CIOs led the overnight transformation from in-office to remote work environments for many organizations in 2020. All over the world, CIOs enabled their organizations to continue work and stay in business amid a global pandemic. The accomplishment was astounding and for many CIOs, it earned them a rightful place as a strategic leader in the company.
However, there’s a difference between the COVID-19 stopgaps many organizations put into place and true work-from-home solutions.
What is the difference?
The work from home solutions put in place enabled the organization to work in the way it was already working. Most of these remote work solutions didn’t introduce anything new to the organization. They really just moved the metaphorical water cooler from the office into employee homes.
However, what these solutions did do is open up a vision to what else could be possible in terms of remote work and having a flexible workforce.
It’s becoming increasingly important that organizations take their remote work solutions one step further and expand into new ways of working and supporting new business models through remote work.
The pandemic has changed work-life for good. According to a study from US-based Enterprise Technology Research, IT leaders “expect permanent remote work to double to 34.4% of their companies’ workforces in 2021, compared with 16.4% before the coronavirus outbreak.”
Not only are more employees working from home, but many businesses have also pivoted during the pandemic. Some organizations have developed new revenue streams. Others have adapted to different business models. In short, the business has changed.
IT needs to determine if the remote work solutions they put into place this past spring are actual remote work solutions – or if they are just bandaids. Why? Because this is just the beginning of change. The way we do business has been forever altered because of COVID-19. Traditional ways of working are a thing of the past. We’re going to see more hybrid office models and higher expectations from both customers and employees on what the business needs to deliver.
This is where the rubber meets the road for IT. Every organization has to adapt and they can’t do that without IT. Smart CIOs know they can’t point to this past spring and say “we’ve already innovated!” IT must be able to lead the business into a future that is completely reliant on technology-based solutions.
So where does that start? How can you ensure your organization is ready for the future?
We must start with the foundation – and that foundation includes service management. Now, before you roll your eyes and say “been there, done that”, let’s talk about why you should revisit your service management foundation right now.
The changes in your business may require a change in your foundation.
You may have had the smoothest, most cohesive workflows, value streams, and service management practices before COVID-19. But things have evolved and your service management practices need to also evolve to better support those changes.
Your foundations may have already had cracks in it.
Over time, foundations tend to shift. This is true for houses – and for service management. Perhaps pre-COVID-19, your service management practices were working well enough. Maybe there were one or two gaps in communication or service delivery but nothing significant enough to warrant restructuring or strengthening your service management practices. Well if something was only working well enough during the relatively stable period before COVID, then it’s not going to keep working well enough during the uncertainty of business during a pandemic.
Service management hasn’t been extended into the enterprise.
Enterprise service management is not a new idea. But many organizations have resisted it or many organizations thought they were implementing Enterprise Service Management when really they were just extending a few IT workflows. Silos, especially IT silos cannot be the norm anymore. With new ways of working, shifting business models, tightened budgets, and an uncertain business climate, it’s more important than ever for IT and other parts of the organization to collaborate to co-create value and drive the business forward.
Band-aid solutions will only make everything worse in the long run.
Finally, we all need to recognize that some of the solutions IT implemented in response to the pandemic were never meant to be long term solutions. I think IT departments and CIOs across the country produced some of their best work this year with the rapid transition to remote work. What was accomplished is extraordinary but it was only one piece of the puzzle. We didn’t know in the spring how much COVID would change businesses. We didn’t realize we had to create sustainable solutions for remote work, new business models, and new revenue streams. Most leaders made the best choices they had at the time. But now that we know this is a long term situation, we have to revisit the choices made and the solutions put into place to ensure if they are still the best options available. Because if they aren’t, they could slow down workflows, stress out employees, create silos, and hold back business growth.
All things considered, this is a unique opportunity for every IT organization. There’s never been a moment like this one that is so prime for strengthening service management, breaking down silos, and leveraging technology. The end of 2020 isn’t going to magically end the uncertainty in the world right now. The problems of today will continue presenting themselves until we make the necessary changes. Take advantage of this time of uncertainty to strengthen your service management foundation because that will help you in 2021 and beyond.
If you haven’t taken stock of the strength of your service management practices yet, here’s what you can do:
Align your service management goals with the organization’s strategic goals
With a new year right around the corner, IT needs to align themselves with the rest of the organization and create strategic goals that will support the entire organization. Revisit your plans for 2021 and make adjustments if necessary so you can prioritize service management initiatives that align with business goals.
Define and map your value streams
The way value flows through your organization to the end customer has probably changed. Your value streams and their supporting workflows will have changed as well. Value streams are cross-departmental so while you’re aligning strategic goals, collaborate with other parts of the organization to map your new value streams and ensure IT is supporting the entire journey — all the way to the end customer.
With clear strategic goals and redefined value streams, you’ll find yourself in a stronger position to help the business innovate and survive this chapter – and the ones to come.
Is your remote work solution no longer working? Book a free 30-minute consultation with me to discuss how to find longerShare