As we assist our clients in navigating their Digital Transformation opportunities and challenges, we see trends that will continue to impact how digital products are approached as part of transformation projects in the year ahead. The trends range from the new levels of consumer expectations that customers are developing to various ways enterprises utilize digital products to retain employees and increase efficiencies. Here are three of the major trends that could significantly impact your business in 2019.
Providing Consumer Grade Experiences through Customer Experience Innovation
Not long ago, any application that had an exclusively internal audience, such as industrial device management software or sales enablement tools, was typically considered excluded from having to provide a good user experience. After all, the user base was limited and could be trained on the software. This doesn’t hold true any longer. Today software is increasingly migrating onto mobile devices, especially in the IoT space, where the mobility and connectivity of smart phones provide tremendous value. These are the same devices that users leverage in their day-to-day lives to check Instagram, call a Lyft, and do their shopping. Consequently, consumers are now expecting that any digital product they interact with is as sophisticated and easy to use as those leading applications. Any application that is unable to provide a seamless and consistent user experience will quickly be disregarded. Similarly, providing a beautiful and engaging user interface is part of the expectation as well.
With a standard expectation of a consumer grade echelon, digital products need to provide best-in-class UX and UI to be accepted by today’s users. Investing into leading edge UX and UI for your internal and external customers is not just a consideration for the next consumer startup anymore. It’s table stakes in order to ensure adoption and acceptance by any user base.
As the number of digital products under the umbrella of a single organization grows, portfolio strategy becomes a critical skill set for business leaders, product owners, and product managers. Viewing all digital products, including web applications, mobile apps and other business tools, as an instrumental portfolio to the company’s success, individual product owners are empowered to lead their product beyond the primary level. They are able to further encompass the product’s vision at the executive level as part of the larger portfolio strategy.
In order to apply a portfolio strategy, a company needs to first reorganize around digital products, not software projects. For the most mature organizations, this is taken a step further where they build platform, not just products. Once this structure is established, a portfolio strategy allows a company to organize their products into segments by their lifecycle, ultimately permitting appropriate investment structuring. This ensures a more consistent long-term commitment to best practices in product planning, design, technical architecture, and avoids vacillating between projects without the larger strategy and business drivers in mind.
Improving operational agility
2018 has been another record year for low unemployment, and in 2019 low unemployment and high turnover rates will further magnify the importance of talent retention. In order to differentiate themselves from other employers, organizations use digital products to specifically target the employee experience (EX). Instead of broad-based culture efforts, new digital tools afforded through digital transformation efforts are enabling a new level of employee engagement and experience company-wide or within an specific area.
As corporate campuses keep growing and available meeting rooms become harder to book and travel to, employees are expecting a new level of experience on their employer’s campus. Employee specific mobile applications can help them navigate across campus to their next meeting, notify them when the line in the cafeteria is the shortest, and let them book a conference room on the go in a few seconds.
Data from campus mobile applications in turn provides facilities management with invaluable business intelligence into how their campus is being used. By realigning and optimizing team locations and conference rooms, travel time is reduced and a more efficient employee base is created.
It also affects how employees want to do their job. Slogging through mounds of excel spreadsheets to get your job done is no one’s idea of a good time anymore. New generations of custom digital products combined with powerful data warehousing and analytics platforms can make employees jobs easier and more enjoyable, leading to increased job satisfaction, employee retention and productivity increases.
These are some of the biggest trends we see affecting Digital Transformation initiatives in 2019. Do you know of other ones? Please share them in the comments!