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3 approaches to embed UX in your organisation

In Part 1 of this article we summarised the three tensions holding back UX in your organisation. Here in Part 2 we discuss three approaches to embed UX in your organisation.

Three distinct approaches have evolved to embed UX within businesses:

  • Acquiring external UX agencies can be expensive and time-consuming

  • Developing in-house UX functions requires specialist knowledge and management

  • Embed an outsourced team of professionals in-house with external support

Embedding UX into your business is a challenge. As the case for UX has progressed over the past twenty years or more, organisations have evolved two distinct approaches to achieve it. While these approaches are commonplace, they can be problematic. Our analysis, drawing on 20 years of work with organisations such as O2, Royal Mail and Walgreens Boots Alliance, can explain these flaws, and reveals why our approach always outperforms them.

Approach 1: Acquire a UX agency

Pros: Brings in experienced and proven team as a package

Cons: Expensive, time-consuming and high-risk

Acquiring a UX agency brings in an established team who already know how to work effectively together with a well-honed, user-centred process.

The greatest drawback, aside from the high upfront cost, is employee attrition. Acquisition delivers a financial boon to the agency’s founders and leaders, but rarely benefits the team of designers and researchers they bring with them. Acquisition is also time-consuming and distracting.

For these reasons, this expensive and high-risk approach to adding or growing your UX capability often falls short of its objectives; the vital UX heart of the acquired business often ends up dissipating within large, corporate environments.

Approach 2: Develop an in-house UX team

Pros: Cost-effective, agile, aligned to business

Cons: Lengthy process, requires specialist leaders and management buy-in

Growing in-house UX capability by employing an internal team can be more cost-effective than relying on external agencies. You enjoy the benefits of a team that works closer together, in terms of location, values and best practice. Responses are rapid, aligned to business priorities and underpinned by domain-specific knowledge. Internal teams are also more effective in the agile product development process.

The downside is it takes a long time to get it right. As we discussed in Part One, you need strong UX leaders to transform the organisation, gain buy-in and attract talent. These are a tough group to attract in-house, but are essential. They can identify the best designers or researchers, develop and retain top talent, and turn your organisation into a user experience-led powerhouse.

With the internal approach, success comes from buy in at the very top. Management need to identify and employ strong UX leaders, who understand the processes that meet the challenges of the organisation, and who are prepared to have tough conversations at all levels. Not every management team is equipped to do this.

The UX Agency’s approach: Outsource an in-house agency

Our ‘best of both worlds’ approach brings you the benefits of super-tight collaboration, and the wider experience of an external agency. We provide clients with an on-site capability that works closely with a much broader external agency offering. Clients grow their own capability and acquire a team without the risk, time or exhaustive effort.

An on-site agency capability, closely coupled to a much broader external agency offering, gives you unbiased external viewpoints that adapt to your organisation and become embedded in your teams. Able to quickly evaluate your existing team structures and identify potential skills gaps, we can then embed proven and relevant UX team members into your organisation. 

Our highly-experienced staff (UX designers and UX researchers of all levels) are placed on-site in your organisation. At the same time, we provide extensive support to these staff and your organisation.

  • We embed robust processes that are more than just fancy diagrams

  • We collaborate with stakeholders from across the business to ensure they are continually engaged, see progress and share outcomes

  • We make sure your needs are met: from your customers, your users, your business

  • We work closely with your product development teams to ensure we execute effectively and pragmatically.

After years of developing UX teams and projects, we believe that this solution brings you all the benefits of acquiring an external agency or building your own team, but without the risk.

If you’d like to learn more about how to quickly become a UX-led organisation without the risk or exhaustive effort, then get in touch to understand how The UX Agency can help. Call us on 020 7947 4940 or email enquiries@theuxagency.co.uk

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