Thursday, April 30, 2015

Digital Master Tuning #80: Does UX Fit in Strategy Team or Creativity Team

UX works best if it is part of the company's culture as a whole.

Being customer-centricity becomes the mantra for the forward-thinking digital organization to out beat competitors. But how do you equip with the set of new digital minds to incorporate UX at both strategic and design level to present great business value, improve the bottom line and build company brand cohesively? Does UX more fit in strategy team or creativity team?

UX is all about putting practice led thinking into strategy. Think about how important is contextual research and prototyping in helping you think strategically. Putting yourselves inside the silos will disassemble your approach, weakening your effectiveness, both at the strategic and creative levels. UX is related to strategy and it should be integrated into business decisions to truly deliver value. The best practices can be deployed to persuade stakeholders and executives to incorporate UX inputs at an earlier stage. So despite how UX team is structured in real life, the best practice is to have it connected to a strategy or business unit. It can directly belong to that unit or at least have a dotted line there.

UX works best if it is part of the company's culture as a whole. UX is a disruptive force in business culture and is at odds with traditional models of organization that break projects into stages in a production pipeline. It should be a more cross-disciplinary team that work to develop a product or service over its lifespan. In that model, UX would play an equally important role throughout the life of the project. If it must be one or the other, then UX is part of the strategy team. That way the strategy and findings during discovery phases can be applied to not only the creative but possibly other customer touch points in the business. Delivering great experiences starts with research and strategic insights, with the findings and ideas flowing through conception, design, development, production and quality assurance.

It really depends on how UX is framed within your organization. For some, UX is closer to commerce and strategy in the process, in others it is closer to creative and design. It's all about board-level buy-in. Where can your UX activities gain most support and ultimately revenues? This means that UX professionals, either need to exist and practice within those multiple business areas, or be centralized (internally or externally), and able to interface with those areas on an equal footing. UX needs to live and be free to work with any group at any time. Either put in creative group or strategy team, it needs to work very collaboratively cross-functional border. But based on UX best practice, it'd be great UX has its own organization, has a clear way to measure its business impact, and consequently can better serve the business by integrating the superb experience into the core business model.

UX is an integral part of the success of a business, especially for business models centered around influencing customer behavior. One of the major problems that businesses are facing right now is this outdated need to put everything in its proper silo. Almost no one, in any field, in any capacity can be as productive, innovative and effective as possible if they are limited by definitions of what their particular slot is which inevitably leads to definitions of what they are supposed to think about or not think about and so forth. In today's business world, that kind of limitation can be fatal.

It is important to remember that UX is practiced in many different guises and that fitness for the function is ultimately important. To incorporate UX inside an organization successfully, you have to work on different levels, management has to understand the value to become supportive, the project teams need to understand, to be able to work effectively together, cross-functional collaboration is the key for UX to bring value for their organizations.


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