The Engagement Effect: Fire up Your Digital Transformation Mojo

This Subaru commercial caught my attention the other day. It starts out with a father handing over the car keys to his daughter, before she drives off solo for the first time?

He gives her the “safety talk” through the passenger side window. You can see the anxiety in his face, as he gives her the keys.

Then, the camera fast cuts to a teen about to drive off alone. But the dad? He still sees her as his “little daughter.” D’awwwwwwwww…

There are a GAZILLION commercials out there. But, like all great commercials, this one engages you…Resonates… Grabs you in the emotions.

There’s a parallel in business. Brands that do a better job of engaging consumers and employees tend to outperform brands that don’t, according to Gartner. And, companies with highly engaged employees… tend to outperform other businesses by an incredible 147% in earnings per share.

On the other hand, businesses that miss the mark on engagement lose an estimated $1.6 trillion in customer defections, according to a recent study by Accenture.  It’s also worth noting that:

  • Worldwide, a staggering 87% of workers are not engaged, according to a recent Gallup study.
  • In the U.S., a whopping 70% of employees are not engaged.

And the cost of this emotional disconnect is staggering. Gallup estimates that it represents over $400 billion per year in lost productivity.

It’s tempting to downplay engagement as a soft, intangible, success factor. But don’t be fooled. Engagement is the hallmark of digital transformation success. The engagement of aligning business processes, systems, and workflow with customer and employee expectations…. The engagement of consumerized technology…The engagement of intuitive, user-friendly interfaces…The engagement of gamified business apps…And low-code app design.

This kind of user-focused engagement optimizes employee performance and the customer experience as well. The University of South Australia (UniSA) is a case in point.

University Processes Time Sheets 20 Times Faster

Officials at UniSA focused their digital transformation efforts on streamlining operational processes to make campus life better for students and staffers. For example, with more than 33,000 students and 7,000 faculty members, wrangling timesheets was a business process nightmare for the UniSA finance team.

Staffers had to physically be in the office to complete and submit time sheets to payroll, which resulted in the finance team getting slammed with a backlog of overdue timesheets. Fortunately, with a low-code app development platform, UniSA was able to quickly mobilize the timesheet management process across the University, and make it available to staffers via desktop, web and mobile devices.

UniSA employees can now manage timesheets online. Automated task alerts remind staffers to complete and submit timesheets. Managers get immediate prompts to review and approve them.

And time sheets are processed 20 times faster than before.

Coincidentally, the onboarding process for UniSA employees has also been slashed from 3 weeks to just 24 hrs. (Watch the video).

In the age of enterprise appification, everyone is a digital consumer… including employees. And, they expect the same anytime, anywhere access they get with the best consumer apps like Amazon, Starbucks, and Facebook. Which is why smart developers have consumerized the user experience, and made enterprise software more intuitive, more mobile, and more engaging to keep up with user expectations.

Employees are also more mobile than ever. They expect to be able to work from anywhere, anytime, on any device. With the explosion of mobile, 70% of all software interactions within enterprises will happen on mobile devices by 2022, according to Gartner.

The good news is that modern low-code platforms are designed to deliver this kind of mobile engagement instantly, and boost productivity.

Bank Speeds Up Loan Approvals  

For example, the Bank of Tennessee (BofT) used mobile to streamline processes and accelerate time to revenue. They used a low-code platform to build a mobile app for loan originations, to streamline loan approvals, and accelerate delivery of loan funds to borrowers. (Watch the video).

BofT was able to reduce wait time for loan approvals from 30-days down to 3-4 days.

“The Appian Low-Code Platform makes our loan officers mobile, gives them the systems integrations they need to do their work, and allows them to collaborate with a simple social interface,” says Roy L. Harmon, Jr., President/CEO at Bank of Tennessee.

Anyone can automate business processes. But engagement drives business transformation success. The thing is, we’re not wired to focus on transformation in terms of engagement. It’s not our first instinct. But, it’s hard to sustain digital transformation, if it’s not engaging…

Cue the new Subaru TV commercial called “Moving Out,” which depicts how fast our kids grow up. The spot starts out with a young boy and his puppy, packing up the family car to leave home.

Then, the camera fast cuts to a teen and his parents gathered in the driveway.

The teen hugs his mom and dad, pets the family dog, and drives off alone. 

Voice over fades in… Video fades out… Awwww…Pass the Kleenex.


Roland Alston