handbags since at least 2007. With Tablets (iPad was introduced in 2010), you have been invaded by manifold “own” devices for some time now. In fact, many employees are likely repeat offenders when you take into account statistics such as 52% of all info workers use 3 or more devices for work and the average mobile worker carries at least 3 devices! So what is your organization doing with this information? I know countless IT Leaders who when asked about “BYOD” will inform me of their 10 page guide to company policy and which devices allow which applications. Yes, of course we must be able to checkbox the “we have thought about it and documented it”, however, do you really think your employees are not using the latest quick and easy application just because you told them not to? Now, thinking and documenting it is important in terms of setting expectations of course, but more importantly you need to think about factors such as how you have embraced and enabled the workplace for the technology people are bringing into it. When you design a conference room or a new system, are you taking into account the devices that will be used? Or the device lifecycle of how people conduct business? And no, we are not talking about the lifecycle of how you provision and recycle devices for employees – but the core way devices are used and interact to reach a desired goal.
The power of 3 (social, mobile and cloud) clearly underpins and enables the life we live now. However, even more incredible is the power of the quintet. What is that you ask? Cloud, mobile, social, application and logic. Cloud and smartphone enable mobility, social enables a rich interaction, but add the power of apps and logic and we have transformative innovation. Think of companies like Uber, enabling you to get a ride without worrying if the cab takes credit card. Or Door Dash, who are enabling the world to go beyond basic Chinese food and pizza for those days when you simply can’t live without delivery. These are all examples of the power of the quintet being harnessed to transform how we live. Do you really understand the new ways of doing business and are you getting the true value from the quintet?
Next is a factor near and dear to many a CIO – security. Given that everything is now online, security is of absolute importance. I’ll say that again: since everything is accessible, security should absolutely not be an afterthought. Sounds like common sense you may think, but how many Leaders and Organizations do you know that “clamp down” with double or triple end-user intensive security methods? I know quite a few. The difference is, you need to think about designing security into your application or service from the start. What’s more, you need to design to be secure whilst still enabling the best user experience possible. This one is a subtle but powerful difference. Making sure you have designed security into an application actually lessons your risk much further than placing intensive actions on an end-user with a hard to use process or lengthy steps. After all, the end-user will just find another way to do what they need to do and then you will have no control over minimizing risk.
Measure the right thing. The D’s run riot in Enterprise; data and dashboards are the core of all do and don’t decisions. While data is powerful, it is also incredibly dangerous. I can tell you harrowing realities of “interesting” dashboards – one cautionary exampleinvolves a call center. The Leadership decided they needed to improve the “Time to Answer” and so set this as a goal for the organization. What happened? The organization ensured the Agents answered the phone and said “Hello, I’m just going to put you on hold”. Success! Time to answer was drastically reduced – dashboard was green, bonuses were given. Happy customers? A great user-experience? Now that is a different story all together. Do you truly understand your data, the measures and how to use it?
How User Experience (UX) Thinking can help your Business
Simply put, Experience is the glue holding your business together. The User Experience Methodology is based on a thought process that enables you to think through the full landscape, optimize the power of the quintet, connect the dots from start to finish and enable you to ask the right questions from the start. UX plays a paramount role in ensuring adoption and productivity at work. It is “incredibly important for enhancing the experience of our workplace interactions…[and] can be used to inspire and facilitate enhanced levels of productivity from all stakeholders.”
Leaders today must be thinking this way – or should at least have trusted counsel from someone that does. In a world where Experience is not just a differentiator but also an expectation – do not get left behind. The power of UX Thinking goes far beyond creating a great interface – it enables business transformation and value, and can be used to solve some of your greatest business challenges today.