Enhancing the user experience. What it means, and why it matters.

The pandemic and the shift to hybrid working have highlighted the importance of the user experience, and the clear link between IT and people’s productivity and wellbeing. But until now, these more emotional, ‘human’ metrics have been complex and expensive to capture.

Historically, service providers and their customers have relied solely on the traditional service level agreement (SLA), evaluated through CSAT and/or annual surveys. The problem is that these measures are based on tickets raised by individual users: they miss the everyday IT issues that, over time, can become major sources of stress and frustration. They also fail to identify patterns and underlying problems that may be affecting other users, whole teams, or the wider organisation.

What’s more, SLAs set only minimum standards: as long as these are met, there’s no incentive for the service provider to do more or go further; it’s tacitly accepted that a proportion of users will always receive a less-than-perfect service.

In contrast, the experience level agreement (XLA) combines 2D organisation-wide device and system data with in-the-moment sentiment capture. Unlike the SLA, it’s dynamic, constantly monitoring the whole IT environment and users’ interactions with it. This enables service providers to identify and resolve issues proactively: users don’t need to raise tickets, and may never be aware there was a problem at all. And unlike the SLA they never have to settle for less than 100% service.

Alongside the obvious human benefits, the potential upside of delivering a great workplace experience is enormous. It makes hiring and retaining talent easier, particularly the younger, digital-native cohort; reduced downtime and greater availability means lower costs and enhanced customer service. User experience capture also provides hard data on adoption rates and efficiency gains, providing a clear path to value for IT investment.

In our new paper, we set out the technical, commercial and human thinking behind the XLA, and the transformation we believe it can bring to your organisation.