Delivering and enabling business value is a large part of IT’s job. As such, the CIO must track how value flows, not only within IT, but across the organization.
It may sound easier than it actually is. Because value is tricky. For one thing, it’s not always well-defined. And it often gets lost in day-to-day operations as the business evolves. This often leaves end users wondering what happened to the value that they were expecting.
One of the first tasks of new CIOs is to determine what’s driving value, what’s not, and how improved value can be delivered to all stakeholders. But how can you do that? Where do you start?
In order to answer that question, we need to stop talking only about value. Instead, we need to include talking about the experiences of the customer, the user, and the employee.
As defined by Hubspot, customer experience is “the impression your customers have of your brand as a whole throughout all aspects of the buyer’s journey.” The customer experience factors into a customer’s view of your brand and it can impact the bottom line. A strong customer experience can increase customer retention, which will reduce marketing and advertising costs. And loyal customers often spend more than new ones as one study found that if a business increases customer retention by 5%, profits can increase by up to 95%. Additionally, according to a survey by Info Quest CRM, a totally satisfied customer contributes 2.6 times more revenue than a somewhat satisfied customer.
The user experience is very similar to customer experience but it is directly related to the product, application or service. User experience refers to the journey a user takes when they interface with a system whether that is an application, a digital service, a website or a product. In today’s digital world, user experience matters. 88% of consumers are unlikely to return to a site after a bad experience and a recent study found that a well-designed user interface could increase conversion rates by 200%.
According to Gallup, the employee experience is the journey an employee takes with your organization and is made up of all the interactions that employees have during their tenure at the organization. The employee experience matters because research shows that companies with actively engaged employees outperform competitors by 147% in earnings per share and happy employees are up to 20% more productive at work. Improving the employee experience can earn your company money.
The experience matters
Each of these experiences contributes to the overall value that stakeholders derive from an organization and all of these experiences directly impact the bottom line. If an experience is bad, there is no realized value from that experience. Therefore each of these experiences is very important to CIOs because better experiences means better value.
Luckily, there is a tried and true approach for enabling more value through creating better experiences. It starts with mapping the current experiences.
Whether you are mapping customer journeys or employee journeys, every mapping exercise will include the same steps. My recommendation is to choose one experience to map and improve before addressing the others. You’ll be able to use the lessons learned from mapping that one experience as guidance when mapping each of the other two. Also, you can iterate faster when only focused on one experience at a time.
1. Include all stakeholders
This is the first and most important step you can take when mapping experiences — get all stakeholders involved. These stakeholders will want to work with you if they understand how improving experiences will benefit them, so communicate those potential wins. For example, if you chose to map the employee experience, you can explain to HR that mapping and improving this experience can improve the onboarding experience, decrease employee turnover, and increase employee engagement — thus helping HR to hit their departmental objectives.
2. Map the value streams
How is value flowing through these experiences? For example, how does a user realize value from first touch with your website through purchase? What are the steps and who is responsible for each? Mapping the value streams that enable experiences will identify where responsibilities lie, what parts of the organization are involved, and where there may be gaps or bottlenecks.
3. Audit workflows
Once you have the team on the same page, review and audit the processes that underpin the value streams that underpin an experience. What’s going on under the hood of that experience? Approach these audits with an open minded curiosity, and don’t be afraid to ask why a workflow is designed the way it is. Let your team know that this is a discovery and learning exercise, not a blame exercise, and that you are simply building a clear picture of how work is being completed. Workflows, no matter how well they were designed, have a tendency to ‘drift’ over time.
4. Embed continual improvement
Where is the experience falling short or encountering friction?
This is the most critical question a CIO must be able to answer when it comes to experience. And it’s a question that the answer is continually changing, due to continual changes in marketplaces, stakeholders, technology, and more. This is why embedding continual improvement within the experience is so important.
New CIOs have a big opportunity to establish a mindset of continual improvement right from the start. Regularly survey end-users regarding improvement suggestions and feedback. Develop and maintain a continual improvement log for capturing, prioritizing, and publicizing improvement suggestions. Establish a regular cadence for designing and implementing improvements. Market the successes and lessons learned from continual improvement. Why? Because continually improving the experience continually improves value realization.
Applying the above four steps will provide great insight into each of the three experiences that are driving value within your organization. Even though the focus of each experience is different, the process of mapping these experiences is the same because they all revolve around people, processes, and technology, and how well each of these factors are working with the others.
What has been your experience with mapping experiences? I’d enjoy hearing about your discoveries and successes with experience mapping.Share