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Start your DPA journey by analyzing workforce productivity

Start your DPA journey by analyzing workforce productivity

Nolan Greene, Log in to subscribe to the Blog

It’s time to get a fresh start on your digital process automation (DPA) journey. Your organization has long had ambitious goals around digital process automation, but obstacles have slowed you down. Technical debt, legacy systems, and stakeholder resistance are among the likely reasons your digital efforts haven’t gotten off the ground. But have you considered the experience of your workers on the ground? Those workers who plug away on the desktop to ensure optimal customer experiences and outcomes – they are a critical yet overlooked piece of the digital transformation puzzle.

How do desktop workers really spend their time?

Understanding the working piece of your desktop workers’ days is often an overlooked step in the continuous improvement journey. Without this, it is impossible to effectively target digital process automation projects. Are processes and applications designed in a way for workers to work efficiently and with few frustrations? It is critical to understand this so that your organization can optimize workers’ productive time, leading to the best possible customer and employee experiences. In our recent study, “Demystifying the desktop,” Pega analyzed Workforce Intelligence data to learn about the hidden obstacles on the desktop that may be holding up digital transformation.

What did we learn?

A lot of work is managed in unstructured applications

Email, spreadsheets, word processing – these are familiar tools that most workers are comfortable using. Perhaps they are too comfortable! These unstructured applications are great for their intended purposes: ad-hoc communications, calculations, and document production. However, for high-volume, outcome-oriented work with many moving parts, there are better applications for standardizing and streamlining processes.

You can only manage what gets measured, and structured applications provide the data and audit trail needed to understand how works gets done. Moreover, compared to structured applications, unstructured applications are time-consuming to use and have a 50% higher input error rate.

Enter the email vortex

Email is quite possibly the most ubiquitous unstructured application for most workers, used for everything from customer communications to scheduling to project management and beyond. This comfort and frequency of use leads to a descent into what we refer to as “the email vortex” – a never-ending cycle of reading and replying that monopolizes work time. But for all that enterprise dependence on email, only 34% of the time that workers spend in email is actually going toward productive work. Furthermore, work in email applications is performed at a 22% greater error rate. Ask yourself: Are your employees using email just to stay busy or are they being productive?

Data such as this is immediately useful in helping you analyze your organization’s productivity and determine if there are benefits to moving your workflows to structured applications.

Every day is a chance to do better

Just as people go through journeys of self-improvement in their personal lives, organizations and their employees can choose to reflect on their current state and what it will take to get to their “best selves.” Data is an invaluable tool in doing this. Timely, detailed feedback on how workers move through their daily tasks, and how they allocate their time, can lead to significant growth and optimization opportunities. Knowing how different variables effect worker output and accuracy is also important.

In our study, the typical employee used over 90 distinct applications each month. We also learned that it is not uncommon for workers to toggle among 35 applications in a single shift. And when using 30 or more applications during the course of a shift, error rates increase by 28%. Of course, this is probably not true in every individual organization, but a data point such as this provides a great starting point for further investigation.

Is every application useful or is there a change that you need to make, such as consolidating functions in fewer applications? You need data to ask the right questions and make the changes that improve the employee experience, and subsequently improve organizational productivity and customer outcomes.

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Industry: Cross-Industry Solution Area: Operational Excellence Topic: Operational Excellence

About the Author

Nolan Greene is an industry analyst and marketer focused on digital transformation.