How invisible 'work colleagues' enhance EX

Freshworks Australia

By Prasad Ramakrishnan, Chief Information Officer, Freshworks
Tuesday, 06 June, 2023

How invisible 'work colleagues' enhance EX

In an age where most of us communicate with our social circles via a thumb and a phone, even the process of making a call has scope to be streamlined. Intelligent assistants are just one example of frictionless, invisible apps that have permeated our daily lives. In fact, they’re now so pervasive that we take many of them for granted as we seamlessly move through our day.

There was a time when that seamless flow in our personal lives would come to a jarring halt when we got to work. But this is changing as invisible apps creep into the enterprise. The concept of invisible apps isn’t really new, of course — they’re a facade layer on top of existing business applications.

Today, employees don’t want to feel tethered to a business process or a business application. The consumerisation of IT has led to an increased expectation of an omnichannel experience in everything we do. The emergence of AI, natural language processing (NLP) and other such technologies has made it possible to transform the employee experience — and it’s perfect timing because employees are looking for simplicity when it comes to having their requests met and getting the answers they need.

Invisible work colleagues

The invisible apps enable employees to skip steps and interact with an application lurking behind the scenes without even knowing they are doing so. An early example of this is when an employee sends an email to the service desk to create a ticket rather than logging into the service desk and opening a ticket themself. Or getting approval for purchase requisitions and expense reports via email while a finance application is working in the background.

Creating a friction-free implementation of transparent processes using invisible apps can greatly benefit an organisation. While adoption is one of the most critical challenges in any organisation, removing the friction from the employee experience can help companies increase the adoption of their digital transformation initiatives and ultimately improve employee engagement.

Organisations also benefit from having their business data and interactions recorded in a system of record instead of in an email when they deploy invisible apps. This enables businesses to measure what is working well and what is not, which in turn provides the information required to kick off future digital transformations.

On the flip side, employees benefit as well. Frictionless processes can remove stress and workaround steps to get the job done. Implementing invisible apps will not only encourage a greater adherence to processes but actually delight employees by having their requests handled efficiently and painlessly, leading to better business outcomes.

For example, rather than logging in to the human capital management app to see their vacation balance, employees can simply use an internal messaging system to ask and get an immediate response.

Invisible automations

While there are many ways invisible apps can help streamline employee efforts, some commonly found examples in the workplace include a one-stop way for employees to request virtual credit cards or an IT help desk portal to ask for help with technology issues.

Streamlining multiple help desk applications into one single window app is yet another way of making apps invisible. From an end-user perspective, when they need help, they go to one single window (help window) and the magic behind the scene routes the ticket to the appropriate servicing organisation, be it HR, facilities, finance, travel desk, marketing or IT. This elevates the employee experience.

The deployment of chat-based interfaces to applications is another way companies can deploy invisible apps. Most applications have native integration with Slack or Teams, which makes it possible to make the app truly invisible. Many apps also have a rich REST API (representational state transfer application programming interface) set — guidelines that software can use to communicate over the internet to make integrations simple and scalable — which can be used to custom-build these interfaces if a native integration does not exist.

Robotic process automation bots can bring data from one business process to another without the user needing to even know that it has happened. Deploying a messenger bot to show the key metrics that matter for the various roles in the company removes the need for users to log in to their business intelligence portal. Additionally, information is pushed to the user, which makes the goal of actionable intelligence a reality.

To enhance the employee experience through deploying invisible apps, businesses need to understand their user base and adapt their strategy to what works best for their employees.

For example, a global company may automatically connect employees to the appropriate corporate Wi-Fi network whenever they walk into an office location. Or it can allow employees to sidestep multiple passwords and use a seamless single sign-on experience for employee-related services.

Invisible apps are now ever present in the workplace, removing friction behind the scenes and helping to enhance the employee experience. Perhaps the best testament to their success is how much we take them for granted — which is the signature of seamless success at work.

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