Impacting Front-Line Experience in the New Era of Digital Transformation

Arjun Narayan

The last two years of Digital Transformation have been unlike any other in the past twenty years. Since the dot com boom there has not been so much pressure on companies to change their business models to focus heavily on virtual and customer experiences, and to transform the employee experience. The impact on “frontline teams”, where employees meet the customer, mediated by technology – has been profound.

Frontline teams are employees who have a direct and daily influence on customers and represent our business and brand to the outer world. They often communicate with each other and are the first points of interaction between the customer and the company. In pre-pandemic times, most of this interaction was face to face and somewhat easy to manually manage, as teams collaborated seamlessly at their workplace.

However, this is more challenging in the pandemic era where the workforce has gone remote, and businesses are under pressure to deliver superior customer experience with minimal visibility on employee-employee and employee-customer interactions.

EX Drives CX

Today, our employee experiences (EX) and customer experiences (CX) are tied together, stronger than ever. Gaps in the process of measuring frontline teams’ interaction with customers create uncertainty from a customer success perspective, eventually risking a brand’s reputation.

Managers and key decision makers leading digital transformation at the frontline face a specific problem – setting targets without understanding how their teams get work done, or where their pain points lie. They rely on guesswork, experience, and incomplete data to decide what investments will help their teams. Consequently, they underestimate employees’ productivity or poorly allocate resources and investments in technology such as automation.

Employees on the other hand are increasingly siloed – working remotely, with extremely low levels of engagement with their manager, colleagues, and the customer. Technology could possibly help find answers to this problem.

Process Mining and beyond...

An existing method of ‘Process Mining’ has been a useful technique in tracking business processes and variations for teams that rely heavily on ERP/CRM and other large enterprise workflow applications. Process Mining has been used in discovering, monitoring, and improving finance, supply chain, HR and sales operations processes.

The strength of Process Mining is also its limitation. Process Mining extracts knowledge from event logs to generate insights on business processes. However, the Process Mining approach is limited only to documented interactions (in ERP/CRM Systems) within enterprises. These ERP/CRM interactions comprise only a fraction of the time that frontline teams spend at work, meaning that Process Mining is effectively unaware of most of the time spent on a frontline employee’s work. A lack of accurate, in-depth, and live documentation of work leaves a huge scope for improving EX and CX.

Frontline managers are also finding this new world hard. We recently wrote a paper in the Harvard Business Review, where we share information from a research study involving 14 teams comprising 283 employees in four Fortune 500 companies. When managers were asked about their teams’ work, on average they either did not know or could not remember 60% of the work their teams do.

Work graph - Delivering Value at Scale

Our solution to this challenge is to define a new platform paradigm for understanding EX and CX – #workgraph. Think of the work graph as an extremely detailed real-time “map” of how your digital workers interact with applications and documents to serve digital customers. It is an in-depth map of your digital work where you can zoom into the smallest interaction or zoom out to an end-to-end landscape of enterprise-wide interactions.

At a leading European F500 company, we found a repetitive pattern of work that helped frontline teams understand 70%+ of the time spent on digital work. From this insight, teams could consistently find 30-60% savings in effort for employees, and 30%+ improvement in turnaround time for the CX. The customer used generated work graphs to create targeted value capture programs across automation, process standardization, user training and reducing/ eliminating “shadow IT” at scale. Without a work-graph like “map”, they would not have found these opportunities – at this scale and confidence, so quickly.

Embrace The Future

At NASSCOM, we talked boldly about the future. In the above case, technology offers us a vision of the future that is both familiar and comforting. Just like maps and other tools offer us the visibility, confidence and convenience of navigating the physical world to find better alternatives, the work graph offers opportunities for us to navigate the digital world experienced by our teams and customers and finds opportunities to enhance them. Embrace the future with the #workgraph – is both refreshingly new to explore, as well as comfortably familiar to understand.