Riverbed Global Digital Employee Experience (DEX) Survey explores expectations of "digital natives," hybrid work, IT’s role, and challenges and strategies to delivering an exceptional DEX.

  • 63% of business and IT decision makers believe failing to meet the digital experience demands of younger generations would be disruptive to the business, and 68% agree Millennials and Gen Z employees would consider leaving the company
  • Nearly half (49%) say a seamless DEX is most important for employee engagement, surpassing office perks such as happy hours (25%) and free coffee and snacks (14%)
  • 95% identified at least one major obstacle to delivering a seamless DEX, including budget constraints, IT talent/skills shortages, insufficient observability tools, and lack of appropriate SaaS or cloud services
  • 94% recognize the importance of unified observability in their company’s ability to provide exceptional DEX and remain competitive 

SAN FRANCISCO–September 19, 2023 08:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time (BUSINESS WIRE)–Riverbed, the leader in Unified Observability, announced the results of the Riverbed Global Digital Employee Experience (DEX) Survey 2023, which found that organizations today must employ high standards for the DEX in order to remain competitive and retain talent, in particular for younger generation employees who would otherwise consider leaving the company. The survey polled a combined 1,800 global IT decision makers (ITDMs) and business decision makers (BDMs) across 10 countries and seven industries, exploring generational expectations, hybrid work, the evolving role of IT, and challenges and strategies to delivering an exceptional DEX.

Millennials and Gen Z Have High Digital Experience Expectations

The Global DEX survey uncovered that Millennials and Gen Z employees have the highest technology and digital experience expectations in the workplace, with 91% of decision-makers believing they will need to provide more advanced digital experiences to meet their needs, and 89% saying younger generation employees place increased pressure on IT resources.

If an organization fails to meet the digital experience needs of younger generation employees, leaders surveyed believe 68% would consider leaving the company, and 63% say it would be disruptive, impacting productivity, reputation, or organizational performance. Additionally, 95% of leaders say delivering a seamless DEX is important (56% critically important) to remaining competitive.

With heightened digital expectations, and talent, productivity, and competitiveness at risk, almost all respondents (92%) say investing in DEX is among their top priorities for the next five years.

“The rising influence of digital natives, shift in how and where people work, and IT complexity has put tremendous pressure on IT leaders to deliver on the digital experience expectations of employees and the organization as a whole. And with over two-thirds of leaders believing younger generation employees would consider leaving the Company if their digital needs are not met, the CIO is essentially becoming a Chief Talent Officer too,” said Dave Donatelli, Chief Executive Officer at Riverbed. “Compounding to this challenge, the Riverbed Global Digital Employee Experience survey confirmed that delivering better digital experiences is getting harder, not easier. What’s encouraging is the vast majority of business and IT leaders understand the challenge at hand, and are taking proactive steps to invest in technologies such as AI and unified observability, to help deliver an improved digital employee experience.”

Obstacles to Delivering a Seamless DEX

At a time when the digital experience is business critical, 95% of ITDMs and BDMs sited at least one major obstacle or gap to delivering a seamless DEX. Respondents identified budget constraints (36%), IT talent/skills shortages (35%), lack of sufficient observability tools (29%), lack of appropriate SaaS or cloud services (29%), and too much data (28%) as the top obstacles hindering their ability to deliver on the digital employee experience. Furthermore, 87% of leaders surveyed said slow-running systems and applications and outdated technology is directly impacting the growth and performance of their organization,

IT departments are now trying to drive innovation and improve DEX while being understaffed (37%) or with employees who lack key skills to do their jobs (41%). To address this, 81% have set aside budget to retrain IT staff, and IT leaders overwhelmingly believe (86%) Unified Observability technology with greater automation can also help close the skills gap.

Accelerating the Digital Experience: Unified Observability a Must-Have for DEX

In the past few years, the push to hybrid work environments and rapid cloud deployments has resulted in IT leaders taking a bigger role in the C-Suite, as they are expected to do more than just keep the lights on. Leaders expect technology to be an enabler to drive business and a recruiting tool to keep the newly arriving younger generations who grew up in the digital era, engaged and productive.

In fact, the survey found that 89% of IT and business leaders are planning to accelerate digital experience adoption and implementation. Organizations also see technologies such as AI and unified observability playing an important role in delivering on digital experience. Ninety-four percent of leaders agree unified observability is important (52% critically important) to stay competitive and deliver DEX, and 91% say there must be greater investment in unified observability solutions.

Other key findings from the survey

  • Nearly half (49%) of leaders say a seamless digital experience is the most important factor in keeping their workforce engaged, surpassing traditional office perks such as weekly happy hours (25%), free coffee and snacks (14%) and company merchandise/giveaways (11%).

  • Global IT and business leaders surveyed said that nearly half (47%) of their employees are working in a hybrid model, and 88% plan to invest in technology over the next 12-18 months to support this hybrid workforce. Additionally, 96% of respondents believe hybrid work enhances their ability to attract and retain talent, ultimately contributing to future competitiveness; and 91% agree that hybrid work will have a lasting and positive impact on society and the world.
  • IT is taking a bigger seat in the C-suite: 81% of ITDMs and BDMs acknowledge the increasing relevance of IT within the C-suite following the shift to hybrid work models catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, 80% of ITDMs surveyed said they currently have a seat at the C-suite table, and 92% of all respondents agreed that IT is more responsible for driving business innovation now than it was three years ago.
  • Emerging and established technologies that will make or break a business: AI (45%), cloud (43%), automation (35%), Digital Experience Management solutions (35%), and application/network acceleration technology (34%) are crucial for organizations looking to remain competitive in today’s marketplace.

The Riverbed Global Digital Employee Experience Survey 2023 polled 1,800 global IT and business decision makers representing companies with over $250 million in annual revenue across 10 countries. Their industries include finance/insurance, oil and gas, government/public sector, healthcare/pharmaceutical, manufacturing, retail, and professional services. The survey was conducted by Sapio Research in May 2023.

Discover how IT and business decision makers are approaching the digital employee experience by diving into the full report.

About Riverbed

Riverbed is the only company with the collective richness of telemetry from network to app to end user, that illuminates and then accelerates every interaction, so organizations can deliver a seamless digital experience and drive enterprise performance. Riverbed offers two industry-leading portfolios: Alluvio by Riverbed, a differentiated Unified Observability portfolio that unifies data, insights, and actions across IT, so customers can deliver seamless, secure digital experiences; and Riverbed Acceleration, providing fast, agile, secure acceleration of any app, over any network, to users anywhere. Together with our thousands of partners, and market-leading customers globally – including 95% of the FORTUNE 100 – we empower every click, every digital experience. Riverbed. Empower the Experience. Learn more.

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