Employees
Real Story Group has released a graphic to break down the employee experience technology landscape PHOTO: ICMA Photos

A new enterprise technology landscape graphic has emerged. 

And while it's no MarTech supergraphic, Real Story Group (RSG), the creator of this new supergraphic expects the landscape to grow significantly in the coming years.

RSG produced an Employee Experience Technology graphic that includes 135 vendors and 200 solutions aimed at helping employees collaborate with colleagues, leverage employee-facing materials and, in general, get work done.

"We'll definitely see an expansion of players," said Tony Byrne, founder and CEO of Olney, Md.-based Real Story Group. "The major platforms are still going to be there. Microsoft Office and G Suite, and IBM has a lot to say there, too. Slack is not the end of the story. There are going to be more and more tools like Slack that will be mobile and cloud first to fill very specific needs."

A Growing Technology Market

In other words, watch out: the tools are coming. Organizations need to take a cue from their digital customer experience efforts and find ways to build better employee experiences

Here's what the RSG landscape looks like today:

Real Story Group Employee Experience Chart

Byrne will discuss selecting the right digital workplace technology and how different solutions fit together during two sessions at CMSWire and Digital Workplace Group's upcoming Digital Workplace Experience, taking place June 19-21 at the Radisson Blu Aqua in Chicago.

Real Story Group's employee experience landscape is no MarTech Supergraphic yet. Scott Brinker's landscape now includes 5,000 marketing technology solutions. Byrne doesn't see quite an explosion happening with employee experience technology. 

However, lest we forget: Brinker began in 2011 with 150 MarTech solutions, less than the 200 Byrne and RSG identified in this, their first Employee Experience Technology graphic.

"We're looking at the most important solutions here," said Byrne. "Scott's list is comprehensive and impressive because he's got everybody in it. We're hitting the high notes."

Collaboration Tool Landing Spots

Real Story Group breaks down employee experience solutions into three categories:

  1. Collaboration and Communications: where knowledge workers spend 60 percent of their screen time. Providers are routinely looking to add artificial intelligence and cognitive solutions to bolster these suites.
  2. Employee Self-Service: learning, portals, search and expenses. "Vocal enablement" has risen here, Byrne said, adding there are "opportunities" here for growth. Problems here include a lack of identity and access management, and lingering mobile access shortcomings, Byrne said, adding, "enterprises are fixing the former; it’s up to the vendors to fix the latter."
  3. HR and Major Line-of-Business: where employees get function-specific work done. Organizations are turning to HR automation, to help a department that often is not viewed as "IT forward." 

Organizations have to "get it right" when it comes to collaboration and communications, seeing that employees spend a good chunk of their day living in these kinds of tools and environments. 

Employees, Byrne said, are looking for capabilities in their collaboration tools that go beyond chat rooms. They want access to and management of important documents.

Tony Byrne
Tony Byrne

They also want easy to access tools. Jive, for instance, should come to them, rather than having to "go to Jive" to collaborate. 

"We find that enterprise customers want the 'green' vendors at the top to provide their capabilities as services that can be embedded into other digital work environments," Byrne said. "Unfortunately, with the exception of cloud file sharing, we’re not there yet. There’s room for disruption here."

Employee Experience Matters

Ultimately, digital employee experiences are about organizations adjusting to how their employees want to work. It's about what they're actually doing versus what tools organizations put in front of them, Byrne said.

Traditionally, organizations view their enterprise architecture in a "layer cake" approach, Byrne said. They start with the bottom of the stack at the network layer and go up from there. 

"It’s a useful, even essential, artifact, but doesn’t tell you much about the all-important employee UX," Byrne said.

So what's ahead for this landscape? According to Byrne, multi-vendor stacks and integration.

"In the ERP space, many tools went away or got swallowed up into major enterprise suites, so the market essentially became an oligopoly," Byrne said. "This has tended not to happen elsewhere in the EmpEx stack, with the possible exception of groupware/email, where three major players predominate. All the M&A that’s happening, tools are not going away; they’re just finding new owners. This space is likely to become even more fragmented in the coming decade, and so, like their MarTech peers, we think digital workplace leaders are going to have to make their peace with multi-vendor stacks and a renewed focus on integration rather than customization."