Digital Experience: The Key To User Delight

Jason Bloomberg

What if every interaction with your company – from a customer exploring your website to a clerk completing a form to a partner fulfilling an order – was simply delightful?

Whether in consumer or B2B scenarios, the digital experience (DX) drives key business priorities like sales conversions, productivity, and profitability. That’s why enterprises of every stripe are working to deliver seamless, high-quality interactions across every digital touchpoint.

Achieving this goal depends on a complex set of technologies across the enterprise working together. To address this complexity, organizations must take a holistic approach.

“Holistic” is one of those marketing buzzwords that can raise red flags in any discussion of enterprise software – but achieving a holistic experience is the key to delighting people.

Companies’ digital teams should leverage devices, systems, and tools across both systems of record and systems of engagement to deliver the quality of experience that everyone expects.

A well-orchestrated DX streamlines and accelerates both processes and interactions. The results can be extraordinary: increased customer value, higher productivity, and delighted users – inside your organization and out.

Digital experience: simple on the outside, complex on the inside

 To provide the best DX, businesses must rethink existing technology touch points for everyone who interacts with the company.

Customers require seamless interactions as they move from laptop to smartphone to, say, an in-person retail experience. Similarly, employees may interact with an increasing variety of interfaces specific to their role, from increasingly sophisticated voice interactions to a wide range of augmented reality or artificial intelligence-supported devices.

New technologies, in fact, offer both promise and additional complexity. The Internet of Things is exploding the number and variety of user touch points, while artificial intelligence improves the ability for technology to improve its interactions with people well beyond what’s available today.

The opportunities for optimized business processes, improved productivity, reduced errors, and better relationships with customers abound. But far too often user interfaces are overly complicated and disjointed, with little commonality from one to the next.

These incoherent interfaces are a natural outcome of the underlying infrastructure, which typically comprises diverse data sources, incompatible back-end systems, disconnected workflows, and competing, often contradictory business processes. Companies have been leveraging a mix of different tools within departments or lines of business in their own silos, each of which depends on different underlying systems and disjointed data sets.

Business processes often succumb to this technical complexity. Even simple processes like placing an order require multiple teams across an enterprise to collaborate, as they coordinate systems, processes, and data, as the diagram below illustrates. Too often, this results in processes too slow or fraught with errors to maintain any kind of user-friendly DX – and in the end, profitability and competitiveness suffer as well.

Even a simple order touches multiple people using different devices and applications.

Achieving a holistic digital experience

The challenges of technical complexity require organizations to leverage a digital experience platform where they can manage engagements, collaboration, and customer interactions in a single, well-integrated environment.

To succeed, this DX platform must unite all systems of record. By creating a single source of truth, organizations can integrate processes and data across the silos that have interfered with the user experience in the past.

The DX platform must provide this consolidation without disrupting the underlying systems. The goal is to create an environment for delivering end-to-end experiences without needlessly interfering with existing core processes. Thus, a holistic DX platform like SAP Cloud Platform is marked by its ability to integrate seamlessly into existing infrastructure.

Once a DX platform is in place, the digital team can streamline business operations – first by connecting tools, infrastructure, and processes, and then by designing and implementing optimized user interfaces for all audiences. As technologies advance, such platforms can leverage artificial intelligence to improve human interactions.

This optimization can pull together many different efforts. Teams can accelerate integration with back-end software to access core data while simplifying integrated business processes. They can create strategic applications that support multiple touch points – for employees, suppliers, customers, or anyone else who participates in such processes.

The end result will be to simplify and accelerate all tasks via end-to-end services across all lines of business, providing increased value across the enterprise.

The Intellyx take: achieving elusive user delight

As enterprises implement digital experience platforms as they move forward with their digital transformation initiatives, DX should continue to improve. How do you know, then, that your DX is good enough? The answer: when you consistently delight your users.

User delight is one of the most difficult to define, but most important metrics any digital initiative can have. It is essentially a combination of the subtle emotional reactions that impact a person’s perceived opinion of a set of interactions, and generally, with a company overall.

As consumers, we all recognize it—when our interactions with a company are so seamless, so customer-centered, that they are truly delightful. Get DX right, and your organization can reap the rewards.

For more on this topic, see Five Ways AI And Machine Learning Can Improve CX.

About Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is founder and president of the agile digital transformation analyst firm Intellyx. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top digital transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists. Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books, including The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.