The dark cloud of digital friction in business operations 

How unnecessary effort is eroding productivity—and what to do about it

Lindsay Sterrett profile picture
Lindsay Sterrett

July 2, 20244 minute read

When employees are in a groove, whether connecting with customers, closing the new big sales deal, onboarding a new employee or working to resolve a customer issues, asking them to stop mid-task or conversation would be counterproductive.  

Yet this happens day in and day out, throughout departments and across teams—the flow of work interrupted, hurting business operations. 

Employees are surrounded by technology designed to make the future of work easier and more collaborative, and still individuals find they don’t have the information needed to do their jobs, leading to unintentional, yet inevitable, stops and starts. The cause: digital friction. 

Let’s take a closer look at what’s causing digital friction, why it matters and what’s needed to break down technology barriers to improve business operations and outcomes.  

What is digital friction?

Digital friction occurs when employees must exert unnecessary effort with data or technology to get work done. Despite having technology at their fingertips, the tools often don’t fit how employees work, making it difficult to find and access data, adding frustrating steps and creating cumbersome, repetitive tasks. As a result, anticipated productivity gains are eroded, along with employee experiences and morale. 

And the problem is pervasive.  

Even with ongoing digital advances, Foundry Research reveals 95 percent of organizations are impacted by digital friction—a dark cloud hanging over companies of all sizes.1 The causes are typically linked to too many siloed applications and shortfalls tied to data quality, content management and integration with existing technology.  

Essentially, there’s a gap between what employees know (with the information at hand) and what they need to know—and with that chasm comes chaos and a long list of consequences.  

Why digital friction matters

When employees are forced to switch between apps to retrieve information and struggle with poor data access and quality, the business impacts are far reaching.

With digital friction, organizations experience the opposite of what digital transformation is aiming to achieve: efficiency goes down, costs go up and employee and customer satisfaction takes a hit. And that’s just the start. Foundry Research also found that intelligent decision-making falters, team collaboration slows, product quality suffers and resource allocation loses effectiveness.

To make the consequences more concrete, 82 percent of employees suffered delays or missed deadlines due to technology-related challenges. And 58 percent report losing business opportunities because they cannot access data in a timely manner—with competitors certainly more than happy to swoop in and take advantage.

So, how can organizations right the ship to make information easy to find, simplify daily tasks and empower employees to be more productive?

Help employees work smarter, not harder

To combat digital friction, organizations must eliminate the need for employees to switch between applications and repositories to get work done. By creating a single source of truth, companies reduce unnecessary effort to locate and use data and boost collaboration across finance, sales, marketing and other lines of business.

Organizations need an intelligent, composable content management platform tailored to the way teams want to work. By connecting people, content and processes, organizations bridge information siloes and calm content chaos, reducing digital friction in several ways:

  • Turn endless searching into seamless access: Deliver information when and where needed, allowing teams to work within their favorite lead applications, such as SAP, Salesforce, Microsoft, and Google Workspace. 
  • Turn frustration into innovation: Ensure teams, content, processes, and technology are connected to spark insight and optimize customer outcomes.  
  • Turn missed opportunities into maximum productivity: Leverage generative AI and conversational search to allow employees to quickly find and summarize documents, closing information gaps to meet deadlines and jump on business opportunities. 
  • Turn inefficiency into elevated experiences: Use smarter information and content services to create frictionless digital employee experiences, which in turn fuel more personalized customer experiences. 
  • Turn rigidity into agility and scale: Helping employees work smarter requires a platform that also supports the way your organization works, providing the flexibility to deploy off-cloud or in a cloud of your choice, whether a private cloud, a hyperscaler environment (Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure) or public cloud SaaS.  

Ready to get out from under the dark cloud of digital friction? Reimagine knowledge with frictionless experiences that optimize business operations and move your organization forward.  

Digital Friction Holds Back Today’s Businesses

Read the CIO white paper to learn about IT leaders can address digital friction challenges impacting operational efficiency.

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Lindsay Sterrett avatar image

Lindsay Sterrett

Lindsay Sterrett is Senior Director of Content Services Product Marketing. With more than 12 years of experience as a software marketing leader, Lindsay leads a global team responsible for the product marketing strategy for OpenText Content Cloud, including OpenText Extended ECM, Documentum and Core Content, capture solutions, and diverse industry and business applications. Her areas of expertise include B2B and B2C marketing strategy, demand generation, partnerships, in-app product experiences and customer lifecycle marketing. She is based in Southern California and holds a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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