There is no secret that Bosses were replaced by Leaders some time ago. To run a successful business all must work for one, and one for all. Yes, exactly like the musketeers. The art and science of leadership can be a tough task, and not everyone is built to do that. When life changes the requirement for the role modifies too. Our work lives are changing massively. As we are adapting to a hybrid and work from home model Leaders and Managers need to gain new skills and learn new secrets. So, let’s see what great leadership looks like in the new, post-Covid era.
People Come First
Great performance is more than ever based on empowering your people. Leadership is the ability to create an atmosphere where the individual feels valuated, trusted and important. Providing support and understanding of others’ wellbeing allows employees to thrive and reach their highest potential. Do you know why Mark Aslett of Mercury Systems became the best CEO? He took care of his employees by funding $1 million for covid relief. This not only made everyone happy but also resulted in a 22% increase in his company’s revenue.
During the pandemic we got used to our freedom and independent time/work management. Leaders must adapt to the new normal and consider employees needs and wants more than ever before.
The times of the unknown taught us a great lesson – nothing ever stays the same. The only way of survival is an adaptation to constantly changing circumstances. CEOs must realise that years of experience and trained thinking are losing their power. It is time to open up for new ideas, perceptions and innovations. It is time to speak to your people and truly listen to what they have to say and offer. Today all the power hides in strong cooperation, teamwork and unbiased decision making.
Also, agility is about finding the compromise that works for everyone. Today, leaders work for employees and not all the way around. If they are capable to create the best circumstance for a worker to do their best job- the desired success is just around the corner. For example, if the designer is at his creative peak at 8 pm – modify and adapt to his work schedule in order to receive the best ideas.
Connect To Diverse Teams
The pandemic has enabled us to work independently, when and where it works best for us. That created hybrid working within organisations. New task for the manager –to connect everyone from everywhere. Time to integrate new tools, new approaches that would enable all the departments to share information and cooperate efficiently. Leaders have turned on their creativity in order to mimic physical workplaces, stay in tune with their team and stay in control of supporting everyone’s needs and wants.
The new post-covid era requires new and innovative leadership. It is crucial more than ever to your people first and starts working for them. Empathy, agility, and support are key attributes that will create loyalty, efficient cooperation and determine overall business success. Think differently, be open to new tools and technologies and listen carefully to your employees. It’s the new secret of the leadership of the new era.
The most successful businesses are the ones where employees feel united and comfortable in their workplace. One way to achieve it is to create and keep transparency at work at all times. It creates the image of an organisation that makes an effort to spread the information freely and creates a safe and trusting environment.
When employees feel like they are a part of something bigger, it encourages them to share their ideas and receive feedback more openly. With the help of transparency, individuals can continuously improve and develop their strengths while being more open to collaborating and enhancing their performance. The same advantages apply to the organisation itself.
Here are 3 ways how to integrate transparency at work:
1. Hire People Who Prioritise Transparency
In order to create a transparent workplace, first things first, we need to select the right people. What is the best way to promote it if not invite people to do that for you? And is not that hard, either. According to Atlassian, over 87% of the professionals are looking for transparency while looking for a job. Employers could do that by mentioning the value of transparency in the job description and even asking in the interview process to find out how the person feels about it. These simple and straightforward steps will filter out the right candidates that would help to create a safe workplace atmosphere.
2. Be Honest
What is the best way to make another person feel comfortable and open around you? The answer is very simple – be one yourself. Honesty and open communication create trust and establish closer connections. That can enhance creativity and innovation, the dynamic share of ideas and thought, and finally, establish a healthy workplace atmosphere. So, what is the right tactic to do this? Create and run the team’s stand-up where everyone has a chance to present their work, achievements and concerns freely. This practice will establish greater openness in the office.
3. Choose The Right Tools
Today, our performance highly depends on technology. But it can transform our whole business only if it is used correctly and users are well-trained to make the most of it. The average employee wastes approximately 20% of their time just by looking for the right information internally. That is supposed to be easily accessible, right? It is crucial to integrate a tool that organises and supports the flow of information and makes it accessible to everyone within the organisation. Platform, where employees can leave feedback, comments, reviews and advice, can also improve overall communication and problem-solving process. So, to enable good performance, accessibility is a key component.
As past years have revolutionised the way we work, the only way to survive is to adapt. Meaning that companies need to become open, transparent, and caring for their employees as never before. It’s the beginning of a new era, where employers work for their employees and not all the way around.
If you and your company are losing out on growth prospects while your customers are going to your competitors, chances are that you may be committing some or all of these bad Experience Level Agreement (XLA) practices.In a conversation with Unisys Digital Workplace Deep Dive, Bright Horse Co-Founder and Chief Experience Officer Neil Keating listed down 4 XLA bad practices that may adversely impact your end-users’ experience.
Here are the 4 XLA Bad Practices That Prevent Great End-User Experience:
Uncontrolled IT Service Management Structure
Business owners are often excited about experience management because they’re really interested in the topic. They want to learn the art and science behind it. They wish to know how they can improve their employees’ or customers’ experience of IT services. Such enthusiasm is great to have. However, you’ve got to get the basic building blocks in place. You must make sure you are level three control against the Capability Maturity Model. If you don’t do that, you’re building your foundations on sand.
Unexpected Behavioural Issues With Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
If you already have a proper ITSM structure in place and are in complete control of it, the next major bad practice that you may be committing would be to install SLAs or KPIs (key performance indicators) that may have caused unexpected behavioral issues that could compromise your company’s productivity level.
For instance, while running a problem-solving service desk, setting a 15-minute time limit on your employees to solve a customer’s problem, may be one such KPI. What is the objective of setting your service desk? Do you want the customer to have a quick response time? Or would you be rather fine with them waiting a few minutes longer with a higher chance of their tickets being resolved?
Depending On ITSM Tools For Experience Management:
Without a doubt, there are some very good tools that can help you collect and secure digital experience data through models such as sentiment surveys. However, there is no tool in the world that will solve your entire problem of experience management. What the tools can do is provide you data and provide you information and point you in the right direction and tell you where experience may be a problem. It can’t resolve the experience for you.
Ask two fundamental questions: What is the tool telling you? And what are we going to do about that? Tools cannot be the complete answer, you have to have process changes, you have to have cultural changes around that to make sure that you’re getting the right data from the tool, and you’re responding to the right patterns within the tool.
Underestimating The Experience Management Office (XMO)
A company needs to show that the Experience Management Office is at a senior level for it to be taken seriously. If the experience management office is too low down on organization, it will just become a data repository. You need to raise the XMO up and out from the operations.
Often, it’s completely separate from the Service Management Office. It has to be a separate department within it that is focused on measuring and managing experience in order to achieve the objectives. Organisations need to have someone senior in the XMO that can corral other departments and say ‘we have identified some issues and we need to work together with you to solve those issues.
Let me tell you a story based on true events. The girl named Jess – short for Jessica – was only an undergraduate student when she started working. At first, she was going from place to place looking for a job that she would feel comfortable and engaged with. During those years she had an opportunity to work with two different retailers where she has gained very different experiences. Good Company vs Bad Company. Let’s start with the one that made her smile.
Good Company: Validates Employee Experience
This workplace required a lot of communicational skills, deep and detailed knowledge about the products, and good, positive energy. Every sales employee there had to be an expert in the field. Jess found it very quick to adapt and eagerly achieve the best results. There was a clear reason for it – the company cared about its employees more than anything. In other words, it gave all the possible tools and efforts to enable their employees to do their job in the best way possible. Let me tell you more about them.
Education and Knowledge
To reach the desired results, which were generating sales and reaching the company’s targets, every team member had to be an expert in the field. They had to know all there is to know about the product in order to sell it efficiently. At first, Jess felt overwhelmed about all the information that she had to take in, but all her worries went away after she was introduced to their education program. They created an online learning platform where all the employees studied about the company and were examined. It was a mandatory process that was carried during working hours and did not take any of their personal time. Actually, it was a great way to keep yourself busy when it was needed! Well done for great enabling of information and managing free time at work.
Motivation and Rewards
Organization demonstrated their dedication and care for their employees with their generosity. For every sale that Jess made she got a percentage of commission on top of her base salary. Who does not want to get paid for personal efforts? This has created a highly motived team of individuals that were eager to do their best job every single day. Also, let’s admit, a healthy level of competition hasn’t harmed anyone.
Successfully passing the probation period also was awarded generously. The company valued people who decided to stay and dedicated their spirit to their business, so they needed to show it. After three months of training and learning, Jess was given a generous check that she could use on their products. Also, the points that she collected in their education program became redeemable as vouchers for any chosen store. The feeling of validation and evaluation made her a loyal part of the team. She was naturally inspired to care for this organization as it was her own. Isn’t everything in life about ‘Give’ and ‘Take’?
Positive Culture and Healthy Management
Although providing good tools and awarding for efforts is highly important, one of the biggest factors for great employee performance is the culture in the workplace. Jess was instantly welcomed into the team as it was a family. She felt safe and taken care of. On the days when her personal life seemed harsh, colleagues and managers showed compassion and care. Besides the emotional support and friendly faces, each and every worker was pushed to express themselves and be their unique self. The Organization implemented it with the understanding that the greatest thing comes from within, and a person could only do their best when personal attributes are embraced. It has created an atmosphere where every day at work is exciting, safe, and friendly – like meeting your closest friends.
All these factors not only made employees happy but also reflected in amazing organization’s results, revenue, and brand that everyone loves. The company was investing in people and that came back to them with a boomerang of a huge success. The leaving day was very sad for Jess. She knew that this is what she will be looking for in her next workplace.
Unfortunately, the following experience was quite the opposite.
Bad Company: Doesn’t Pay Much Attention To Employee Experience
Poor leadership and bullying at the workplace
Although her responsibilities were pretty much the same – the outcomes and results ended up being contrary. The first red flag that Jess faced was her manager trash-talking about the previous employees. Instantly she felt the risk of being emotionally judged. In fact, her intuition was right. After some time had passed (not long) she started receiving negative comments from her boss that were rather personal and mocking. Most importantly there wasn’t even directed to her job but her own self. Jess felt that she was being bullied. Each day was like a challenge just to show up at work. But she respected her job ethics and decided to not give up.
Lack of Tools, Support, and Trust
At this job, Jess was also required to take in a lot of information that was crucial for efficient and high-quality service. It is natural in the process of learning to make some mistakes (that is also a part of the process) and it is essential for employers to manage them with patience, help, and support. Instead of that, Jess received blame, anger, and even more pressure. Her work quality was as low as her self-esteem. Jess felt as if she was not trusted to do her job with her boss ‘breathing down her neck’ at every step and that really didn’t help with her performance. The Constant pressure escalated into stress, after-work tears and even depression. From the side of the organization- very poor achievements, financial struggle and enormous turnover rate.
To conclude with, Jess’s story demonstrates how much employee experience is valuable and essential for the overall company’s success and when it is overlooked – failure. When you provide your workers with the right tools, adapt motivational concepts, and create a safe and friendly environment, they feel entitled to care and elevate your business. When you fail to do that – they see you as an enemy and a source of unhappiness and distress. That results in poor performance and achievements.
The lesson for companies: People are an investment and not a resource. Organizations grow when their employees do it first.😊
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Customer experience and experience management are among the most important topics in business today. So, what is experience management and where is the future of customer experience going?
“There is a disconnect between what companies feel that they are delivering in the form of experience and what consumers actually feel like they are receiving,” says Alicia Tillman, the Global Chief Marketing Officer at SAP said in an interview with CXOTalk.
“It creates an incredible marketing opportunity for companies to really think about how do they solve the experience gap and how do they ultimately win in this experience economy that we are operating in right now,” she adds.
What is experience management all about?
Experience management is about getting closer to the target customers by understanding how they feel what their expectations are.
Once you have understood this, the next step is to build a business model that responds to their feedback or use it to anticipate how you may or may need to reshape your operations.
The brand’s promise is another aspect of experience management. What is the commitment that you’re making to the customer? How do you fulfill that promise?
These days, consumers do not buy products, they buy experiences. They wish to be a part of communities and have a sense of belonging. You may associate yourself with the company not because they have the best product, but for what that brand stands for and what it allows you to become part of.
Finally, all of these aspects need to work together. If the culture of your brand is effective, relevant, understood by the consumers, and works hand in hand with your ability to understand the customer’s needs, that’s when you enter the business of delivering exceptional customer experiences.
Why is it important to address customer experience management?
According to Tillman, the gap created due to the lack of understanding of experience management has led to a £35 billion addressable market.
“If we think about the money that it takes to build a brand and to deliver an experience with a customer, and the amount of money that you’re losing when you turn customers as a result of a poor customer experience, the addressable market size is incredible,” she says.
Imagine if you knew that an employee was so unhappy with you that was out looking for a new role. Alternatively, what if you could understand that feedback more frequently so that you could prevent mistakes from happening again?
Addressing experience management will create the very basis of an intelligent enterprise that will stand victorious in today’s experience economy.
Why is it difficult to create a great customer experience?
Imagine you are a businesswoman who travels to Spain regularly for work. Every time you are in Spain, you choose to live in the same hotel because you are familiar with it, it is convenient for you, and you have had a great stay whenever you have checked in there.
However, during your latest trip to this hotel, you are met with a serious case of bedbugs that completely changed your image of this hotel. The next time you are in Spain, you may wish to check into a different hotel because of two major reasons:
The image of the hotel that you have formed in your mind after the unpleasant experience;
The abundance of options available for you to choose from. There are other hotels in Spain that may fit your expectations a lot better now.
Even though the first hotel provided great service in the past, this one bad experience may make you pick an alternative in the future.
Often, a consumer judges a brand based on every single experience they have had with them. They don’t look at their experience over a period of a year in order to decide whether or not they will continue to use that one company’s services.
Even one poor experience can ruin the image of the company, even if they had provided a dozen great experiences before. That one poor experience may be good enough for the customer to move to another competitive brand very quickly.
How can companies become better at customer experience management?
Companies need to be in sync with the feelings of their customers with each and every experience that they have with them.
These days, technology provided by brands like SAP’s Qualtrics allows companies to get access to specific data which enables them to understand their consumers’ feelings. This helps these companies with activities like anticipating their precise needs.
For instance, the Spanish hotel you loved so much may be using such data to anticipate your likes and dislikes. So, when you arrive at your hotel, your room may be personalised to your liking. From the pillow size you prefer to whether you like your window blinds open or closed when you enter the room, the data can give immense insight into such details.
These are the things that make or break an experience for your customer. And if the brands could understand that, they can have the ability to shape that experience in advance. It could have you coming back time and time again.
Conversely, if the hotel doesn’t invest in understanding their customers’ feelings, while their competitors surely are, that’s when they lose the race.
Key Learnings On Experience Management
Learn the needs and desires of your customers upfront;
Measure the effectiveness of the experience that you’re providing every single time;
Invest in technology to understand your customers’ feelings;
Use the insight to shape that experience in advance;
Finally, develop the operations of your brand overall to meet and anticipate the needs of your customers.
Experience Management is a massive issue for most companies and the inability to understand it takes away their opportunity to tap into a £35 billion market across sectors. If you wish to master Experience Management, you can sign-up for a session with Bright Horse, today. Limited seats are available.
Are you experiencing issues with your ITSM tool? Whether it’s poorly configured due to a lack of requirements definition or workflow design, no self-service capability, incorrectly labelled fields… the chances are you are not able to deliver a great experience. Rather than effective automation, you end up with massive inefficiencies and a host of manual workarounds – in order for support to attempt to get the job done.
When the support teams are unable to effectively manage and view their workload, tickets, queues, and escalations, it makes efficiencies impossible. Most agents, team leaders and the manager will spend hours in labour intensive, manual administrative tasks. They’d try to figure out what the support ‘landscape’ looks like with the inability to measure what it ‘feels’ like to the customers.
Individuals may work very hard to deliver great service for customers and users as they call on support. However, their ability to process support tickets may be sorely impacted by the workflow design (or lack thereof), before even getting to resolve the issues at hand.
People waste hours manually exporting data in spreadsheets before being imported into a presentation format for further editing. Hours and hours of management time are spent creating these reports which have lagging data. The value of this information to the business is lost in time.
So alongside great people and a well-defined process, whether you have the right tool or not is a key question. What makes the tool right? There are lots to choose from in the ITSM space. Whether you are scaling from start-up to enterprise-class there is a product and pricing structure to suit. It is important to decide what you want the tool to do, map how it should do it, then map those requirements to the tools’ abilities. Many come out of the box with ITIL-based process flows embedded in them.
But NONE of them come ready to service your individual organisation! ITIL gives you the what – you need to determine the how. Treat this as a core stream of an improvement project. You will get the efficiency gains and benefits of automation.
However, what if all of this is still the wrong approach?
At Bright Horse, we are advocates of challenging traditional ways of thinking. We have partnered with thought leaders like Nexthink and Citrus Collab to demonstrate how IT needs to change from being a reactive support function to a proactive service enabling productivity.
ITIL was often felt to be too cumbersome, too vague, and too bureaucratic to be adopted with any level of success, and nobody likes additional admin! The thing with ITIL4 is that it has addressed the issue of relevance in today’s ever-changing world and now seeks to address the issues of digital transformation.
What’s IT service management all about?
Many of the projects we have worked on historically are medium to large corporates with complex, legacy IT systems and services. If the goal was always to better align IT with meeting business objectives, that has now been eclipsed more and more by IT becoming the business. However, if we revisit the premise of IT service management, it is about organisation, culture, leadership, people, process, and technology in alignment, whatever the size, environment, or objectives.
The thing is, this is now not only relevant to medium and large-sized organisations – but to the smaller start-ups where tech is THE business. Whether it’s the whole business organisation or a large IT function the principles still apply.
How has ITIL4 improved?
If everyone has focused on delivering Customer Value when defining how products and services will be designed, built, and implemented, with control over implementation, delivery, and support, then the desired outcomes can be delivered by focusing on the Service Value Stream. ITIL4 has aligned to Agile methods for product and DevOps for better integration between development and technical operations. Combine this with traditional delivery and support processes and you have a much more robust set of integrated practices.
The familiar incident, request, problem management appear, however, end-to-end change management in ITIL4 is being scaled back to an appropriate level of change control which will be more appealing. All of this is exciting and promises to help organisations align – but surely the ultimate goal is to meet business objectives and whether financial or growth based – that can only be achieved through delivering great service.
Your customers will tell you how you are performing, and if you need to scale up or get control, it is key to understand the components of your services and how they are delivered to achieve business value. Perhaps 2020 and the start of a new decade is the time to review how you are performing and to understand where you are on the Service Maturity journey.
How can we help?
We welcomed over 100 prospects and clients in 4 locations around the UK this year at our special SLA To XLA events. Our mission is to help IT professionals better understand the concept of service and how that impacts the customer experience. If you missed this year’s events, it is our intention to run these events into the new year so lookout for the upcoming announcements on location and dates.
Here’s wishing you season’s greetings and a very prosperous New Year!
The concept of Experience Level Agreements or XLAs is gaining traction and there is a growing interest in the subject. We also want to continue to add value to our clients. Therefore, we’re keen to help you understand what it means and how it can be effectively implemented in your organisation to ensure satisfied employees and increased productivity in 2021.
Understand Service Level Agreements (SLAs) Before Experience Level Agreements (XLAs)
In order to get to XLAs, one first needs to understand what Service Level Agreements or SLAs are. According to the latest version of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library or ITIL4, an SLA is:
“A documented agreement between a service provider and a customer that identifies both services required and the expected level of service.”
What this means is that an SLA is a contractual understanding between the IT service provider and the customer about what the two parties can expect out of a particular service. As suggested by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, there are three basic parameters to create an SLA which are basically a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), a means to measure the success or failure of these KPIs, and the possible penalties that might come into play if the contractual SLA is violated by either of the two sides.
Even though these three parameters seem to be good enough to give the assumption of creating a logical contract between the service provider and the customer, in reality, the ‘Watermelon Effect’ takes place between the two sides. This leads to unhappy customers and eventually loss of business to the competition.
In most SLAs, the reports of the service appear green (like the outer skin of the watermelon). Even then, the customer remains red (like the inside of the watermelon) – dissatisfied and angry because the so-called green reports did not help him or his business achieve the goal he had initially expected to while paying for the service.
Therefore, the two major problems with SLAs are: they are very IT service-oriented (ticket response times, recovery times, availability), however, they don’t share much information on how nicely or poorly they performed for the user. Also, most of the metrics used to measure the SLAs are often done at a low level which doesn’t ensure a high-quality experience for the user.
As the IT Service Management (ITSM) industry becomes more and more user-centric, simply working on the Quality of Service (QoS) would have to be supplemented with Quality of Experience. In other words, a QoE-driven SLA can be referred to as an Experience Level Agreement (XLA).
Therefore, while talking about XLAs in line with SLAs, they can be defined as a special variety of SLA specifically altered to set up a common understanding about the kind of quality levels the customers will experience while using the services. It is important that this understanding is written in clear terms for both sides to relate correctly.
How Do XLAs Work?
As mentioned before, XLAs needed to be written clearly in a contractual form, which means experience levels are needed to be measured before categorising them for the customers to choose from. This could be done using the various aspects of the customers’ expectations. For instance, the outcomes or benefits they wish for while using the service.
Such an assessment would allow the users to choose which level of experience quality would they wish to avail themselves of while buying a service. Such segregation would also impact the various prices, and deals that the service providers would have to offer.
Why Focus On Experience Level Agreements (XLAs) in 2021?
In today’s highly competitive market of service providers, when a customer reaches out to use a service, they expect that the service will be operated with utmost reliability and for an affordable price. Therefore, from the perspective of the service providers, two parameters have reached their competitive saturation:
Customers can rest assured that they will receive the best service the providers can give.
The price for the service will remain similar across the market, regardless of which provides the customer chooses to go ahead with.
In order to get ahead of such a highly saturated market, the providers who
Such a lack of experience for the customer results in a market gap for IT service providers. They can get a competitive advantage in the industry and increase their customer loyalty, reputation and revenue by offering their customers a certain level of experience based on the contract the provider and the customer sign. These are Experience Level Agreements (XLAs).
XLAs are therefore ideal for conveying the kind of expectations a customer can look forward to while using the services of the provider on the basis of employee experience.
XLA Failures That Can Harm End-User Experience
According to Bright Horse Co-Founder and Chief Experience Officer Neil Keating, there are four bad XLA practices that can be counter-productive.
Uncontrolled IT Service Management Structure: When a company wishes to hop into XLAs while their basic ITSM structure isn’t stable.
Wrong KPIs: When the company focuses on the incorrect KPIs to measure an employee’s success or failure. For example, enforcing a 15-minute time limit on a service desk agent to resolve a user’s problem. Instead, allow him the time to solve the problem thoroughly and without any rush.
Depending Too Much On ITSM Tools: While ITSM tools are helpful in determining where the problem lies, they will not be able to solve everything. See what the tools have to say and then analyse what you are doing to do about the tool’s diagnosis.
Ignoring The Experience Management Office (XMO): A company needs to show that the Experience Management Office is at a senior level for it to be taken seriously. If the experience management office is too low down on organization, it will just become a data repository.
Learn More About Experience Level Agreements (XLAs) With Bright Horse
Our partners, Nexthink have demonstrated how their tool takes the users’ perspective in, rather than the IT perspective outwards. They combine hard metrics with user sentiment. This is a huge step for many IT functions, moving from a reactive position to a more proactive stance.
User sentiment is hard to capture. Service is consumed at the point of the experience, it’s about how you make someone feel. Another huge part of delivering service effectively is to actively manage expectations.
If you feel you need to explore we would be delighted to help you on your service journey. We call it From Service To Experience, and you can still book to attend. If you can’t make this one but are interested in future dates and locations then please do let us know at email@example.com.
Does your current service model and technology allow you to effectively measure end user experience (UX) in real-time, from the employee’s perspective? The focus tends to be on issues reported to the service desk, but how many are never reported? What if degraded performance has become the norm? The perception of IT is also degraded. If your users don’t bother to complain anymore, you are not winning the service journey.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, it would have been faster horses”
– Henry Ford
This famous quote symbolises service delivery keeping IT in reactive, fire-fighting mode, versus taking steps to improve user experience in a proactive way, that better aligns IT to the business. It requires a different way of thinking. After all “the thinking that got you to where you are now, won’t get you to where you need to be.”
What Is User Experience?
User Experience can be defined as the technology that goes beyond fulfilling its instrumental needs put forward by humans. It is subjective in nature which consists of complex and dynamic encounters of human-computer interaction (HCI). There are three major components of UX:
The consequence of a user’s internal state (expectations, motivation, mood, etc).
The characteristics of the design system of technology.
The context within which the interaction between humans and computers takes place.
Ever since the beginning of the 21st century, UX became the talk of the town, especially in the IT sector. It was the phenomenon that played an important role in how humans interacted with computers. As technology grew more sophisticated, the human-computer interaction became more intricate, complex, and imperative.
What is The Importance Of User Experience In 2021?
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic across the world, there has been a sudden change in the way people interact with technology. In the year 2021, human beings have started spending more time online. Their behaviour on the internet has also undergone a major overhaul. Experts believe that these changes in Human-Computer Interactions will become the basis for the progress of UX for years to come.
According to UXMagazine, there are seven elements of UX that companies will need to focus on, in order to gain a plausible advantage over their competitors in 2021:
Voice Interfaces: As chatbots and virtual assistants continue to grow in popularity, the requirement for a voice interface will become a basic necessity for mobile apps, websites, and other tools.
Simplistic User Interface: Gone are the days of big and jazzy fonts and complicated instructions. Users need their job done quickly and in a well-organised manner. They are willing to sacrifice looking at multiple pop-ups, notifications, and advertisements very happily. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that developers must curb their creativity in presenting new and important information.
Negative Space: Negative Space refers to the empty or blank areas across a webpage which is surrounded by certain objects. Over the years, the fondness for negative space has grown significantly. Check out the minimalistic homepage design for Google that has not only been pleasing to look at but also gets the work done.
Imperfect Elements And Asymmetry: Remember when your boss wanted every single panel, image, and font to look just perfect? Crisp edges, all the colours inside the borders and not a pixel of imperfection on your website? Experts believe that imperfect elements create a sense of relatability between the service provider and their customers.
Softer Elements: One of the biggest changes that UX monitors will see from 2021 onwards is the use of “softer-looking” elements. These include buttons that are more round than box-like. The edges are curved rather than sharp and the overall look and feel on the page looks more pale and soothing to the eyes rather than being absolutely contrast in colours. This is also known as Neumorphism.
3D Elements And Animation: The era of 2D pictures and video may be at its twilight and User Experience designers are moving towards making things visible in a three-dimensional space. The animation or the way in which on-page move upon interaction, is also getting a lot of attention. However, you will also have to be careful about how much animation to use as it can delay the loading time, which can, in turn, spoil the UX even more.
Information Architecture: How you show the information on your website is as important as the information itself. The display, design and structure in which information flows throw a page determine the kind of attention with which potential customers may be interacting with your content, product and services.
What Is The Importance Of User Experience In The IT Sector?
In the IT sector, UX has become more important than ever. As an increasing number of companies move towards automation and cloud-based services in order to look after their businesses, it is ab absolute necessity for the software to look after the seven elements of UX mentioned above. These products must ensure that anticipate the users’ potential needs, wants, demands and even mood, in order to serve them more efficiently.
Many IT experts will talk about User Experience in one of the following terms: User-Centered Design, User Interface (UI) or Graphical User Interface (GUI), Usability, Human Factors & Ergonomics or Human-Computer Interaction. However, the fact remains that a good UX is not any one of these features but a unique and rather rare combination of all of them.
Take A Step Into The Future Of UX With Bright Horse
Information Technology cannot fire-fight their way to continual improvement, it requires a decision today to take the first step in a new direction. We continue to enjoy running half-day workshops across the UK, designed to explore the steps required to build towards pro-active service delivery that prioritises driving value around UX. At these events, we discuss how to shift from service level agreements (SLAs) to experience level agreements (XLAs) and improve their UX.
Our partner, Nexthink empowers organisations to gain full visibility into UX and where to improve. Their digital experience score provides IT with a single score out of 10 that comprises rich data and real user feedback to inform IT was to make pro-active changes that will boost employee IT experience and increase productivity and engagement. Find out how Bright Horse and Nexthink can help you enhance your User Experience.
The discussions our workshops foster, coupled with attendee feedback, show that organisations are at varying stages of this transformation and that it requires a cultural step-change in thinking – Nexthinking you could say!
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Bright Horse recently hosted an event for customers interested in the concept of a Universal Service Desk – providing more than just an IT service. This was in contrast to many service desks, founded on ITIL4 or ITIL4-like principles which, largely, ignore or forget that the original intention of ITIL was to professionalise IT, for the benefit of activities relating to people working in ‘the business’.
Business people tend to have issues relating to information. Such business people tend not to have any interest in IT or raising ‘incidents’, beyond making certain they can SnapTube, YouChat, and find out what’s up (or down) or call someone when they can’t get something to work as it should; such as access to information.
Go back a step, before the service desk – business people would have the ability to walk to a specific location in their office (or call them on a dedicated phone line) and ask for something. This ‘request’ was ‘processed’ and depending on the request, the requestor was often handed the item (maybe not a desk) and they made off with their new acquisition and got on with their daily work. This location was the home of the Facilities Management (FM) component of the organisation.
The need to improve FM functions was to replace it/them with a service desk. Except of course where FM activities were clearly still needed, as they still are, and now the ITSM providers offer tools to accommodate. In the FM world IT took a different route; FMIS services and service desks were being built and used.
Unexpectedly however, they took no notice of ITIL.
Or IT, except where its use as an enabler was obvious for example, automated business activities along the lines of old ‘front office/back office’ ‘request/fulfilment’ principles. Which ironically is the basis of the ITIL service desk concept but what is of interest now, is that those ‘old timers’ that provide FM services that range from reconfiguring and furnishing entire offices down to issuing ID badges and everything in between, and the many, many IT service desks that are increasingly finding synergies and providers of technology that offer integration.
A number of those attending the Universal Service Desk event were either thinking about such integration, or in some cases were in the midst of carrying out integrations. It was recognised that the ‘infrastructure’ focus of ITIL is way too narrow and it is also very widely recognised that no one ‘outside’ the ITIL ecosystem either cares what is in the best practice or will even care to discover ‘what ITIL says about (for example) TOGAF, or PRINCE2’.
The issue really is that a Universal Service Desk needs to operate with best practices from many sources and that means employing highly trained professional staff, comfortable with IT but also comfortable with the concept that services are not all IT services.
Brian Johnson wrote this blog after speaking about Universal Service Desk during a Bright Horses event. He is also speaking at our next event on Thursday 25th October where the theme, ‘Service Improvement and ITIL: Too much focus on infrastructure, not enough focus on information’ will be discussed.
Brian Johnson has authored over 30 ITIL publications including the ITIL and the Information Lifecycle, available from IT Governance Press.