Amazon, Venmo and Uber Eats: none of these iconic brands allow us to do anything we couldn’t do before. After all, I bought stuff on the internet, paid the babysitter, and ordered food delivery for years before any of those companies came around. These game changing businesses have offered something very new though: sophisticated consumer technology delivering really good user experience.
But when it comes to enterprise technology, somehow we seem keen on making the experience as complicated and inefficient as possible.
It’s time to change.
The new generation of workers don’t see it as a badge of honour to master unnecessarily complex processes and interfaces. Outside of work, they’re accustomed to booking a holiday, getting a car loan, and even making an offer on a house, all with a swipe of their finger on the smartphone.
So it’s no wonder they just won’t put up with work that’s full of friction. Challenges brought on by the pandemic – and the following so-called ‘Great Resignation’ – have underlined the need for digitisation. Yet for your average worker, the end-user tech experience hasn’t improved much in decades.
In the next couple of years, work is about to see a radical transformation, powered by artificial intelligence and packaged in much better user experiences. How will you make sure you won’t be left behind?
DIGITAL GOALS, ANALOGUE MINDSET
The uncomfortable truth is this: for many companies, digital transformation just hasn’t paid off. According to IDC, investment in digital transformation has now surpassed three trillion dollars around the world, but less than half of organisations have achieved the expected outcomes after implementation.
I find that companies want to transform for three reasons: speed (do what you do faster), efficiency (do what you do better) or business drivers (do what you didn’t do before). So, if they know what they want to achieve, why are so many failing to meet their goal?
Most business leaders aren’t digital natives. We weren’t born after the iPod; I was barely born after the cassette player! I spent my formative years in the analogue world, and so did many people who orchestrate digital transformation initiatives.
Maybe this is one of the reasons why we see so many digital transformation initiatives falter, because so many of us still think like before, trying to simply translate analogue processes without seeing the potential for true digital transformation. So let’s think about doing things differently – and actually use technology to its maximum potential in order to set and achieve digital transformation goals.
HUMANS AND MACHINES TOGETHER
For many years I have talked about two things that will impact the way we work: artificial intelligence inspecting the system that it runs on and the use of augmented intelligence to enable humans and machines to work together.
ServiceNow’s artificial intelligence can function as a recommendation engine to suggest ways the processes can be enhanced and systems can be optimised. The system works by effectively looking at multiple elements of data to allow users to see benchmarks against companies of similar size, or in similar industries. This allows users to understand how they compare to what they could achieve.
ServiceNow can make prescriptive recommendations as to what the user could do to boost efficiency and therefore optimise the value. And, since we get to understand how the customer instance behaves, it allows us to do predictive analysis of performance.
For me, this is what artificial intelligence is all about: the interface between machines and people. It should make people’s lives more interesting by removing the mundane. And it will help knowledge workers make more effective decisions by presenting the right information and insights.
It should make people’s lives more interesting by removing the mundane. And it will help knowledge workers make more effective decisions by presenting the right information and insights.
HAPPY EMPLOYEES, HAPPY CUSTOMERS
“Happy staff are proud staff,” Richard Branson once famously said, “and proud staff deliver excellent customer service, which drives business success.”
Using artificial intelligence goes a long way in freeing employees from drudgery and making them lead a more fulfilled work life. And companies should go a step further and remove all friction whenever possible.
Good user experience is down to hiding and simplifying complexity. When you use Google, Netflix, or Amazon, you get a very streamlined and easy experience. But in the background, there are some of the most complex algorithms in the world making the results look easy.
Pfizer, the American pharmaceutical conglomerate used to maintain multiple portals to store and share information with its multinational workforce. But in the fierce competition for talent today, workers’ user experiences matter more than ever. Even before their first day of employment, employees will judge their employer based on the onboarding experience.
So in order to provide a seamlessly integrated experience with access to curated content, improved functionality, and relevant intelligence, Pfizer implemented the ServiceNow HR Service Delivery Enterprise with Performance Analytics and Integration Hub, along with such platform products as Service Catalog, Portal and Knowledge Management. The resulting employee portal guides a worker’s journey from pre-hire through the first six months, making sure they are efficiently onboarded and set up for success.
If you’re like me, you’ll remember how you spent the first days – or even weeks – on the job, sorting out paperwork and running around from office to office. Today, Pfizer’s new hires access knowledge articles, workplace resources, online search functions, case management functions, and a digital assistant in one place, making them productive members of the company much sooner.
With three releases in 2021, Pfizer’s unified ServiceNow portal delivered instant results that you’ll read about in the following case study. To me, this is just another example of how digital tools can and should make work simply better.
PROACTIVE, NOT REACTIVE
Artificial intelligence can help organisations respond quicker and smarter to the ever-changing business landscape. But instead of merely being reactive, business leaders should use AI’s predictive power to anticipate needs and make well-informed strategies.
For me, it all comes back to experience. Whether it’s for your customers or employees, think about creating the most intuitive and delightful experience, powered by digital tools used to their full potential.
Now that’s true intelligence.