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Digital transformation is here to stay, but businesses need to marry it to an understanding of total experience to ensure they deliver results across all touchpoints in their organisation

Paul Turley, director, enterprise sales, ServiceNow: ‘We enable organisations to have a single platform for digital transformation. The opportunity is there to drive down costs’

Everyone knows it is competitive out there: whether in search of buyers or staff, businesses today must work hard to not only win people over but also to keep them. In recent years, total experience (TX) has risen to the challenge. After all, satisfied employees will provide a better customer experience, which is likely to ensure the customer becomes a repeat customer.

But what is TX? Analyst firm Gartner defines it as a business strategy that creates superior experiences by bringing together four disciplines: employee experience (EX); customer experience (CX); user experience (UX); and multi experience (MX), right across the business.

Getting started on the TX journey can be tricky, however, with the temptation to focus on just one area, an ever-present one.

Paul Turley, director of enterprise sales at ServiceNow, said that rather than rushing headlong, creating a good total experience means fully understanding a business’s processes.

This starts with research across all areas. For example, customer experience can be quantified.

“I think the best place, for us, to start is putting yourself in your customers’ shoes. Asking things like, ‘What does the banks’ customer experience look like?’” he said.

What it is very much not about, however, is throwing the kitchen sink of technology at a perceived but not yet truly understood problem. Yes, technology has an obvious role to play, of course, but to zero in on it above all else it is to put the cart before the horse.

“It’s not about technology, it’s not about IT, it’s not about singularly cutting costs. It’s about the outcome,” said Turley.

In practical terms, then, what good TX is about is developing an understanding of business processes, both good and bad, and amending and finessing them based on the insights gleaned.

Turning to employee experience, Turley gave the example of how poorly designed systems are a waste of labour and, ultimately, money.

“If your employees are spending three to five hours a week doing low-value or no-value work, and you multiply that out across the organisation, well, the problem with that is obvious,” he said.

Worse still, situations like this can lead to loss of customers and staff.

“You need to start identifying those bottlenecks in the processes that drive customers and employees to consider another thing, be that another employer or another supplier. You see incremental gains in everything: in costs, in outcomes. You get better ESG [environmental, social and governance] rankings.”

More than skin deep

Designing a total experience organisation that makes the working or buying experience as seamless, user-friendly and as nice as possible, does require an investment of time and effort in technology, particularly because businesses today are forced to compete digitally, or risk being left behind.

Digital transformation is a positive, Turley said, but it should be a throughgoing process.

“I think what we’ve probably seen in the last number of years is that digital transformation is here, and it’s here to stay. We’re now in a continuous cycle of transformation. However, it has to be coupled with an agenda of simplification. There’s no point in adding more and more siloed systems,” he said.

ServiceNow does this through offering a unified platform that dramatically simplifies workflows, he said.

“We enable organisations to have a single platform for digital transformation. The opportunity is there to drive down costs,” he said.

True digital transformation should be about more than just replacing paper-based processes with digital processes: “Doing that actually drives a worse experience, if anything.”

Against that, new technologies and techniques such as artificial intelligence can be used to assist in building up an intuitive experience for your customers, Turley said.

“End-to-end digital workflow with an end user focus is what digital transformation should be,” he said.