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The Importance of strategic viewpoints in selecting design systems

End-to-end design system platforms are becoming more popular as they allow for more consistent creation across teams and products with less manpower. Designers, engineers, and team leaders love working within an end-to-end solution because it reduces the time it takes to create new designs for projects, makes it easier for their end users to understand and enjoy each product, and allows for collaboration among teams enabling scalability and digital transformation.

However, the decision shouldn’t just be up to individual teams anymore. Because this tooling will impact efficiency cross-functionally, it’s prudent that executive leadership across design, development, product, and brand be involved in the decision-making process when it comes time to choose which design system tooling to implement.

Support Company-Wide Goals

A well-functioning design system can be a great accelerator in supporting your company’s overall business goals. This becomes even more substantial at an enterprise level with multiple brands and products to support, iterate on, and scale. With the increasing amount of time and attention spent on design, and design being a critical part of creating usable and innovative products, choosing the right design systems platform is a critical part in better understanding your customers, employees, products and brand.

Achieve Brand Consistency

Design systems are more than just UI components. Design systems are a way to bring consistency to the user experience, development process, and business as a whole. Design is not just about graphics or logos anymore, it's about how an organization looks, feels, and communicates. It's about the overall experience that a company wants to provide for their customers, and include decisions about how the products are actually used.

Expand Team Collaboration

Design systems have a profound impact on the way teams work together. Design tooling impacts how designers, developers, product managers, stakeholders, and executives to collaborate more effectively. When choosing a design system, it is important to consider the needs of all team members, how the system will fit into the overall workflow, and most importantly how it will increase productivity and innovation for the entire company.

The Efficiency Curve: The Sooner, The Better

It shouldn’t be underestimated how important it is to choose the right design system platform and do it right the first time. It’s common to end up with a system that doesn't meet your needs and causes more problems than it solves, or fails to be adopted by the organization. In this case, companies often need to start their design system process over around the two to three year mark building up even more tech debt than they started with.

Coming to the realization that a design system can get you to a more efficient production level than without one is the starting point. But, reducing the time to realize that efficiency is what makes all the difference.

If time and resources are going to be used to evaluate and implement a tooling solution then you should have somebody with a strategic viewpoint involved, not just those who would use the tools. It’s executive leaders who can see the forest through the trees. They are the ones who can understand the efficiency value of an end-to-end solution versus individual tools for individual departments to work on their tasks separately.

When it comes to design systems, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every organization is different and has unique needs, especially as they scale. As such, it is important that enterprise executive teams are involved in the decision making process and carefully consider all factors before selecting a design system with their product teams. As someone responsible for the success of a company, it’s important to ask “What are we investing in that helps us do more with less?” Choosing the most effective digital tooling is a strategic play on how much efficiency and collaboration can happen.

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