Thursday, August 20, 2020

User Experience as a Strategy

User Experience informs or influences a company's core strategy. That is a critical aspect of the business future and a significantly underutilized competitive advantage. 

We live in an era of people centricity. With unprecedented convenience brought by emerging digital technology and abundant information, customers today are more informative and selective. You have to put the customer at the heart of everything that you do as a business 

In fact, customer delight is one of the strategic goals all forward-thinking businesses are pursuing now. User Experience informs or influences a company's core strategy. That is a critical aspect of the business future and a significantly underutilized competitive advantage. Here are a few aspects of User Experience as a strategy.

Organization Design, Strategy, and Transformation:
With fierce competition and rapid change, User Experience (UX) becomes a key element of digital strategy. "Strategy," in general, is about predicting the future, “keeping the end in mind,” and doing things in informed, disciplined, collaborative, and systematic ways. UX is practiced in many different guises and that fitness for business agility is ultimately important. To incorporate UX inside an organization successfully, you have to work on different levels, management has to understand its value to become supportive. For some, UX is closer to commerce in the process, in others, it is closer to design. Senior management must participate and provide strong sponsorship. Otherwise, the User Experience team will end up spinning wheels without going anywhere.

Organizations across the vertical sectors are on the journey of digital transformation, User Experience strategy shouldn’t sit in its own little box, but really needs to connect into and become the fabric for how an organization thinks, breathes and acts. No one will question its existence and it will become a natural part of the strategy in customer-centric organizations. Putting UX management inside the silos will disassemble your approach, weakening its effectiveness, both at the strategic and creative levels. UX needs to be the “wow” factor of running a customer-centric organization.

User Experience makes the strategic impact, and identify the key elements that distinguish its work from "tactical level, tactical impact":
The strategic objective of UX is to understand what your customers need from the standpoint of rigorous user understanding and to help the business orient itself towards those needs in pursuit of its strategic objectives. You're not thinking of the "UX" only as wireframes and visual designs. You're thinking about the business brand, positioning, and environment, not just its tactical impact. UX is related to strategy and it should be integrated into strategic communication and business decision processes to make a significant impact and truly deliver value.

The information has to be shared and a good UX solution should make better use of resources, talent, and time. Eventually, UX will have a clear position in every organization, not just identifying a direction that met in the middle of all those constraints, but rather figuring out which constraint or context are actually mattered most in terms of potential impact to the business, defection from customers, or fast-moving market change, etc.

The positive and negative impact of corporate culture in UX Strategy: User Experience needs to be part of the culture as it’s so much about how an organization behaves, and not just what it delivers. There must be continuity and everyone must own it. And there are positive and negative impacts of culture in UX strategy. It’s important to inspire the culture of people centricity, get a complex set of stakeholders to agree on UX strategy in order to move forward, commit resources, put projects on specific roadmaps, etc, and deliver products or services tailoring the need of users.

In practice, many businesses try to change "culture," become more "customer-centric" without building a solid foundation to empower people and the business to provide great customer experiences. UX is about culture, and culture is not about people - It IS people. It’s critical to recognize customer champions and invite customers into business conversations and collect their feedback (what specific elements make a really enjoyable/ great experience for them). With customer-centricity well embedded into the corporate culture, businesses can reach the next level of organizational maturity.

Measuring UX strategic impact: Building a customer-centric organization requires consistently digging deeper and having both strategic and tactical level UX/CX metrics in place that keep a pulse on the inner workings of the business. More specifically, how do you measure success in UX management? The balance must take place between what the customer values (mostly intangible) and what executives need to see as an outcome (P&L). This is what the Key Performance Indicator driver is supposed to measure.

The challenge for performance measurement of UX is that they sometimes need a number of measures around the same issue to gain a complete picture, set metrics, and measure performance. With reliable performance data, the management can guide the team to understand the results, fix the root causes of the problem, and ensure the strategic goals are on the right track to get implemented and communicated effectively at the different levels of the business.

Digital is the age of customers. Customer Experience is vital for business growth, development and to make sure you stay in business in the long run. Building customer-centricity consistently in a way that delivers the right experiences to the right customers at the right times is, in most companies, enormously complicated, but worth the effort, and it’s a strategic thing.


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