A decade ago, MySpace was huge. The social network took over the internet and stood tenaciously against all the competition that came in with the explosion of the internet. And yet, it took only a Facebook to completely undermine MySpace’s market share. Facebook took over the social media and grew into a network of its own. The reason: UX! Facebook managed to provide an effortless UI to its users, but in addition to that, Facebook also tapped into the user journey and kept adapting.
One might argue that Facebook and MySpace are B2C enterprises with a user focus, but Enterprises from all sectors are now investing in UX. The trend became visible when one of the largest banks in the United States, Capital One, acquired Adaptive Path, a design firm based in San Francisco in 2014. This came as a surprise to clients and UX firms alike as no one expected a bank to invest in UX. According to Adaptive Path, “They (Capital One) want to try new things, both at the level of big strategic moves and at the level of experimenting with new tools and methods.” This changed the game for UX, it portrayed that one of the largest banks in the country was committed to UX. There are multiple other Enterprises that have followed the lead and invested in UX generously:
- Salesforce acquires Sequence
- Wipro acquires DesignIt and Cooper
- CapGemini acquires Idean
- IBM acquires three design firms in a week
Apart from acquisitions, most Fortune 500 companies are nurturing and expanding their UX talent. This has resulted in UX designers being paid far above the average salaries in the United States. So why is it that all of this Big Money is being invested in UX?
UX increases profitability
As any successful business should be, Enterprises are thoroughly profit oriented. No investment is made unless it is profitable in the long run, and UX is exactly the kind of investment that pays off generously over time. There have been various studies that show how design thinking and UX expertise adds to the ROI of a company. A recent report from Forrester, states that investment in UX has a shocking ROI of 9900%.
Problem solving through design thinking
The core of UX is to stay ahead of customer issues and solve any problems that may arise. This preemptive problem solving expertise comes with design thinking. With a functional design thinking culture and UX expertise, organizations are now learning to equip themselves with tools to deal with client issues preemptively and improve their market position. When Enterprises acquire design firms, they bring on board entire teams that are not only adept at working together but specialize in problem solving. Additionally, it is very hard to find innovation as a skill in the employees of large enterprises. When an enterprise invests in UX, it is majorly to combat this issue. With an efficient UX team, innovation does not have to cease.
Corporate giants like IBM and Accenture have done a 360 degree comeback after being deemed as yesteryear behemoths falling prey to advancement of technology. Design thinking has turned around their processes and helped them retain their positions in the market.
When we think of big Enterprises, we think of cubicles, suited employees and dull environment. But if you take a look at IBM’s design thinking, you will only see colorful design solutions, lively brainstorming sessions, and sticky notes on the walls. What has made about this shift? The absolute requirement of the time. Design thinking is not only beneficial but has become a crucial tool for survival in the market. As competition grows, the need to stay agile increases and inculcating design thinking in the organization is a guaranteed way to encourage continuous innovation.
Growing need of User Centric approach
If you take a look at some of the world’s largest companies, you will notice that the key differentiating factor for them is their design. Be it Slack or Salesforce, the reason they are on top of their competition is that they actively invest in user experience. They are not only creating good products, they are striving to make products that resolve real human issues. And as a result, the market is taking note, customers identify the user centric approach and respond to it positively. This has created a tremendous demand in the market and the supply is coping to keep up. Here, economics plays its role and increases the amount of investment significantly.
If these reasons aren’t good enough, some of the industry leaders are fervently advocating investment in UX. And for design firms this has opened the floodgates of possibilities. With the added capital and resources coming in, the innovation is taking place at a dizzying pace. So is UX peaking now? Absolutely not! According to Adobe, we are just starting and the possibilities for where UX will head are endless. UX is now exploring AI and machine learning to embrace technology like never before and we are excited to ride this wave of innovation.