The digitization of the financial services industry has enabled better fraud protection, rapid transactions, and tailored customer experiences. While digital transformation benefits customers by making their engagements with services much easier, it can have an adverse effect if the company doesn’t pay as much attention to the digital employee experience (or DEX).
Think about it. We’ve all heard that refrain of customer service agents: “I’m sorry; my computer is slow today.” Frustrating. Indeed, the digital experience of customers is inextricable from the digital experience of employees.
It is therefore imperative to empower IT teams with visibility across the IT estate so they can proactively detect and address tech-related issues before they have an impact on business operations and customer interactions.
The digital employee experience, however, often is overlooked, causing significant frustration. In fact, a recent Compucom survey found that “half of employed Americans have been so frustrated with their workplace tech that they’ve switched jobs — or are actively applying.” Think of the impact of this on customers. If people are quitting that means fewer people to help with customers, amplifying customer frustration and the likelihood that they will take their business to the competition.
Also keep in mind that the employee experience often is very different from executives’ perception of DEX. Of executives and IT leaders surveyed in 2022, just 20% of surveyed executive leaders saw the need for major improvement in digital employee experience, yet 52% of employees believed that DEX is not only important but should be a top priority for management. This disconnect is somewhat understandable, however, as IT is highly focused on executives and typically has a team dedicated to executives, so their experience often is much better — with better equipment and more attention. Regardless, it’s important to level up DEX for all employees.
When employees struggle to connect to a network, face issues powering up devices, or lose access to applications, they not only become frustrated; many often take matters into their own hands or ignore issues altogether. That’s because these scenarios increase user frustration with IT because IT doesn’t have the visibility to fix their problems, prompting employees to give up and stop reporting other problems, creating a snowball effect. Accordingly, these IT issues don’t affect just individual employees. A seemingly minor inconvenience, especially one that’s not reported, can escalate into a more significant company-wide problem.
This lack of visibility occurs in what I call the “dark estate,” where IT teams grapple with the challenge of comprehending the broader IT landscape. In this hidden realm are costly inefficiencies, subpar employee experiences, shadow IT, software bloat, compliance concerns, and unresolved issues.
Yet, despite the value of gaining complete IT visibility, many organizations operate with known blind spots that can cost millions of dollars in operational expenses. Fortunately, real-time insights garnered from endpoint device data can eliminate these historical gaps in visibility, even as companies are moving toward cloud or hybrid environments.
Benefits of Compete IT Visibility
Issues such as poor performances across devices, networks, or applications often happen in the dark estate, which encompasses areas of a complex IT environment that are not visible to IT teams. This lack of visibility creates the perfect storm of costly inefficiencies, sub-par digital employee experience, and unresolved problems. Hybrid and remote work environments exacerbate the problem, often leaving employees to navigate issues themselves.
Greater visibility across their IT estate empowers IT teams to realize three main benefits:
1. Optimize Hardware to Prolong Its Life
Many firms traditionally follow a time-based approach to hardware management, refreshing devices every three years or so. Updating or replacing hardware too frequently, however, can add unnecessary expenses if the devices still have strong performance life left in them. IT can leverage endpoint data to conduct audits, prolonging the life of hardware that still has high-performance life left in it. Or they can use data to identify batteries that need replacement, even before the warranty expires.
Greater visibility of the IT estate enabled one New York City-based bank to discover that of a planned 7,000 laptops per year refresh cycle, only 600 actually needed replacing. Data insights gave the IT team greater awareness of usage patterns and machine stresses, allowing them to uncover this significant capital cost deferment opportunity.
2. Rationalize Software to Uncover Cost Saving Opportunities
In terms of software, data captured at the endpoint can reveal unused software licenses that add up to a hefty cost. What’s more, maintaining multiple versions of software also adds to support costs and can contribute to potential security risks for unpatched software.
By leveraging data insights to uncover unused licenses across the enterprise, financial services organizations have saved costs ranging from $60,000 to more than $4 million. IT visibility also empowers firms to avoid of license non-compliance fines.
3. Improve Overall IT Health through Proactive IT
Are systems lagging? Can users login without issue? When was the device last updated? It is also imperative to create a work environment that is as error-free as possible. For IT, making sure that devices function properly at the precise moments the employees need them is one thing; ensuring that employees have the confidence that their device works is another. Otherwise, an employee may put off a task or project until another day when their devices or applications are not acting up or rendered unreliable. Having their tech act up during a customer-facing interaction is not just bad for the employee; it is bad for the business. For example, think about traders on the floor when their device is acting up and they miss a trade—at what cost to the business? Large financial firms look for solutions to ensure proactive IT so as not to miss any trades.
Fortunately, endpoint data about device health and usage can generate insights that enable IT teams to adopt a proactive and pre-emptive approach to IT. With the rise of generative AI models, more data means better AI models finetuned to IT use cases to detect and prioritize issues before they disrupt the business or the end-user experience.
Gaining a Competitive Edge with Greater IT Visibility
With increased remote and hybrid work environments, IT teams must prioritize the digital employee experience by staying several steps ahead of brewing IT issues before they have a negative effect on the user. This commitment requires an “always-on” approach to IT support. In addition to data insights, automations and self-help remediations can facilitate proactive IT.
As financial institutions lean into digitalization, IT visibility is required not only to remain competitive but also to enhance DEX and, by extension, the customer experience. With visibility across an IT estate, organizations can leverage technology to shine a light on issues, enable proactive IT, accelerate digital transformations, and manage costs.
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Geoff Hixon, a seasoned IT professional with two decades of experience, is Vice President of Solutions Engineering at Lakeside Software, enabling organizations with large, complex IT environments to gain visibility across their entire digital estate. Geoff is driven by a passion for addressing complex challenges, and he has established himself as an authority in advising on end-user computing challenges. As a systems administrator at a large steel manufacturer,Geoff actively engaged in troubleshooting employee problems, supported significant third-party IT integrations, led a comprehensive IT infrastructure overhaul, and provided assistance with IT help desk support issues. Geoff joined Lakeside Software in 2010 and has since held various instrumental positions that have contributed significantly to driving workplace transformation initiatives for enterprises. As the Vice President of Solutions Engineering at Lakeside, Geoff exemplifies his commitment to maximizing IT capabilities. He leads a dynamic team focused on assisting clients in leveraging Lakeside's extensive data collection and cutting-edge tools to address critical IT challenges affecting employees, digital workplaces, and overall business outcomes. Geoff is widely recognized for his thought leadership and substantial contributions to the field. His insights and accomplishments have earned him accolades and mentions in prominent publications, including the European Business Review, Ciente, and Fast Mode.