What is operational experience and how does it impact business operations?

As a business leader, you rely on technology, processes and information to make experiences for customers and employees as seamless and easy as possible. Yet,…

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Lindsay Sterrett

September 7, 20235 minutes read

Close up of professionals working on laptops with graphics overlayed to illustrate the connections that improve business operations.

As a business leader, you rely on technology, processes and information to make experiences for customers and employees as seamless and easy as possible. Yet, the very systems and content meant to accelerate business operations are making it tough to support hybrid work, outmaneuver the competition through business process automation and keep employees engaged. The culprit: digital friction.

Traditional work models simply cannot meet demands for smarter, frictionless experiences. As a result, organizations are pursuing digital initiatives motivated by two primary reasons: enhancing the customer experience (58 percent) and improving employee productivity (57 percent).[1]

However, to improve the customer experience and employee experience, organizations also need to reduce friction in business operations—bringing customer experience, employee experience and operational experience together as part of a total experience strategy.

Let’s look at the important role of operational experience, common culprits of digital friction and how to break down information barriers to drive improved business outcomes.

What is operational experience?

Operational experience focuses on eliminating digital friction in the processes that fuel the business, addressing operational business needs across finance, sales, marketing and other parts of the organization. By creating frictionless experiences for those roles and the processes they depend on, and by giving operational experience the same attention as customer experience and employee experience, organizations can reach operational excellence and improve business operations.

The reality is that productivity will suffer and employees won’t be able to deliver the best customer experiences unless companies address operational experience as part of total experience —and this realization is gaining speed. Gartner® predicts that by 2026, 60 percent of large enterprises will use total experience to transform their business models to achieve world-class customer and employee advocacy levels.[2]

What are common points of digital friction impacting business operations?

Digital friction results when individuals spend unnecessary time, effort and resources performing daily tasks or simply finding the information needed to get their work done. When the very technology and processes meant to improve business outcomes slows down employee productivity, engagement and retention also suffer, with workers who are satisfied with their workplace applications twice as inclined to stay and grow within the organization.[3]

A Gartner survey looked at the causes of digital friction and common barriers to technology-driven work, with tools and data near the top of the list. Difficulty finding and accessing data caused by too many work applications and tools doesn’t just frustrate users, but also results in significant time lost, with 59 percent of employees estimating more than 100 hours per year are wasted due to digital friction.[4]

Organizations need to look at digital friction and the technology and processes surrounding employees and assess through the lens of experience. Are your employees getting the same high-quality experiences you strive to deliver to your customers? Often, poor customer experiences result from poor employee experiences.

Why operational experience and why now?   

Customer experience and employee experience strategies have traditionally been pursued in siloes but are now coming together under the total experience umbrella. And, the total experience approach has broadened, bringing attention to what’s needed to support employees within various roles to uplift business operations.

Organizations would agree there is no customer experience without employee experience. Yet, friction within operational experience can impact both customer experience and employee experience, hurting employee productivity and business performance. By using experience as a lens to assess technology and processes, organizations can address customer and employee journeys simultaneously, deploying flexible solutions to support operational roles.

Organizations can start by focusing on operations and departments that struggle with digital friction, with Gartner suggesting an initial investment in business process reengineering, process automation and user experience, and using composable principles to identify the right solution and its integration points with customer experience and employee experience.[5]

How to deliver smarter operational experiences

Critical content is everywhere, sitting at the heart of processes within an organization and externally across the ecosystem of customers, partners and suppliers. Business operations depend on lead applications like SAP® and Salesforce®, and employees live in tools like Microsoft® and Google to collaborate across teams and departments.

Every process in those lead applications and collaboration in those tools involves content. When that information is not properly managed and remains siloed, the result is digital friction and process inefficiencies that impact everyone, including customers and employees. For example, friction within Finance and Procurement results in slow invoicing or missed payments. Poorly managed information within Sales and Services impacts sales and customer churn. And siloed content within Asset Operations leads to limited visibility in the field and project delays.

By combining customer experience, employee experience and operational experience into a total experience strategy and leaning on a composable platform, organizations can embed content into ERP, CRM, HR and ITSM-based processes that deliver information when and where needed to improve operational experience.  This enables the management and flow of previously siloed information to make relevant content available all throughout business processes.

Learn more about reducing digital friction and optimizing business operations.

[1] Gartner® 2021 Digital Business Acceleration Survey, Stephen Smith, Jorge Lopez, Tomas Nielsen, 11 October 2021
GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.   

[2] Gartner® webinar: The Total Experience Strategy for Better Retail Digital Interactions, Michelle Duerst, Don Scheibenreif, 2022

[3] Gartner® Digital Worker Experience Survey, Whit Andrews, 21 April 2021

[4] Gartner® Digital Friction Survey, CIO Research Team, 29 July 2020

[5] Gartner® Innovation Insight for Operational Experience, Tim Nelms, Jason Wong, 26 April 2022

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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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