• July 15, 2016

Experience: The Missing Link in Technology Strategy

This post is written by Scott Cassin, Chief Technologist and Strategist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise for the Asia­Pacific and Japan area. Click here to learn how HPE can help you go further, faster, through accelerating transformation and driving innovation in your organization.

In the past, often technology deployments have been focused purely on meeting hardline organizational objectives with equally cut and dried products. But an emerging paradigm is starting to sweep the global technology sector in which the experience that stakeholders have of technology itself is starting to play a strong role in its own right. When we think about the benefits that a technology deployment can bring to an organization, we tend to fall back on the traditional frameworks that we’re accustomed to.

For technologists, it’s usually all about the speeds and feeds. They see an issue — perhaps an application needs more server resources, or a network needs more capacity — and they set about building a business case to resolve this technical issue. Line of business executives have different drivers and priorities, but ultimately they too have their own standard way of thinking. They see a business issue or opportunity, and set about thinking about how technology can help them resolve that issue or open up a new line of revenue. There’s nothing wrong with this traditional framework when we think specifically about the implementation of technology projects: It’s logical, and it’s the way that the global technology sector has evolved and grown into such a critical part of the entire economy. These concepts will always form a key part of the discussion.

However, in 2016, it’s also becoming crucial that we add another element into the discussion: The concept of how we ‘experience’ technology. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that today’s generation of workers places a high premium on how they interact with all kinds of technology products and systems. We’ve all heard the stories of staff who prefer to use a certain type of desktop PC or smartphone, and who will switch workplaces to ensure they can continue their established work habits based on these specific technologies. This is one example of the concept of ‘experience’ in action.

“When we think about the benefits that a technology deployment can bring to an organization, we tend to fall back on the traditional frameworks that we’re accustomed to … However, in 2016, it’s also becoming crucial that we add another element into the discussion: The concept of how we ‘experience’ technology.”

But the concept goes much further, and has implications across all areas where technology plays a role in delivering personal, corporate or public outcomes. Over the past several years, for example, virtually every major bank globally has realized that their customers are increasingly demanding that they be able to access banking services wherever they are, through whatever platform they wish, and in a manner that they prefer. So now, in 2016, those same banks are in a constant cycle of technology development to ensure those customers get precisely what they want. The ‘experience’ that customers have with their bank very much drives that bank’s strategy and relationship with their customers. And discussion of which bank’s mobile app gives you a better experience is a constant topic of conversation at the dinner table — or in the bar. Fees and charges levied by a bank are suddenly less important than the experience they provide through its app — whether it allows ‘tap to pay’ and how easy it is to access your balance.

That same desire for a good experience with technology is also felt inside organizations. The same banks, and other enterprises, who are trying to please their external customers with good technology are also opening up their working environments and trying to keep their staff on­side, attract the best from the market, and develop a modern and contemporary culture. They’re allowing staff to bring their own devices in to work, getting rid of cumbersome phones on desks and replacing them with the latest smartphones, setting up flexible hot­ desking with the latest laptops and tablets, and bringing in user interface and user experience experts to customize internal applications to make them easy and intuitive to use.

In 2006, employees at major organizations like banks expected to be allocated a specific and dedicated workspace (a desk), a terminal, a phone on their desk, perhaps with some stationery thrown in: Just the basics. But today’s employees expect so much more – and it’s all focused around providing a productive, healthy, enjoyable — even cool — work environment and tools that are primarily enabled through technology. It’s easy to say that these are cosmetic enhancements that are only layered on top of core business practices – the icing on the cake. But to take that attitude would be to ignore the fact that every company exists in a competitive marketplace. Every iota of advantage is valuable – and anything companies can to do to bind customers and staff to them even more so. Then too, a focus on this kind of technological ‘experience’ also has the potential to open up new lines of business for organizations.

Airlines that have best in class digital interactions with their customers, for instance, may find it easy to sell value ­add products such as travel insurance, accommodation or car rental to them at the point where they buy plane tickets – because the customer is already extremely comfortable at the point where that transaction takes place and open to making further transactions. A government department which makes registering a business a simple, online process may also find it easy to connect that same entrepreneur with taxation and industrial relations processes in the same session. And, of course, the converse is also true. Organizations that struggle to provide their stakeholders with good experiences through technology will lose them. For example; Telecommunications companies will struggle to contain customer churn, let alone selling customers bundled services, while governments which have archaic internal IT systems will struggle to retain staff to use them.

None of this will occur because the core services provided by these organizations are poor: Usually they’re not. It will occur because the experience which stakeholders have with the technology being provided by those organizations is sub­optimal, compared to what they could get elsewhere. It’s just not what they prefer in their daily lives. The good news is that Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has a great deal of experience in working with all kinds of organizations in these kinds of complex scenarios. Just as organizations develop a deep maturity and knowledge of their stakeholders over time, HPE has developed a sophisticated knowledge of how positive experiences can be generated to meet stakeholder requirements of our own customers, drawing on skills and technology from each of our Transformation Areas – including all our software, hardware or services.

1-3One example of where we’ve leveraged the concept of ‘experience’ was in the deployment of Wi­Fi at Levi’s Stadium for the Super Bowl 50. The unprecedented amount of connectivity this provided attendees — at one point, nearly 29 percent of the fans were logged on simultaneously — created a whole new experience for those attending, allowing them to share their memories of the game and access data about the match. In another example, we worked with NASCAR to gather real­time social media data to create the NASCAR Fan & Media Engagement Center. The facility allows NASCAR to instantly see relevant tweets, texts and hashtags that provide insight into how its 75 million fans are feeling at every point of a race. And our technology also underlies some of the latest apps. The Wrappup app, a productivity tool that employs smart voice recording to let people in a meeting capture important information. Wrappup is like an ESPN highlight reel for business meetings, and it uses HPE’s Haven OnDemand platform for enabling search, concept extraction and sentiment analysis.

As you can see from these examples, we can bring our experiences to bear in a true partnership, where collaboration between people can come together with empowering technology and transformative ideas to accelerate change, and deliver high value outcomes. We understand the complex environment your organization is working within – in terms of both your external and internal stakeholders – and will be there with you as you meet that challenge. And along the way, we’ll make sure that all sides of the equation will walk away with an outstanding experience.

Click here for examples of how HPE has helped organizations undertake digital transformation journeys in order to create the best experiences for all of their stakeholders, and here for more thoughts about the customer experience. And, of course, please get in touch any time to talk about the next steps in accelerating change.