Design Operations Is the Next Step in Building Compelling Experiences at Scale

Successful brands are focusing on consistency, efficiency, and agility when designing the customer experience.

IT leadership

By Anja Huebler

IT teams and the organizations in which they operate have learned the importance of eliminating complexity, inconsistent processes, and rigidity in digital processes. They know these things are the enemies of speed and efficiency. As a result, most organizations have shifted to the cloud in their quests for consistent, efficient, and agile IT infrastructure.

Now, successful brands are taking this same focus on consistency, efficiency, and agility to the process of designing the customer experience. The new concept of “design operations” brings the same management discipline, consistent processes, and use of common tools to the design of CX that has been brought to bear on IT infrastructure. This is important for many reasons:

  • The use of multiple agencies − each doing its design work in a unique way, using different tools and processes − results in complexity and inefficiency.
  • The redline/review process is too time-consuming and unwieldy to allow brands to compete at today’s speed of business.
  • Every design project is unique, so there is no institutional learning, which results in high costs and substantial inefficiency.
  • The hand-offs between teams in the design function and IT are inconsistent, poorly documented, and confusing, resulting in multiple, slow, and costly iterations.
  • The inability to scale the process to support rapid and more frequent changes is limiting.
  • Having too many individuals believing they have final authority on design results in too many change orders.

Leading brands now are focusing on building a design operation process that addresses the aforementioned problems. Design operations brings the consistency, structure, and efficiency necessary to meet the new demands being made on CX.

Design systems and component libraries have taken the place of outdated processes, enabling designers and IT professionals to work better, faster, and more efficiently together, all while delivering against new experience mandates at speed and scale.

For some brands, implementing design operations will provide a notable competitive advantage, and not just for internal processes; customers and prospects will see more consistent, logical, and seamless experiences as well. This will stand in stark contrast to brands that appear to be an amalgamation of disconnected digital experiences.

To get started, it is important to understand that strong change management processes are needed, because design decisions will move away from individual mandates to structured processes. Investments in building the design operations process also are needed. Finally, building the right design operations approach requires a commitment to “peeling back the onion” and getting it right. Therefore, many brands are working with experienced partners such as Cognizant to drive successful outcomes.

Broadband and Business Communications Provider Creates an Efficient and Agile Process for Driving New Design

 A large U.S.-based broadband and business communications provider undertook a digital transformation project, part of which included the redesign of different web properties. The small internal design team had done some preliminary design work; however, it did not have a plan to manage ongoing design efforts or collaboration with the internal IT department and other external partners to roll out new design assets at scale.

Cognizant didn’t just focus on redesigns. As part of the discovery process, Cognizant identified “ways of working” and suggested a design system, as well as new workflows and processes to set up the team for success. Working with Cognizant, the company has made great strides in moving to a much more efficient, agile, and consistent process for driving new or updated designs.

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Anja Huebler is head of design at Cognizant.


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