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10 KPIs for the digital workplace

In today’s business press, we hear a lot about the rise of the digital workplace, particularly since the pandemic. What’s often implied but not always explicitly stated is that the digital workplace has become synonymous with the workplace itself. This has huge implications, not only for how employees collaborate and execute on work, but also for how company leaders think about workplace tech in the context of their greater strategic and business goals. It’s no surprise that 74% of IT heads say the CIO role was elevated due to the pandemic.

It’s more important than ever for companies to invest in digital transformation and bring together IT and business operation objectives. According to a recent McKinsey survey, 73% of top performing companies now say that their CIOs and senior IT leaders are heavily involved in shaping company strategy. With that shaping and planning comes the need to measure and build accountability around shared KPIs. But which are the most important ones for an optimized digital workplace?

Right now, many companies are working to strengthen the digital workplace in three key ways: with initiatives to increase productivity, improve experiences, and optimize software—both the third party internal-facing apps you buy and the homegrown ones you build.

The problem? Too many companies are executing on these initiatives in silos. This is unfortunate, because a mature, effective digital workplace sits at the intersection of these three pillars. But how should teams best measure progress within and across these core areas? And how does improvement in each of these areas make for an improved digital workplace? Here are ten KPIs every business technology and operations team should track for the digital workplace, plus tips for taking action on the data to optimize IT initiatives and improve the employee experience.

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KPIs to measure and increase productivity

1. Workflow productivity

In order to boost productivity, organizations have to decide how best to measure it and arrive at a baseline off of which to set future goals. Workflow productivity is the amount of time it takes for employees to complete business-critical workflows. What constitutes a business-critical workflow varies by context—it can be either a one-time or infrequent workflow (e.g. security trainings, performance reviews) or a recurring workflow (e.g. processing loan applications). The operations team’s focus should generally be on improving the latter because of their frequency and impact on things like revenue attainment and customer satisfaction. What’s more, the average time to complete a workflow is not only a measure of productivity, but a baseline of the effectiveness of that process as designed. Is a process slowing down your users? Is it adversely impacting the customer experience because it directly slows the speed of service delivery? These are the types of questions you may encounter when investigating workflow productivity.

How to take action on workflow productivity

  • Once you have a workflow productivity baseline, leverage analytics from a digital adoption solution to see the flow of work across apps and across time. It may be that for certain workflows, employees are taking longer to finish because they’re getting stuck at a given point or encountering friction in some way that could be solved with better support. If there’s a particular form field that employees are confused about, for example, consider deploying an in-app notification to give them context and guidance on what the field is for and how to complete it in the desired way.

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2. Process adoption

Process adoption is an activation metric that measures how many users are completing business-critical workflows. Most key work happens not just within a single application, but across multiple apps, so it’s important for operations teams to get a sense of how teams move through various platforms to get work done—and whether users are completing processes in the intended ways to ensure compliance. Risk management, operations, or other teams focused on business process effectiveness can use the powerful analytics from a digital adoption solution to see the flow of work across applications and identify if employees are actually completing workflows. Depending on whether the intended workflow is recurring or non-recurring, how teams consider and interpret adoption rates will vary.

How to take action on process adoption data

  • For workflows with low or slow process adoption: When you notice employees aren’t completing key workflows or are struggling to do so, you should first focus on learning as much as you can about these users via analytics. What patterns are you seeing? Do these employees share common behaviors or metadata (e.g. is it their first time undertaking a process, or do they work out of the same office or share the same position)? Is there a specific point within the workflow where users are dropping off or encountering friction? Having these insights can help teams optimize processes and provide the right guidance and support to employees within and across apps so they can complete workflows in the desired ways.
    Product shot - module
  • For workflows with high and fast process adoption: If employees are completing workflows and processes quickly—and in the intended ways—the most important thing operations teams can do is leave them alone. These are superusers, and you can use them as an example to help everyone else achieve the same outcomes. Harness analytics to better understand what sets these users apart, and let those insights inform process tweaks and in-app support related to common workflows. What’s more, leaving these users alone allows ops teams to better scale their work, removing unnecessary tasks and maintenance from their plate.

How process adoption leads to better business outcomes

A leading home improvement retail business wanted to help its employees drive more revenue in its B2B wing, selling supplies to independent workers and contractors. To further this goal, the company launched a lead generation process within its homegrown customer relationship management (CRM) software that helped employees find professionals with upcoming jobs and projects. It launched a trial in which it used Pendo In-app Guides to drive adoption of this lead generation process at 100 stores. The company found that stores using in-app guides had adoption rates 2.5x higher than those that only used traditional means of driving awareness (e.g. email). It also found that the test group of stores increased monthly revenue by an average of $1.5 million more than the control group.

3. Application adoption

Application adoption is a metric that measures how many users are engaging with a specific application or tool. It’s often reported over time by the number of monthly active users (MAU), weekly active users (WAU), or daily active users (DAU). By understanding the level and quality of engagement with a given app, business technology teams can discern whether the business is generating a good return on investment (ROI) for it.

Businesses often only begin tracking and addressing application adoption once a digital transformation is well underway, but this is a mistake. According to McKinsey findings, the most successful CEOs “are as passionate about adoption as they are about strategy. They invest time up front in making sure that the people actually using the solutions…have a clear voice in the development process.”

It’s important to note that the goal of the application should inform the desired adoption rate: Does it serve a business-critical purpose? Is it something employees can opt into? Or does it only require seasonal engagement—for example, updating your HR info at a certain point in the year?

How to take action on application adoption data

  • If you notice low adoption of a digital tool or app, you can leverage the analytics of a digital adoption solution in a similar way to that of process adoption. Is there a specific subset of users struggling to use the app, or is low adoption organization-wide? Are employees even aware that they’re supposed to be using the app? Also consider the context: Is the app used for an infrequent, non-recurring task or process? If so, low adoption may not necessarily be a problem. Depending on the answers to these questions, you can take steps to increase adoption via in-app alerts and guidance or solicit feedback to get a better understanding of how best to support employees with the app.

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