Small wins, Big gains - Eliminating digital friction

October 24, 2022

Pete Summers

Small wins, Big gains - Eliminating digital friction image

Digital friction – the unnecessary effort exerted by employees when using technology for work – silently erodes employee productivity and adversely impacts the employee experience. But for many IT departments, eliminating digital friction is seen as just one part of a wider digital transformation (DX) strategy. This means that tackling friction is often lumped into wider DX projects like migrating on-premises applications to the cloud or rolling out new software company-wide.

The problem with this is that often these major digital initiatives are costly and time-consuming – global spending on the digital transformation by businesses is forecast by IDC to reach $1.8 trillion in 2022 alone. Therefore, organizations may come to regard tackling digital friction as an expensive and difficult process that’s associated with large scale projects.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. The small wins can count for just as much. By tackling the day-to-day points of digital friction outside of “big” projects, your organization can make incremental changes that add up to large cumulative gains in efficiency and productivity.

The everyday points of friction

Digital friction often affects everyday processes where unseen technology blockers and inefficiencies impact how workers interact with systems. There are a multitude of possible fail points that can detract from productivity, ranging from non-performant software to using older versions of applications that lack functionality. Even just the time employees lose on app switching is greater than you might expect.

Another area where friction often arises is in complex workflows. Employees may be navigating workflows in different ways, many of which will be less than optimal. Every workflow that doesn’t follow the optimal route represents a loss of productivity. When this is scaled across multiple employees in different teams and locations, it can equate to hundreds or thousands of inefficient transactions and many work hours.
These everyday points of friction often go unseen by IT, which is why in order to effectively combat digital friction, companies need to be able to accurately assess which applications are used in the execution of a process, and in which order. IT leaders need a real-time understanding of employee’s interactions with technology, and how this impacts their ability to be productive.

Small steps towards big rewards

User journey mapping is the best way to assess what the digital journey and experience looks like for workers “on the ground.” It involves mapping the sequence of steps and the granular software analytics associated with an employee’s digital interactions; the software being used, the time spent on each application, etc., to complete a specific task/process. These metrics can reveal numerous friction-points, from lack of access to applications to poor functionality in core systems. Once organizations have identified poorly designed process and workflows through user journey mapping, they can then use this information to streamline their processes.

This is where Scalable Software’s workplace analytics platform, Acumen, enables companies to map out the digital journey for every workflow in detail. Acumen’s unique second-by second analysis capabilities reveal how each user completes their tasks and processes, by analyzing their interactions with different software. When businesses can understand the digital journey of employees at this level of detail, they can make changes that optimize the experience, improve productivity and take cost out of the business.

In future blogs, we’ll be looking at user journey mapping and digital friction in more detail. For now, visit our platform page to learn more.