When I wrote a little while ago about my interest in the emerging digital employee experience (DEX) space -- also called end-user experience management -- I didn't realize I was wading into a pool of alphabet soup.
Depending on who you talk to, DEX can get confused with digital experience platform (DXP), employee experience (EX), and both user environment management and unified endpoint management, even, if you choose to use the alternative name for DEX and EUEM.
This is my attempt to clear up things and get everyone aligned on what each acronym means and what they do -- or don't do -- from a high level. I just hope I don't make it worse!
Digital employee experience, employee experience and digital experience platform
Let's start with the easy ones. DEX, EX, and DXP all focus on some sort of user. The differences lie in who the user is -- a customer or employee -- and what problems you're trying to solve.
- DEX. This focuses on the end-user experience when using their endpoint device to access corporate apps and data. This typically involves some sort of monitoring, automated remediations, integrations with support workflows, user self-service and user attestation of their experience.
- EX. This is a component of HR that aims to optimize the employee experience throughout the employee lifecycle; it has gained steam lately due to the increase in hybrid work and decentralized workplaces. EX encompasses aspects such as streamlining the onboarding process, establishing and retaining company culture and ensuring users have access to the technology and corporate resources provided to them. Broadly speaking, the goal is to understand the overall employee sentiment.
- DXP. This focuses on maintaining a consistent customer experience across multiple digital channels: think web, social, mobile, in-store and the like. The key here is that DXP is customer-facing, though certain elements can extend to employee experiences as well.
With that out of the way, let's move on to a topic that's potentially more divisive.
Digital employee experience vs. end-user experience management
There may be a technicality that differentiates these two terms, but I've yet to find it. Eventually, the market will likely settle on one term, but even then neither option seems like the clear-cut choice. This is my rationale for the time being:
DEX is easier to say -- and let's face it, it sounds cool because of the X -- but it's already a product name in an adjacent space: Samsung DeX Mode. Samsung DeX mode is a feature of Samsung mobile devices that lets you connect a keyboard, monitor and mouse and use it like a traditional desktop. In Samsung's world, DeX stands for Desktop eXperience.
Note: 90% of respondents to a recent ESG survey said they were interested in technology like DeX! I talk a bit more about it in my article "The enterprise endpoint device market heading into 2023."
EUEM, though all alone as an acronym, suffers from its similarities to two already established and competing acronyms: UEM and … the other UEM.
The first UEM is user environment management, a term for profile, app and user data management for desktops, specifically in desktop and app virtualization. Specifically, this UEM allows a user's environment to follow them around regardless of which machine -- physical or virtual -- they're logging in to.
The other UEM -- unified endpoint management -- was born when mobile device management grew beyond mobile devices to encompass Windows and Mac machines as well. This instance of UEM quickly sidelined the original UEM, even forcing companies such as VMware -- which makes products that do both kinds of UEM -- to rename their User Environment Manager product to Dynamic Environment Manager.
Add EUEM, which focuses on the user and the device, to the mix and it gets even more confusing. I'd challenge anyone to tell me what EUEM stands for right now without looking up at the title of this section!
That's why, with apologies to Samsung, my vote is that we use the term DEX for now.
Are we good now?
Hopefully this has cleared up any confusion and explained why the boss's boss can't seem to figure out why the new DEX platform isn't helping with customer experience or integrating with Salesforce. If you have any thoughts, be sure to let me know.
Gabe Knuth is the Senior End User Computing Analyst for TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group. He writes publicly for TechTarget in addition to his analyst work. If you'd like to reach out, see his profile on LinkedIn or send an email to [email protected].