CIO Reflections - March edition

Information Technology
Information Technology
Martin Bernier picture
Much is written and talked about the user experience, but are we there yet? From a technology perspective, how people view their interaction with a product and how they feel about a product is often referred to as Ux.

Other spheres of business have also jumped on the “X” wagon such as the customer experience (Cx), employee experience (Ex), job experience (Jx), digital experience (Dx), multi-experience (Mx), total experience (Tx) and more. 

At the heart of all of these is the desire to provide a seamless experience from a distinct standpoint. We want to strive to avoid disjointed and disappointing journeys, whether from a shopping experience, a website visit, or other end-to-end experience. 

It’s gotten me to thinking how this might apply to our university community, something I was thinking about even before my first day at the University 5 years ago. 

I think that because we are organized by specialty to work within a big organization (not unique to our university), it is harder to think outside silos and more importantly, deliver outside these “virtual walls”. It’s really hard to design a harmonious end-to-end experience in the day of a student, a professor or a support staff when there are many elements that need to be plotted to have an accurate picture of their experiences at the University for even one day. It could involve 2, 3 or even 4 different administrative units! 

Giving a consistent experience that meets the inner desires and expectations of someone studying or teaching here is easier said than done.  An understanding of their different viewpoints, from their perspective and not ours, is the starting point. People have different experiences within one organization. For example, I could describe how I view my job experience, and this could be expressed differently than how I describe my employee experience. A student’s reflection on how they see their user experience could conceivably have different elements than if they were to describe how they perceive their customer experience at the University. 

What maestro is leading all the musicians to make everything harmonious for our community? What would a blueprint look like if an architect built the many experiences that are part of university life from a professor’s perspective, a researcher’s perspective, a student’s perspective, an employee’s perspective, an alumnus’ perspective?   

From an IT perspective, I am looking to improve the total digital experience that the members of our community have, whether from a student, customer, employee capacity or someone wearing several hats. Especially since many of our stakeholders now have a predominantly digital-first experience, and the dynamics of university life revolves around both campus and home, this makes the IT experience mapping and improvement undertaking a worthwhile endeavor.  Can IT smooth down some of those pain points and make their experience more efficient, more unified, more intuitive? What would be required to think with a university hat rather than solely an IT hat? Clearly, lots of collaboration and partnerships inside and outside our university are required. 

Linking all these Xperiences together, regardless of the letter preceding the “X”, is the totality of the experience a person thinks about when they deal with the University.  

And that means, not just one sector, or one transaction… that’s going to take a whole lot of agility and collaboration.