Digital transformation is only as successful as the human experience delivered

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Machine learning, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, are quickly transcending from buzzwords to hard reality. As organisations invest millions into their IT estate, it can seem easy to forget the importance that humans play in the future of technology. After all, it’s still humans who decide whether technology is adding value to their lives, or becoming a hindrance.

The role technology plays across the sectors can directly impact an organisation’s bottom line and it is playing a more prominent role across the board. Digital touchpoints are increasingly becoming the core point of customer contact, and a subpar delivery on this front can have a very negative impact on repeat custom and company profits. After all, it’s always going to remain the case that poor customer experience is never good for business. 

Organisations who don’t succeed in digital transformation are at risk of damaging their growth. Research from Forrester supports this claim, as they found 30 percent of companies will see a decline in digital experience quality this year, ultimately losing a point in growth. Whilst IDC has projected that $2.1 trillion will be spent on digital transformation by 2021, it has also been found that more than 70 percent of organisations embracing digital transformation journeys are hitting significant roadblocks, struggling with the shift from being digital players to digital transformers or even disruptors. 

However, done right, there are great opportunities for companies embarking on digital transformation journeys and a positive delivery of digital and user experience can result in significant financial benefits. 

Businesses can take comfort from the fact that new digital experience management tools being installed as part of a typical digital transformation journey can enable measuring and monitoring capabilities across the entire user experience. And next-generation infrastructure is delivering the agility needed to maximise digital performance.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Image Credit: Shutterstock (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Importance of performance

Performance is and will continue to be the primary indicator of success for the development and implementation of new technology in any business. A recent Riverbed survey of 1,000 global business decision makers revealed that 99% agree optimising digital performance is essential to optimising business performance.   

However, in a modern digital environment, traditional performance metrics such as chip speeds and data transfer rates are secondary to the insight, analytics and data itself. Providing IT teams with real-time metrics is of paramount importance. Network speeds, app and digital services performance, unusual user behaviour, issues with a recent OS upgrade or any other possible issue that could impact performance need to be continually monitored. This is critical to ensuring businesses can maintain the level of service that users have come to expect and demand.  

The ability to monitor every aspect of the digital experience and measure performance on a day-to-day basis, whilst analysing and proactively tackling any issues whilst they’re in their infancy, is what will allow organisations to disrupt industries and transform legacy business models. This approach allows business’ a window into the humans behind their digital transformation journey. In sectors such as retail and finance, the employees are often far too busy to fill in complaint reports around the poor performance of technology - especially if these systems are struggling to keep up with demand. IT teams need the power of proactivity behind them to truly bring digital performance to those who need the help most and these systems allow visibility into any issues, without the employee needing to take time out to report them.  

Organisations with the right vision and technology have the opportunity to take the user and human experience to the next level. This is especially true when business leaders are asked to rethink technology investments and strategies. Research from McKinsey & Company found that early adopters and fast followers of digital business capabilities saw twice as much growth over three years, as those companies that played it safe. Supporting this, the non-profit firm the Design Management Institute found that stock prices for companies that invested in user experience outperformed their peers by 219% between 2004 and 2014.

Innovate the impossible

As exciting as the digital revolution currently seems, we are only at the beginning. The newly evolved ability to identify network and end-user issues and quickly implement fixes, combined with the latest machine learning capabilities, has the potential to evolve into self-healing networks in the future.

Across all sectors, from shipping to retail and finance, we’re seeing how digital performance investments are providing a real financial return. Companies are rethinking possible, and activating business functions that would have previously taken months, in just a matter of weeks. As customer demands evolve, so too does the way that businesses need to operate, and technology cannot be an inhibiting factor in this process.  

The importance of digitalisation is already established. However, amongst the lure of AI, ML and IoT, businesses cannot lose sight of the most important piece of the puzzle: Humans.  

Ultimately, providing a happy human experience will always be good for business.

Paul Mountford, CEO of Riverbed Technology

Paul Mountford

Paul Mountford is the CEO of Pure Storage and is responsible for Sales, Marketing, Channels, Alliances, and Customer Experience. Paul brings 30 years of experience in innovative leadership and global achievement in the technology sector. Before joining Pure, Paul was CEO at Riverbed Technology where he modernized the organization, rebuilt its financial model, and managed the transition to subscription and SaaS.