The benefits of human-centric data in agile DX testing


Actual Experience

In our recent blog post on the case for agile DX in a post-pandemic world we looked at how an agile approach is the best way to ensure digital transformation projects deliver on the three pillars of cost, speed and resilience within a rapidly changing environment. 

Then, in another post on how CIOs can get buy-in for their DX plans, we established that technical goals are only part of what makes a digital transformation project successful. The rest of the C-suite will be more concerned with strategic and human-centred goals and these therefore need to be addressed from the outset. 

Not only that, but businesses as a whole are needing to operate in a more agile fashion, with decision-making taking place more rapidly. Waiting for quarterly data around financials, sales and customer satisfaction simply isn’t going to cut it.

It is also vital to understand the impact that any changes are having on the people involved. The internal and external stakeholders - employees and customers. As a result, we need a way to measure and report on the human experience aspect of a digital transformation project.

Rapid insights using human experience

The agile approach relies on rapid feedback at every step of the process. This is no longer about “failing fast,” now it’s about learning fast. And that means having the right data, the right metrics, the right reporting. As the saying goes, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

Using closed loop control systems you can set a target, measure whether you’ve attained it and, if not, you can figure out what you need to make corrections.  

To truly understand customers, be they external or internal, there needs to be a simple measure of their satisfaction with a product or service. This should reflect the likelihood that an external customer will remain loyal and that an internal customer is suitably productive. Once we have such a measurement, we can actively take steps to improve that level of satisfaction. 

Non-IT departments will have insights into what people think of the business in the form of NPS, CSAT, CES data and so on. What they need to know is what impact the technology is having on these measures. These non-technical leaders will have critical insight as to what constitutes a successful change as part of a digital transformation. But they are unlikely to be able to express it in the technical terms that would be understood by an IT department.


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A new metric to support DX in a post-pandemic world

In essence, there is a fundamental disconnect between the business and technical domains. In order to bridge this gap we need a mechanism that:

  • Enables the executive team to express objectives in a format that is easily understood
  • Provides timely and regular feedback on benefits realisation
  • Supports the agile ‘learn fast’ process
  • Quantifies productivity, brand perception and how satisfied external and internal customers are
  • Provides transparency of risks and actions required to mitigate
  • Recognises the impact of change
  • Facilitates a meaningful interaction between IT and the business

And it is here that a consistent, simple measure of human experience becomes absolutely vital to the success of a digital transformation project.

The benefits of using a human experience score

In the context of digital transformation, human experience delivers value on many fronts: 

Goal setting The CIO wants to implement a digital customer services system. The CFO wants to save money. The CHRO wants to reduce employee churn. The CMO wants to increase market share. So it is likely they will all feel positive about creating a system that is easy for customer service operatives to use, that saves time and therefore money, and ensures the customer is happy and stays loyal to the brand. Human experience (both customer and employee) can be used to help define and track the goals and KPIs around this.

Reporting Agile relies on rapid feedback. It is relatively simple to report technical measures of success. SLAs, speed, jitter are not as useful as the actual experience of using a new service.  Human experience is what allows you to report on customer experience and employee productivity as a measure of success. As a result, beneficial progress can be measured throughout the transformation process, rather than just how the project is delivering on an operational level.

Adoption No matter how technically powerful a new system is, if people don’t have a positive experience of using it they are unlikely to adopt it in a way that maximises results. Measuring human experience at each iteration of an agile digital transformation project means you can adjust to improve on this as well as more technical outcomes, increasing the likelihood of positive adoption.

Communication From initial goal-setting to progress reporting to internal messaging and user adoption, human experience allows IT and the rest of business to communicate in common terms. This helps ease the change process because everyone understands what they’re aiming for and it ensures that benefits are understood at a user level rather than being a top down directive.

Decision-making Where choices have to be made about balancing investment for short and longer term changes, human experience can provide clarity. It can do this by providing a simple measure of where the greatest effect will be felt and therefore where the most value can be added with any investment.

Risk All of the above comes together to make the digital transformation process more transparent and effective, reducing risk and reassuring all departments of the value of the project.

Ensuring digital transformation delivers differentiation

In short, using a human experience score ensures that, not only are the IT team happy, but internal and external customers are too. 

In a post-pandemic world, where the scope and scale of change is unprecedented, complexity has increased, budgets have shrunk and business leaders have less capacity for risk, digital transformation is itself transforming. 

Businesses are having to be more agile in everything they do, IT projects need to serve business-wide needs and, crucially, people need to be the central focus for all improvements. Within this context, the need for a human experience score is obvious.

Technical data is still vital. But measuring and reporting on human experience will add a layer of insight that sets businesses who value and use it apart from their competitors. In this way, they will achieve the differentiation that is the driver of so many digital transformation projects in the first place.

Download our building agility at scale white paper and find out how human experience can help improve decision making.