Future of Work

3 Ways Your Digital Experience is Lacking—And How to Fix It

Delivering an exceptional digital experience at scale is still challenging for many enterprises. This continued weakness costs organizations and employees millions in lost productivity to IT downtime and can often drive employee turnover. As companies continue to adjust to distributed workforces and changing economic and geopolitical conditions, inadequate IT provisions bring down the entire organization.

To secure business continuity, retain quality employees, and attract better talent, it’s time for business leaders to prioritize providing class-leading digital experiences. 

Becoming a leader in digital employee experience (DEX) requires everyonefrom rank-and-file employees to the c-suite and IT executives—to have a clear understanding of the pros and cons of the workplace tech stack. “Too often, there’s a dissonance between how the employees, IT, and executive leadership perceive their tech stack,” says David Keil, CEO of Lakeside Software, an industry leader in DEX management. “Executives tend to be overconfident in their tech stacks, while IT is frequently frustrated by a lack of transparency into issues. Employees, meanwhile, often find themselves underwhelmed or actively hindered by their DEX environments.”  

As is to be expected, there are numerous ways in which organizations can identify their DEX issues and fix them. Here are three common ways digital employee experiences are often lacking and strategies for improving them:

  1. Lack of executive buy-in
    A lack of organizational buy-in is one of the most common factors tied to a lack of DEX maturity. Research by Lakeside found that only 20% of executives thought improving DEX should be an organizational prioritycompared to 52% of employees. Insufficient budget, a lack of organizational visibility, and concerns about data security and privacy while supporting employees across multiple environments are the highest-ranked limiting factors to DEX development. Other factors include staff resistance to change and a lack of an enterprise-wide strategy for digital experience. These factors prevent IT teams from seeing the full picture and understanding the varying needs of all stakeholders, making it harder to convince C-suite and management to invest in improvements the way they need to be.

    To rectify this issue, IT departments should emphasize how organizational health is intrinsically tied to high-quality DEX. Strong DEX drives high performance across many dimensions within the enterprise. For one, employees rank the tech stack quality of employers highly when deciding to work with future employers (61%) and stay with current employers (54%). A high-quality tech stack that meets the needs of employees and is well supported by an IT department leads to higher rates of employee retention and satisfaction. It also makes an organization more attractive to potential employees by demonstrating modernity, agility, and the ability to support distributed workforces at scale.

    Both executives and employees cite higher employee engagement and productivity as key benefits of DEX investment. Executives can also look forward to enhanced business agility, lower costs, and more substantial revenue growth if they invest in DEX.

  2. The wrong tech resources
    Many employees feel they have the wrong tech resources, and their tech stack actively hinders productivity. On average, employees think they are operating at 60% of their capacity due to their digital toolsets and infrastructure. Many believe their productivity would increase by 20% if they had the right digital tools. IT and the c-suite need to develop a subjective understanding of employee wants and needs to provide IT that works for employees.

    One way to ensure that your tech stack meets employee expectations is to conduct regular enterprise-wide surveys that evaluate employee satisfaction with technology. Quarterly or twice-a-year surveys can provide necessary insight and feedback to develop a strong DEX strategy within the c-suite and IT departments. With these surveys, IT leaders can clearly articulate their employees’ problems to the c-suite and explain how these problems are a detriment to the organization as a whole.

  3. Understaffed or under-resourced IT departments
    Employees report losing nearly an hour of work per week due to IT downtime, which over time, can spread across large organizations resulting in millions of dollars and hours lost. This is because employees underreport IT incidentsfrequently troubleshooting them alonedue to a perceived (and often real) lack of IT resources available to help. As organizations invested in more digital solutions to support distributed workforces and hybrid working environments, IT departments have struggled to keep up with the increased demand. Shadow IT used by employees (aka the use of unapproved tech tools), reliance on cloud services, and connectivity issues with at-home and VPN networks are all major contributors to the increased need for IT support. 

To ensure less employee downtime and more uptime, enterprises should focus on creating resilient IT environments by boosting IT resources. Resilient IT departments are more proactive than reactive, monitoring and managing IT assets and endpoints to identify and address weaknesses before they compromise business continuity and employee productivity. These IT departments also use predictive analytics to better anticipate where and how the subsequent threats will appear. 

Less than half (45%) of the companies surveyed by Lakeside have successfully implemented predictive analytics, and even less (38%) see it as a high-value priority for their organizations. According to  McKinsey, building a resilient IT department requires instilling a few key principles into the IT organization: 

  • Identify root causes and patterns in anomalous events to understand the origin of persistent breakdowns and issues and create pathways to correcting them 
  • Embrace automation and cross-department integration to modernize and monitor existing customer-facing processes
  • Expedite incident response with well-communicated networks and processes to reduce the frequency, severity, and impact of security incidents 
  • Reduce the risk of repeat incidents by quickly implementing recommendations posited by problem management teams in the aftermath of an incident 

A superior digital employee experience boosts employee productivity, retention, and satisfaction and supports the enterprise by providing the tools necessary to maintain business continuity in an increasingly chaotic landscape. Companies who invest in their DEX will see it pay dividends across the organization in the form of higher top and bottom line growth, greater agility, lower costs, and improved customer service. 


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Brian Wallace
Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry-leading content marketing agency that makes the world's ideas simple, visual, and influential. Brian has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present and joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019-present


Brian Wallace is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow him on LinkedIn.