The role of Desktop Containers and improvements in CX

 

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I have seen some recent statistics surrounding the expansion of User Experience (UX), into the lifetime value gained from the Customer Experience (CX), in the region of $3 for every $1 spent (see Customer Experience and your bottom line)

The definition of CX from Wikipedia is: 

customer experience (CX) is the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of theirrelationship. This interaction is made up of three parts: the customer journey, the brand touchpoints the customer interacts with, and the environments the customer experiences (including digital environment) during their experience. A good customer experience means that the individual's experience during all points of contact matches the individual's expectations. 

We see more and more that the entire journey is encompassed within the digital environment, so the ability to deliver a heightened UX drives the entire CX. The tendency is to see CX purely as an external requirement of providing services to clients and customers, as their acquisition and retention is a critical factor for a business.  However, it is also a factor for the internal “customer”. CX can drive major improvements in efficiency, which in itself can support improvements in brand touchpoints and raise the CX.  As the digitally literate generations enter the workforce, attractive CX is a recruiting and retention issue. 

 

The challenge 

Most enterprises are aware of this, and talk digital transformation, but they are starting far from a simple base. At the desktop, they typically have silo support solutions which span generations of technologies. This means that the concepts of even an improved UX, with the goal of driving positive CX, is a reach.  Replacing everything, in many cases, is beyond resource and budget boundaries even if it could be done before requirements changed. 

In simple cases, where the entire business function is supported by a limited technology infrastructure, the typical approach is to webify it.  This does not imply that it will drive a better UX, and thus an improved CX.  That requires a design thinking approach to understand what the user is trying to achieve in terms of a business function and model the solution to make that as easy and complete as possible.  But this situation is not common and is not transformative. 

Transformation involves, among many other things, the bringing of the processes executing and supporting the business into a continuous flow.   

Efforts to re-engineer and converge the platforms that support this have been marginally successful, as they involve large scale change at many levels and are often incomplete due to budget pressures or business change.  The industry is littered with 90% solutions.  

Rather than attempting to re-engineer the entire structure, are there ways to get improvements without major effort and delivery risk? 

 

The solution 

We see the area where these solutions converge, at the users desktop, as being an opportunity with the availability of desktop container technology (see OpenFin or Glue 42 or Finsemble). Benefits can quickly be gained and provide real, positive ROI given desktops that use multiple applications to achieve a business function, whether they are interacted with serially or in parallel.  In financial institutions, this situation is the standard, whether buy or sell side, wholesale or retail.  The arrival of desktop containers offers the opportunity to bring applications from different technology stacks together, at the simplest level to be “stuck together” on the users desktop, and, going further, allow them to interoperate. These uses enable a business function workflow to be built in without the necessity to make changes to the backends, the interaction with them, or the building of an entire services layer. 

The industry’s overall direction is a move to HTML5/Javascript/webstack, but in its implementation there are major time, resource/skillset requirements and risk issues, especially if the solution portfolio includes multiple technology stacks, some from third-parties or service suppliers.  Container technology allows the path of migration without losing the value of the legacy.   

Of course, the applications styling remains individual to each, so the full benefits of CX will not be attained. 

The next step enabled by containers is the building of micro-UI’sEach  perform a function but can be unaware of the other services it may be interacting with and the building of an AppStore type of environment where users can build their own platform.  If the Finos FDC3 effort succeeds, then it will enable this, not just for internal developments, but for those applications from third parties. 

Of course, none of this obviates for the need to use Design Thinking to determine what the future solutions should look like and the style of inter-action However you start the process, the design artefacts have to have consistency as more of the desktop moves into the contemporary technology stack. 

One further advantage is that Desktop Container technology can capture actual usage patterns, which can be a key feedback to the Design Thinking process in terms of flow improvements or re-engineering efforts. This process also improves the effectiveness of the styling, allowing continuing improvements in the CX, as well as providing patterns for increasing efficiency, both factors in improving the bottom line. 

 

Conclusion  

Do you have a desktop environment, composed of multiple technologically siloed applications that need to be navigated to allow the user to do business functions?  Talk to us - we can give you a strategic route to a simplified environment while improving the Customers Experience and significant gains in efficiency. 

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Topics: Digital Transformation, CX, UX

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