Ensuring that tech investments pay off

In the last 18 months, businesses have experienced unprecedented rapid digital transformation, onboarding new technologies at pace in response to the pandemic. According to a recent survey by Deloitte, 85% of CEOs agreed that their organisation’s digital transformation had accelerated during the crisis. In the UK alone in 2020, business investments in tech reached a record high total of £11 billion, and is on track to accelerate even further this year, with approximately £6 billion invested in Q1 alone.

However, in most cases, these tech investments have been made to create solutions for short term problems, with less of a focus on long term business strategy. As we now move beyond the pandemic, it’s going to be important for businesses to see a return on tech investments in the long term.

Aligning tech investments with business objectives

The first way to establish whether tech investments can provide true long-term value is to align them alongside business objectives. By being clear in target outcomes before onboarding a new technology, this will allow organisations to ensure that their investments are effectively helping them to achieve their goals. Whatever these outcomes might be – improving employee productivity, cost savings, increasing efficiency – it is crucial for businesses to align them with their digital strategy.

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The importance of KPIs

Once businesses have set these objectives, they can then set key performance indicators (KPIs) to validate whether the technology that has been implemented is actually serving its purpose. Research carried out by AppLearn last year found that only 12% of organisations measure the success of their tech investments after one year, falling to 5% after three years. It means that many businesses fail to see a return on investment for the (often large) sums of money they put towards new technologies. It could also result in missed opportunities, with changes in the way employees interact with software as it updates and evolves going unnoticed. Setting and measuring KPIs regularly will allow businesses to see a clear, tangible difference in the long-term and monitor the continued effectiveness of technology investments.

Identifying the metrics that matter

After setting objectives and KPIs, businesses can then use these to measure the effectiveness of their tech investments. To maintain long-term productivity, it is important not to focus on surface level vanity metrics and instead monitor areas that will prove useful when determining the effectiveness of technology; for example, are employees spending less time searching for software support, boosting productivity levels?

According to a recent report by Everest Group, there are three levels of user analytics which should be considered by the different stakeholders within a business:

  • Tactical analytics: these should be used to understand the user experience when using new software, including the time spent navigating tasks within applications, task error and completion rates, what pages users have visited, or whether they’ve looked for support.
  • Strategic analytics: these should be used to assess the efficiency and productivity gains created by new technology.
  • Financial analytics: these should be used to determine cost reduction and revenue generated by new software.

These three levels of user analytics are all crucial for businesses to understand how their employees are engaging with digital platforms in their daily tasks. Evaluating and assessing them will help determine where support is needed, and whether improvements can be made in line with business objectives.

As workplace digitalisation continues its path of rapid acceleration, it is vital for businesses to act now to ensure tech investments pay off and deliver results. Setting objectives, KPIs and closely monitoring user analytics will help to establish if new tech investments are truly effective and improving business efficiency and employee experience in the long-term.

Written by Andrew Avanessian, CEO of AppLearn

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