Want continuous improvement? Understand desktop experiences

Want continuous improvement? Understand desktop experiences

Nolan Greene,

In a prior blog, I discussed the value of worker desktop insights to understand the hidden obstacles that hinder digital process automation (DPA). To transform effectively, you need to know the issues affecting your most valuable asset – people – and how their time is spent navigating around the “disastrous desktop.” The disastrous desktop refers to the common worker experience of navigating between literally dozens of applications, poorly fitting unstructured tools, and applications that lag and insert delays in processes. Understanding the reality of your worker’s desktop situation is foundational to continuous improvement and deciding how to redesign processes, coach people, and choose where to most effectively deploy automation.

However, the journey does not end with understanding the data and making some one-time changes. Digital transformation hinges on continuous improvement. Therefore, enterprises that are continually evaluating desktop, operational, and worker performance insights increase their ability to evolve dynamically.

Continuous improvement demands structure

Results of our employee experience study revealed unstructured applications such as email were commonly used to manage workflows that should be structured. For example, a continuous improvement leader seeing data showing an inordinate amount of time spent in the email application should prompt an assessment of the work that’s being done in email. Is it possible that work management is happening through the unstructured email application as opposed to a structured process management platform where outcomes can be measured?

Why does this matter? A structured application functions much like an assembly line, providing an efficient and repeatable process to ensure consistency and quality. Examples include applications for processing claims, changing addresses, resolving disputes, and many others. However, our study found that only 28% of desktop production work occurred in structured applications. There are many examples of work that benefit from structure being performed in unstructured ways – such as task assignment and tracking in Excel to customer service over standard email – so it’s important for continuous improvement leaders to take a hard look at which processes can benefit from greater structure.

Automate where it makes sense

Desktop insights can illuminate opportunities for automation. Are employees working through numerous rote steps that increase cycle times but do not inherently benefit from human input? Desktop insight data can show you how to “take the robot out of the human,” allowing your workers to engage more and focus on the human elements of their jobs: listening, empathy, and real-time complex decision-making.

Organizations are struggling to engage employees. A 2017 Gallup report on employee engagement showed 85% of adults worldwide are disengaged at work. The same study demonstrated that the top quarter of employee-engaged organizations reported substantially higher productivity, sales, profitability, and customer outcome metrics.

Allowing employees to focus on engaging work can literally set up your organization for greater success.

Coaching can add value

Similarly, while automation will certainly replace many of the rote tasks taking up the time and energy of your workers, it will not, contrary to popular belief, replace them completely. People will still be looked to for empathy and many types of complex decision-making. However, people will need to work efficiently with machines and automated processes, and avoid the trap of “digital distractions.” As the value people provide will increase relative to the time they spend at work, it is imperative for organizations to continually coach employees to do their best work. Easy-to-understand coaching tools also promote a positive employee experience.

Gallup’s ongoing research has explicitly called out the role of coaching in creating the positive types of employee experiences that add value to an organization. In our Workforce Intelligence™ customer engagements, Pega has also observed the value of coaching insights to incite employee self-optimization. Workers see where they can take fewer steps to complete a process, learn from the best practices of their peers, and visualize the impact of digital distractions. These insights promote self-motivation that bodes well for continuous enterprise improvement.

Continuous improvement hinges on the intersection of people, process, and technology

Giving people the right tools to navigate processes through technology is foundational to ensuring continuous improvement. However, it is critical to know what tools are needed, where processes need to be redesigned (or designed from the ground up), and on what tasks people need to be coached. Desktop insights provide the operational intelligence needed to get started.

Learn More:

  • Discover how Pega Workforce Intelligence provides desktop insights for continuous improvement.
  • Read the full Pega Workforce Intelligence employee experience report “Demystifying the desktop” and watch our webinar to learn how identify hidden areas for improvement.
  • Learn why Pega Workforce Intelligence won a Workplace Optimization Innovation Award from CUSTOMER Magazine.
  • Hear from industry experts about how workforce intelligence moves organizations beyond workforce optimization.
  • Learn how Link Market Services is using Pega Workforce Intelligence to make strides toward their target operating model.
  • See how Radial uses Pega Workforce Intelligence and Robotic Automation to optimize its contact centers.
  • Get immediate insights into productivity improvements with a 60-day free trial of Pega Workforce Intelligence.
  • Join us at PegaWorld to learn how the world’s leading brands are leveraging Pega Workforce Intelligence, plus get hands-on training on our Pega Infinity™ portfolio of software.


  • Industry: Cross-Industry
  • Topic: Analytics
  • Challenge: Workforce Optimization
  • Product Area: Operations

About the Author

As Senior Manager of Product Marketing for Pega Robotic Automation™, Nolan Greene helps our clients create new opportunities for digital transformation and effective customer engagement.