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UX can’t be the least powerful function at your organization

User experience leader working on their laptop

As the UX industry continues to grow and evolve, we’ve watched (and helped) our clients grow their design and development teams to include UX positions. This step—embedding UX designers and developers (even researchers) into their execution teams—proved organizations understood the importance of user experience to their digital products and services

However, UX is no longer plug-and-play, but an essential function of the organization. This shift towards a broader and more essential UX function won’t happen naturally (or easily) without the support of dedicated UX leadership. The organizations who realize that sooner will be better off for it. 

Getting buy-in for an entirely new business function will likely be challenging. That’s why we’re sharing more about the challenges organizations without dedicated UX leadership face, the ROI that creating this new function will bring to your organization’s success, and how you can position the need to get buy-in from above. Let’s dive in.

The challenges of the fragmented UX approach: Missed opportunities and reactive approaches

By only having UX roles on your design and technology teams, you’re likely missing out on opportunities and creating siloes. While there was a time when having UXers embedded into your product teams would have put you ahead of the competition, this fragmented approach can only get you so far. The limitations your team is likely to face can include:

  • Reactive approaches to your digital experience’s UX versus strategic, proactive solutions
  • Roadblocks to innovation based on limited investment and buy-in from above. For example, timeline limitations to stay on a tight budget set by internal stakeholders, etc.
  • Siloed decision-making and disconnect within your product team
  • Lack of cohesion in your product’s design due to no central design perspective and strategy
  • Missed opportunity to add revenue, for many reasons, but often, if your user experience relies solely on one UX practitioner who can’t do it all
  • Losing the VOC (voice of customer) and insufficient research opportunities due to a lack of resources
  • UX debt piles up because your UX team (or practitioner) doesn’t have time to think strategically 

By standing up a UX function, with UX leadership championing and molding what your user experience practice looks like, your teams are more likely to shift to a proactive approach and create user experiences that exceed customer expectations. Not only is that good for your products, but it’s good for your employee experience, too.

UX as a business driver; Beyond intuition to strategic excellence

At its most basic level, people tend to think UX is about “making things easier.” But, a good UX practice is more than just simplifying processes or experiences. If done right, a good UX strategy can tackle complex business challenges and set you apart from your competition. From strategic thinking and user-centered design to ensuring accessibility and ethics, the UX toolbox offers a lot to help teams produce results.

Here are the ways a strategic UX function leads to business success:

  • A solid UX function ensures that you have a source for data about the customer or user, and you’re not making decisions based on assumptions.
  • A centralized perspective and consistent function can keep you on track and always thinking about what’s best for your customer.
  • A UX team can bridge teams together, add efficiency and resources for each team, and ensure prioritization of important features and workflows.
  • Employing specialized UX practitioners—UX design, UX developer, UX researcher, etc.—allows them to focus on their expertise and not have to cross boundaries into other specialties. Let the specialists focus on what they know.

So, how do you ensure these considerations are top of mind for your team?

It’s time to invest in UX leadership

UX leadership can help you build a solid UX foundation, support your product teams, and ultimately provide your customers with solutions they need—and actually enjoy. Investing in a full function might seem like a big leap, but it’s worth taking.

Does your UX team need support?

Our team of UX designers, technologists, and researchers can help.

A dedicated UX leader or leadership team can drive:

  • Best practices across the organization
  • Excellence and consistency in the user experience
  • Integration of UX and business strategy
  • Buy-in from the C-suite for things like budget and timeline resources
  • Effective teams by supporting practitioners’ path forward

We work with many different kinds of UX teams to support their business goals, but we consistently see success with those who have dedicated leadership evangelizing the team’s value, supporting their UX team in their practice, and working with outside consultants to supplement and drive new UX initiatives.

The ROI of a strategic UX practice

Since UX was widely known as a tool to “make something easier to use,” getting the budget and resources a team needs can be challenging. When put so simply, how do you back up the need for more budget? As your organization transitions away from UX as a role on the team and builds out a larger UX function—with a UX champion in leadership—it’s important to understand what that team can accomplish. 

With effective UX leadership in place, your return on investment might look like:

  • The ability to tackle complex business challenges you’ve previously identified—and uncover others before they hurt the bottom line
  • Products that perform at higher standards than your customer expects and your competitors produce
  • Moving products and product improvements to the market faster
  • Opportunity to add revenue through new features and products
  • Higher customer retention and satisfaction
  • More efficiency across teams
  • Save time and better utilize resources
  • Improved employee experience within your organization, leading to a better internal ROI

Build a powerful UX strategy: Champion UX as a senior-level function

Gone are the days of a UX practitioner single-handedly deciding and implementing your user experience. UX leadership can build a proper UX function and create a ripple effect of top-down commitment to creating, maintaining, and elevating your product’s UX. Acting as passionate champions, they can provide the support and foundation that your internal teams need to work more effectively and confidently. 

A powerful UX strategy will inspire innovation, growth, and unparalleled customer satisfaction—all while adding to the bottom line, keeping your customers’ voices centered in product decisions, and ensuring you stay ahead of your competition. 

Is your team interested in understanding how to stand up a UX function? Do you need support improving your product’s user experience? Chat with our team of UX experts today.

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