Creating Better Employee Experiences and Opportunities for Innovation
April 04, 2022

Anthony Abdulla
Pega

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The challenges businesses have endured over the past few years have created more pressure than ever to digitally transform in order to keep pace with rapid change as well as market competition. A survey from McKinsey found that as a result of the pandemic, companies have accelerated the digitization of their internal operations by three to four years, and the share of digital or digitally enabled products in their portfolios has accelerated by seven years. Those are hugely expedited timelines, and they're placing added stress on existing processes, technologies, and the people behind making businesses run smoothly every day.

Looking ahead, businesses need to place more emphasis on providing employees with the tools they need to thrive and be more efficient while also giving them the opportunity to spend less time wading through mundane, repetitive tasks that can stifle productivity. This means refocusing transformation efforts on creating better employee experiences, making technology more human-centric, and leaning on low-code tools to usher in the next wave of innovation. And while it's no easy task, here are four areas to keep in mind to help guide those technology decisions:

1. Give Employees the Same Experiences as Customers

Typically, when comparing an organization's internal and external apps, there's a massive disconnect. Internal apps tend to be lesser-than or are an attempted (but ineffective) repeat of external apps. Organizations are spending their resources on customer-facing applications, but not investing in internal apps. This can be detrimental to a brand, as they're creating different and conflicting experience variations — while customers are getting great in-app experiences, employees are wasting time-fighting internal applications and figuring out their functionality. Not to mention, all employees are also customers and know what a consumer-grade experience feels like.

Employee-facing applications should provide the same seamless, efficient experiences as their external ones. Quality internal applications result in increased efficiency and innovation and enable employees to spend their time on higher-level tasks that can positively impact customer experiences. Forward-thinking organizations must ensure user experience (UX) is consistently good across applications, creating a better total experience for customers and employees.

2. If It Isn't Broken, Reuse It

It's expensive and extremely labor intensive to build applications from scratch — essentially, reinventing the wheel each time there's a new business need. Unfortunately, that's the approach many organizations currently use. Collectively, organizations need to work toward building processes once and expanding those processes across applications and workflows.

Having a cohesive design system with the same patterns and components in the same place every time benefits users — both internal and external — with more consistent experiences. By implementing reusable templates every time you create a new application or workflow, you get one step closer to eliminating legacy debt and creating cost-efficient way to create new, user-friendly applications — all with the peace of mind of staying within your organization's guardrails. And when that debt starts disappearing, there's room for even more innovation.

3. You Can't Keep Up, and That's Okay

There will always be a new UX flavor of the week/month/year, and many times, organizations fight low code and instead want to build new applications themselves from the ground up. Unless, as an organization, you're able to assemble a giant team of specialized application developers and UX gurus, it's unrealistic to expect the creation of new apps and frameworks every time there's a new industry trend.

This approach will only result in even more legacy debt than you already have. It's time to instead embrace a standard low-code platform, which enables you to outsource a good portion of this work to the technology itself. You can create consistent and innovative applications without a full, dedicated team of developers, and more easily keep up with new trends and market demands. Without the hard coding that previously stifled the speed of adoption, the future of the UX will be much more flexible.

4. Technology Will Pave the Way to Be More Human-Centric

Work has become more complicated since the pandemic — we're distributed across different environments, and we can't continue to just keep building band-aids and bots for these challenges. We need humans to tackle the harder stuff while offloading the uncomplicated tasks. That's where automation comes in — it enables organizations to empower humans to be more effective and focus on important things, such as UX, designing better processes, and true transformation, without the risks that were previously presented with this innovation.

Additionally, if organizations can use data to help make people's jobs better, employees may lean into their data being used in the workplace. This is where we see technologies like task mining, process mining, and process AI come in to help make decisions based on that data to improve employees' experiences. Just as Amazon uses AI to adapt, seemingly on the fly, to massive occurrences of events occurring across its ecosystem, all enterprises can reap the rewards from these technologies that can see deep across and inside their processes. Brands use AI to see where processes are sub-optimal or to tell employees starting a meaningless task that it's a waste of time. We're entering an era of truly understanding what people do and helping them work better.

Low-code can be an engine of innovation — creating new apps, processes, and experiences — both internally and externally, big or small. It gives more people the ability to try new things faster — as well as fail and move on faster — while broadening the scope of who can participate in the process. Low-code technology will help create even more innovation, deliver powerful re-use, and drive rapid adoption, and we'll start to see more organizations embrace it. By staying focused on the areas where you can provide value to the humans using your technology, you'll see big gains in the ways work gets accomplished and how new phases of innovation are ushered in.

Anthony Abdulla is Senior Director of Product Marketing at Pega
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