Agility and experience management work better together
strategy+business|Winter 2020
Many companies achieve early wins with separate transformational efforts, then stall. But if combined and enhanced using “return on experience,” or ROX, measures, these two programs can unlock each other’s potential.
Sujay Saha, Matt Egol, and Matthew Siegel

The leaders of the financial firm’s business transformation had reason to be proud. They’d been getting good results in their efforts to embed agile methods in the company’s operations. In the credit card contact center, for instance, they’d slashed the trouble ticket backlog by 97 percent in the first year of their initiative and reduced training time for new hires from five days to less than two.

Yet the leaders had found it difficult to scale agile across the entire organization. They struggled to identify, prioritize, and activate the program’s highest-value applications after their initial success. And they were no better at consistently and comprehensively measuring the impact of the opportunities they did pursue.

Enterprise agility was not the only initiative to run aground at the firm. The chief customer officer had been building an experience management (XM) discipline — tracking customer journeys, collecting data from customers and employees worldwide, and compiling findings so leaders could more readily identify, prioritize, and activate continuous improvement opportunities. But the firm struggled to scale XM across functions.

Over time, though, executives realized that there was synergy between their enterprise agility and experience management transformations. The two initiatives had been run like individually spinning gears, quickly turning out some results but lacking torque. Fitted together, they gave each other power and momentum. Insights and practices from experience management improved the leadership team’s ability to steer agile efforts, enhancing their impact. And enterprise agility helped leaders act on insights so they could improve experiences and extract value from their investments in building the XM discipline.

This synergy wasn’t a fluke. Companies in various industries are now realizing the reciprocal benefits of XM and agility programs. What’s giving them an extra push is ROX, or return on experience, a concept PwC initiated in 2019 with a framework, system of metrics, and activation engine. ROX helps companies center both agile and XM efforts on customer and employee experiences, enabling leaders to better direct their efforts and amplify their results.

Breakthroughs are needed

It’s never been more important than it is now to get the agile and XM gears locked together and running smoothly.

Like the financial firm in our example, many large companies have developed solid underpinnings in agile and in XM, and most of them have seen early gains. But, as with the example company, the elation has evaporated and the initiatives have bogged down. As many as two-thirds of firms that have launched agile efforts have struggled to scale them across their organizations, according to PwC research. And in our work with clients, we’ve seen that weaving XM methods into operations proves just as difficult.

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