Tag Archives: enterprise service management

Three reasons why now is the right time for ESM

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Enterprise service management (ESM) is an organizational capability for holistically delivering business value and outcomes, based upon shared processes, appropriate technologies, increased collaboration, and better communication across the organization.[i]  ESM, done well, enables positive customer and employee experiences, improves business agility, and enables impactful digital transformation.

ESM is nothing new. ESM, as discussed as early as 2005, was characterized as simply extending IT service management (ITSM) practices across the organization. Since then, organizations have realized that ESM needs to be an enterprise capability and competency – not just the domain of a single department.

Effective ESM gets the entire organization on the same page. Good ESM practices reflect and support the entirety of enterprise value streams, not just the IT portions. This enables teams to have clarity around how work and value flows through the organization, and how technology underpins that workflow and enables value realization. And in the digital age, knowing how work and value flows through an enterprise provides the organization with the ability to quickly shift and react to changes in market spaces – critical for business success.

But herein lies a couple of challenges.

Many organizations are “process poor,” so there’s been little effort in defining and documenting processes, depicting how inputs are transformed into measurable outputs. Secondly, individual departments often operate in isolation or function as if they’re at least somewhat isolated from others within the organization. Organizational workflows and value streams are poorly understood, and if value streams are defined, those value stream definitions are often limited to a single department.

Three reasons why now is the right time for ESM

Why is now the right time for ESM?

  1. Digital age organizations can’t afford to have siloed departments working in isolation. Everyone within the organization must understand not only how their work contributes to success, but also the upstream and downstream impacts of their work. ESM facilitates this shared understanding of how work is done within an organization.
  2. Automation and AI adoption benefit from effective ESM. Generative AI (GenAI) could be used to generate and maintain knowledge across the organization. Capturing, generating, and maintaining knowledge is among the most tedious activities within an organization. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Intelligent Automation (IA) could result in improved customer experience and more resilient and efficient operations of customer-facing activities.[ii] Good ESM standardizes workflows that underpin enterprise value streams, enabling the capabilities of these and other emerging technologies.
  3. The world is mobile. Despite recent organizational return-to-work mandates, the work-from-anywhere genie is out of the bottle. And if the workforce is mobile, it only makes sense that the customers of an organization are also mobile. Both employees and customers expect a frictionless experience when interacting with systems and technologies. Again, good ESM underpins enterprise value streams and workflows that enable efficient and effective workflows and experiences for both employees and customers.

The opportunities are here – is your organization ready?

Today’s digitally driven, consumer-focused economy demands that organizations conduct business at digital speeds.  At the same time, organizations must deliver a differentiated customer experience over their competitors. And if that’s not enough, organizations must also ensure that risks have been optimized as both employees and customers interact with technology. Seems impossible, doesn’t it?

But that is what effective ESM can do for an organization. ESM, done well, results in increased operational efficiency, improved collaboration between departments, reduced costs, enhanced customer satisfaction, and the capability to adapt quickly to changing business needs. ESM helps enforce better governance and compliance. And improved service delivery resulting from good ESM enables a differentiated customer experience.

There are two critical success factors for ESM adoption.

First, implementing ESM usually involves significant changes to existing processes, roles, responsibilities, and workflows. Organizational change management becomes crucial to address resistance, communicate the benefits of ESM, and provide proper training and support to employees. Managing this organizational change effectively can pose a significant challenge. But the result will be having enabled and confident employees that are more engaged, more invested, and that have and deliver a better experience.

Effective ESM requires integrating data and systems from various departments and teams. This can be challenging due to disparate systems and legacy technologies within an organization. Ensuring smooth data and system integrations is crucial for effective ESM implementation. Taking an iterative approach provides the opportunity to “learn by doing” and realizing some quick wins, while at the same time, optimizing risk to the organization.

Get started with ESM

The sooner that organizations begin ESM adoption, the sooner the organization will realize the benefits of an integrated and responsive organization. Here are four suggestions for getting started with ESM.

  • Define your digital strategy. How will digital technologies enable the organization to achieve its mission, vision, and goals?
  • Make the business case. Document the reasons why the organization should adopt ESM. Define the specific objectives for ESM, including opportunities, benefits, financials, and risks.
  • Establish a guiding coalition. Having a group of committed people to guide, coordinate, and communicate ESM efforts is a critical early step for success.
  • Map value streams. Understanding how value moves through an organization is critical if an organization is going to elevate itself above siloed work and into true enterprise service management.

The differences between organizations that are internally siloed and those that are truly agile and integrated will only become more pronounced as technologies such as automation and AI become more mainstream in the world of digital organizations. Now is the time for ESM.

If your organization is struggling in its digital evolution, it is time to develop your digital strategy, map value streams, and adopt ESM – and we can help. Contact Tedder Consulting today to find out how.

[i] https://www.dougtedder.com/2021/02/01/esm-business-strategy

[ii] https://omdia.tech.informa.com/om019736/more-vendors-squeeze-into-the-intelligent-automation-space-as- enterprises-embrace-the-technology

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The Curious Case of the Missing IT Strategy

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IT organizations often get stuck in a vicious cycle of never-ending work. IT implements solution after solution, fixes one problem after another, and no matter how many times they do it, those solutions and fixes never seem to stick. IT often finds itself just trying to keep up with what appears to be a constantly changing business. IT is often seen as the anchor slowing business down and has earned a reputation of being the slowest path toward technology implementation.  And when budget times come around, IT never seems to manage to get its fair share. 

These are signs that an IT organization is missing strategy.  This is a massive problem for both IT and the organizations that IT works within. Why are so many IT organizations missing a strategy?  What can be done to establish a viable IT strategy?

One thing that is certain – the strategy can’t just be “do”.

The Missing IT Strategy

Of course, no leader intentionally avoids developing strategy. It’s usually a consequence of a number of factors. However, in the case of the missing IT strategy, the CIO has to establish a business-technology (not technology alone) strategy, talk and share that strategy with other leaders, incorporate and underpin the larger business strategy, and drive the IT organization forward following that strategy. If a CIO spends too much of their time doing or supervising the day-to-day work within an IT organization instead of delegating, she won’t have the time (or energy) to be strategic. If a CIO has to spend more time supervising the daily activities of IT than ensuring business outcomes and value, that’s usually an indicator of a missing IT strategy. 

The second indicator of a missing IT strategy is the lack of true service management. Why? Because if the service management foundation is not strong or well executed, IT can never be strategic. If IT ignores:

  • Defining services in terms of business value and outcomes
  • Creating workflows that are based on services, not technologies or organization charts
  • Publishing performance reports that are relevant to and meaningful for the business 

then IT is setting itself up for failure.  Many organizations look at service management as just something that a service desk does.  But good service management provides the capability of relating technology investments to business outcomes.  This makes good service management a critical part of the foundation of IT. Having a solid foundation is what keeps IT relevant, reliable, and able to scale to meet business needs. WIthout good service management, IT will waste a lot of time just trying to keep up with service requests and putting out fires instead of enabling the realization of business strategy.  

Finally, the third indicator of a missing IT strategy is a “one thing at a time” mentality. To stay on track, IT organizations often choose to focus on just one initiative at a time. This might help your team feel less overwhelmed, but it often comes with the cost of missing a holistic view of the organization. The ability to see the birds eye view of how the organization relies on technology to create better outcomes for end users and customers is one of the most important skills for an IT leader.  Having this big picture view enables the IT leader to be even more strategic.  

Why does IT need a strategy?

IT operating as only a support team is no longer an option for any business. The speed of business has increased significantly over the last decade, due in a large part to the introduction of new technologies, such as automation, mobile computing, cloud-based services and machine learning. IT has to be the driver and enabler of technology. Whether it’s realized or not, technology has become “baked into” every aspect of the organization. 

The question is “has IT become ‘baked in’ as well?”  Without a well-defined IT strategy, the answer to this question is usually “no”.   

Defining, socializing, and executing a strategy strengthens IT’s role within an organization. It’s what separates the IT organizations that are treated as order takers from the IT organizations that are treated as valued partners. 

How to solve the case of the missing IT strategy

Here are three things that IT leaders can do to solve the case of the missing IT strategy.

What is the business strategy?  How can technology enable realization of business strategy? To shift from a “support only” team to a strategic asset, IT first has to understand the goals and objectives of the overall organization – and how technology can be used to enable realization of those goals and objectives. IT’s strategy must be tied to these business goals and objectives. IT leaders have to take a step back from the inner workings, day-to-day activities of IT and look at the bigger picture of the organization. 

Elevate to real service management, not just some arbitrarily selected processes.  Once IT understands the role of technology in achieving business strategy, IT must then elevate its approach to service management.  Service management is more than just fulfilling requests and resolving outages. An effective approach for elevating service management is to identify and map the value streams of an organization, then identifying how technology underpins those value streams.  Value streams help identify the products and services that IT must deliver. This exercise not only lays out what service management must enable and deliver for the organization, it is also a great way to align what IT is doing to the overall needs of the business. 

Report IT performance in business terms. Once you’ve elevated your service management and understand the goals and objectives of the company, then you’ll be able to produce and publish performance reports that reflect how IT contributions enabled achievement of business goals and objectives.  Having this capability is significant for a number of reasons.  First, it demonstrates that IT truly understands what is important to the organization.  Secondly, it provides the ability to evaluate if IT strategy is meeting business needs.  And lastly, it begins to change the perception of IT as just being a “support team” to a strategic asset.

Thinking and working strategically is transformative for an IT organization. After you’ve seen how IT integrates with the rest of the organization, you won’t be able to go back to working only in a ‘support’ role.  By defining and executing an IT strategy , your entire business will become stronger.  

Need help developing an IT strategy that is aligned with your business objectives?  Let Tedder Consulting help!  Tedder Consulting will first visit your organization to understand your business, goals, and current IT situation.  Tedder Consulting will then conduct an analysis of your IT services and practices to determine how they are operating. Finally, we deliver a plan for aligning your technology strategy to your business goals.  For more information, contact Tedder Consulting today.

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Are You Due for an IT Health Check?

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If I asked IT leaders what it was like the week the world went remote in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I would guess 90% of them would have visceral reactions to the memory of that time. Many organizations were caught without any kind of technology contingency plan – and they felt the pain of that.

That hectic period should have taught every IT organization a valuable lesson – you can never predict when an IT emergency is going to hit.

Unfortunately, not every IT (or business) leader got the memo. They made it through COVID-19 disaster and went right back to the day-to-day grind, promising (hoping?) to get updated or new recovery plans in place when things slow down.

The problem is that the next disaster could be just around the corner. My apologies if this sounds fatalistic, but that is exactly what happened nearly 18 months ago. Organizations around the world were faced with a scenario that, while no one could have anticipated, very few had any kind of contingency. What will the next disaster look like? Could it be the moment that budgets are being reviewed and IT is suddenly on the chopping block? Or your supply chain breaks down and IT has to scramble to ensure customers receive their services?

IT disasters can be like heart attacks. There’s never a good time for one. But they can often be avoided – even prevented – by developing good healthy habits along with conducting regular health checks.

Three Healthy Habits of an IT Organization

How can you protect yourself and your IT organization from these IT “heart attacks”? Much like with your personal health, it all starts with developing healthy habits and regularly conducting IT health checks. Here are three of the top healthy habits you should develop in IT.

1. Regularly Discussing and Agreeing Business Value
IT has to understand the business value of their work. One of the healthiest things any CIO can do is to regularly connect with business peers to review value. Value is one of the hardest things to define within an organization, and may shift over time. The only way to confirm IT value is to review and discuss that value with other senior managers and leaders within the organization.

2. Regularly Review IT Service Definitions
Another healthy habit is clearly defining IT services in terms of business outcomes. Defining services demystifies what IT does and connects what IT does to business outcomes and value. Additionally, well defined IT services enable the organization to take advantage of its technology capabilities for competitive advantage. Regularly reviewing IT service definitions with other senior business managers not only positions the organization for taking advantage of current IT capability, but also to help identify and plan for future technology needs.

3. Regularly Map And Review Value Streams
Finally, having up-to-date value stream maps is a great health check for an IT organization. A value stream map illustrates how materials and information flow through an organization, and helps the entire organization clearly see how value flows in the organization. Value stream maps also provide a way for IT to identify where and how technology contributes to the value stream. Mapping and reviewing these value stream maps further enhances business relationships and also ensures alignment between IT and the business it serves.

Signs your IT organization needs a health check

  • Not sure if your organization needs a health check? Here are few signs that it’s time:
  • Your peers question the value and usefulness of IT products and services.
  • Your IT organization just can’t seem to get ‘caught up’.
  • You’re challenged to provide a clear ‘line of sight’ between investments in technology and business results.
  • IT is usually handed solutions, not opportunities, for solving business challenges.
  • Working in IT is chaotic and unrewarding. IT seems to spend more time “fire-fighting” and less time “innovating”.
  • No one asks questions about IT performance reporting.

IT Health Checks Don’t Have to Be Overwhelming

Much like eating a low-cholesterol diet and exercising more frequently, these IT health checks may initially feel like a pain that restricts your fun (or innovation, in an IT world). But the truth of the matter is if IT does these things on a regular and consistent basis, it stops feeling like a chore. You’ll have a shared understanding of business outcomes and the role that technology has in achieving those outcomes. You’ll have transparency between investments in technology and business value. And both the IT organization and the business overall end up with better outcomes, better investments, better relationships, and better businesses.

That’s why I strongly recommend scheduling regular periodic health checks for your IT organization. These healthy habits can’t be developed in a vacuum. They can – and should – be built into all your other initiatives.

At the end of the day, these “health checks” are service management activities. Service management shouldn’t be viewed as something that is done in addition to your work. Service management is how good IT organizations get work done in a manageable, reliable, and predictable way.

Need an IT Health Check?

Need help with your IT Health Check? We can help. With over 20 years of service management experience, Tedder Consulting can provide your organization with the objective assessment of the health of your IT-business relationship, and an actionable plan for instilling those healthy habits that will have a positive impact on your organization! Contact Tedder Consulting today!

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Don’t Go Chasing Electrons

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One of my biggest gripes about service management is that the work of service management has become synonymous with service management tools. This has really become an Achilles heel for service management. While service management tools are useful, they typically don’t take a value and outcome-based approach to identifying and defining services.

Because of this, many IT organizations have found themselves executing superficial service mapping initiatives that hardly get the complete job done. Rather than first critically think about services in terms of the value and business objectives that must be achieved with the use of technology, they buy and implement a service management tool. Then they use the tool to chase electrons across the network, map where those electrons went and what was found, and call it done.

Here’s why chasing electrons with a service management tool to define services can be the kiss of death to any real service management success.

What Service Management Tools Actually Do

I want to be clear that I am not “anti-tool”. Good service management tools are a vital and necessary component of any successful service management initiative. But those tools only address a part of service management challenges.

In its simplest form, using a service management tool to identify services is an exercise in chasing electrons. This approach focuses on the technology and seemingly puts order to that technology… so you can keep chasing more electrons.

But it’s this use of the tools that frequently causes the biggest problems with service management within organizations. Sure, this approach will find whatever is active on the network. It will group what it finds by application or system. But it also perpetuates the perception that service management is just about the tool… and not how good service management enables and supports the outcomes and value needed by a business from its investments in and use of technology.

Network maps don’t mean much if you can’t connect them to real business outcomes. Capturing what software is found on what hardware does not articulate the business value provided by that technology. An electronic discovery will never find the people, practices, or processes involved (and absolutely critical!) in delivering services within the organization.

What you’re left with is a reinforcement of a gap between IT and the business.

The Consequences of Relying on Tools to Define Services

Here’s what happens when you implement a service management tool without doing the prerequisite work:

  • IT spends a chunk of money on an expensive tool.
  • IT spends a large amount of time and money implementing that tool.
  • Because of the investments in both time and money, IT and the business as a whole feel they need to stick with their tool, no matter if it’s actually solving their problems.
  • When the initial tool implementation is done, IT and the business think that service management work is “done” as well.

Well, it’s not “done”. In fact, it becomes an ongoing issue. And the longer businesses ignore what should be service management, what should really be defined as services, the harder it becomes to fix it. As a result, IT will keep struggling with a reputation of being technology-oriented order takers. Yes, IT does more than configuring routers, writing code, and resetting passwords…but the tools don’t demonstrate that in business terms.

At some point after implementation, IT leaders have to ask themselves, “Have the accomplishments we’ve achieved with this tool helped us improve the value proposition of technology investments for my organization?”

How IT Can Stop Chasing Electrons

Defining services in terms of value and outcomes and implementing a service management approach that is actually about the business (not the technology) isn’t an out-of-the-box solution. But if you treat it like it is, you’re going to get stuck with definitions of services that don’t reflect the business needs of the organization and a burgeoning gap between the business and IT.

  1. IT needs to define services in terms of business value and outcomes

This is a point many would prefer to ignore, but it simply can’t be ignored. You can’t shortcut your way to defining IT services – and do it the right way. Tools will come into play at a later date and they will streamline the work, but they can’t do it without the right collaboration between IT and the organization.

Doing the work to articulate how your services enable or deliver business outcomes also positions IT to evolve as the business evolves. If we’ve learned anything over the last year, it’s that the way we do business can turn on a dime and IT has to be able to adapt to the ever-changing nature of how business does business. You can get ahead of the curve by having defined services in terms of business value and outcomes, then having ongoing conversations with your business colleagues about the value and outcomes needed from investments in technology, not just the technology.

2. IT needs to define the buying criteria for tools

You have to think about the long game with IT tool investments. It’s not easy to do, but it’s what builds the solid foundation of an IT organization that contributes to the bottom line.

IT has to define its tool-buying criteria based on business needs, not what the IT industry is seemingly telling them to buy. Every business is unique and solutions aren’t one-size-fits-all. Engaging key stakeholders to understand technology needs and business goals will help create buying criteria that will shortlist the tools into those that could actually work for you.

Additionally, establishing this buying criteria can help you improve your tool implementations. Often tool vendors or consultants will want you to implement a tool following some predefined technology playbook. But in reality, the best thing for your business is likely configuring the tool differently and in a way that best fits your business.

Before investing in a service management tool, ask yourself:

  • How does this investment answer the business value question?
  • Do we understand the types of outcomes that must result from this investment?
  • Why should our business want to invest in this?
  • Are we prepared to leverage the functionality of the tool?

Don’t Short Cut It

Tools are often marketed as an easy shortcut for your service management issues. But you have to think of investments in service management tools like running a marathon. A service management tool is like having a really good pair of running shoes. It can enable you to succeed. But if you haven’t done a pre-marathon training program, having good running shoes will only get you a few miles into the race – and then you will find yourself struggling. Good shoes alone will not help you complete the marathon.

Just like in running a marathon, you have to do the necessary work ahead of time to prepare yourself to win. You have to do the work to define your services in business terms, ensure you understand and can deliver the needed business outcomes, and that the work your team is doing is aligned with the business. Then, implement your tool and it will work better in the long run!

Good service management is not just about opening a ticket. It’s not just about resolving an issue or implementing a change. It is about how people, processes, and technology work together in a repeatable, measurable, and holistic way to consistently enable business outcomes and value realization by the entire organization. If service management isn’t doing this for your organization, I can help. Contact Tedder Consulting today.

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Read This Before Investing in an Enterprise Service Management Tool

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Are you considering Enterprise Service Management (ESM)? There has never been a better time to get started. A 2019 EMA study found that 87% of organizations surveyed already had some level of ESM underway so by implementing ESM, you’re keeping up with the competition. And you’re improving your employee and customer experiences to boot.

Before you go investing in a flashy tool, it’s important to recognize that ESM isn’t just extending ITSM into the enterprise. I believe that ESM is a business strategy that can drive your organization into the future for years. So it’s important you approach ESM implementation the right way. Rushing into it and just buying some tool on the market is a surefire way to have your ESM implementation end badly.

So before you invest in an ESM tool, there are a few things you need to address.

Prep the C-Suite

It’s possible that your C-Suite is in the mindset that a new tool will be the ultimate solution for your organization. They might be pushing you to identify and invest in a tool quickly. You will need to communicate that taking the following steps will lay the needed groundwork for the tool so that your onboarding process is quicker and you can start seeing results and revenue faster. Getting value from a tool is not instant, so whether you take the time before or after you invest in one, you’ll have to take that time. The benefit to doing the work before you invest in technology is that you will avoid investing in the wrong tool.

Confirm the rest of the organization involved and onboard
According to a McKinsey report, “70 percent of change projects fail because management is unable or unwilling to help employees embrace the change.” So it’s essential that people are involved in ESM before you invest in a tool. I want to reiterate that ESM is not about extending ITSM into the rest of the enterprise – it is about how work and value flow through an organization, and how technology supports that workflow. Therefore, other departments and teams need to understand how ESM will benefit them.

There are many benefits of ESM for other departments. ESM offers transparency to every department bringing clarity to every project and eliminating finger-pointing and cross-department blame. Just as an example, a 2018 HDI survey found that 52% of organizations who had implemented ESM saw an increase in employee satisfaction and 75% of organizations saw an increase in productivity.

You may need to identify a specific departmental initiative as an example to illustrate how ESM will work. Be willing to answer any questions that come up from these other departments. For ESM to succeed, you need them to champion it.

Audit your existing workflows.

Most organizations are too concerned with the implementation of the tool and fail to put any effort into the design of processes, measurements, and continual improvement—things that are critical for ESM success.

Your ESM tool is not going to be the magic missing piece. It’s not something you can just switch on and instantly everything will change. Tools can only automate or facilitate what is already defined and working. If you try to use a tool to improve a workflow that is already broken, then your ESM tool isn’t going to work very well.

Before you start pricing out tools, you first need to audit your existing workflows. For each workflow, you need to ensure the right people are involved, that the technology is working as it should and that there are no gaps in service delivery.

Creating value stream maps can be beneficial during these audits. Value stream maps provide a visual, holistic view of the entire workflow and how materials, information, and value flow through the organization to the end-user. It’s going to be the best way for you to understand how and where technology can improve efficiency or quality and increase value.

It’s essential you don’t skip this step because it’s only by having a full view of your workflows that you can identify the right tool that will fit those workflows. You want the tool to enable the workflow, not the other way around.

Audit your tools

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when looking for your ESM tool — in fact, you might not need to invest in a new ESM tool at all. Many organizations have service management tools that they aren’t using to the fullest capability because they haven’t done the work regarding r people and processes.

You may find after speaking with other departments and auditing your existing workflows that you’re not using your existing tools in the most optimal ways. You may find that existing tools have more features and functions you can use to improve your workflows.

The point is that technology is third in line of importance behind people and processes. Once you have your people and processes on the same page, the technology is the easy part.

Start Small

To effectively implement ESM, you may need to start small and try applying ESM principles to one initiative with one department. This can be an easy way to give the organization a win and demonstrate what ESM looks like in practice so other department leaders and the C-Suite have a tangible example to rely on.

Identify a project from a team that is already a supporter of IT or one that has a good working relationship with your team. This is going to help ease distrust and make implementation easier. Once you have one win under your belt, you can start promoting that win within the organization and continuing to implement ESM into other projects even before spending a dime on a piece of software!

ESM Is Worth the Investment

Enterprise Service Management is a business strategy that can increase revenue, improve efficiency, cut costs and improve the experiences of both users and employees. But ESM isn’t an overnight miracle. It’s a strategy and like any strategy, it will require optimization after you implement it. The only way to optimize is to have a clear vision of where you are starting. Doing this work will make it easier to optimize and to get more from your ESM investments.

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Are You Wasting Last Year’s Success?

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2020 was a historic year for CIOs. Before last year, there had never been a point when nearly every CIO had to completely restructure how their organization did business in just a matter of days — or even a few hours. But that’s what happened thanks to COVID-19.

Seemingly overnight, CIOs turned their organizations into remote companies. Some CIOs were able to accelerate their organization’s digital transformation efforts by years.

It was a tremendous effort, but many CIOs were up to the task – and it resulted in positive changes. According to the 2020 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey, 61% of 4,200 IT leaders reported that the pandemic has permanently increased the influence of technology within the organization.

However, the job of a CIO isn’t over after this win. No one should be sitting back and relaxing because of this success. Now, I’m not saying that any CIOs are simply sitting pretty, just basking in the success of last spring. But it is easy to slip back into a world of managing the daily fires within IT and lose sight of the larger business.

The organization is going to expect more now from the CIO than ever before. Now that the rest of the organization knows the difference a good CIO can make, they are going to want one that is innovative, proactive, and continuing to work for the bigger picture of business success.

Don’t get lost in the day-to-day management of IT and let the successes of 2020 go to waste.

Are you wasting last year’s success?

Here are some things to check to determine if you’re wasting last year’s success:

You haven’t reviewed what you implemented in 2020 to check for gaps.

This is not to take away the accomplishments of IT. The swift change to remote work was an incredible undertaking and if you knocked it out of the park, then you should feel proud of that success. However, that transition was likely rushed and lots of organizations implemented band-aid solutions. No one had any idea that we would still be dealing with the fallout of COVID-19 almost a year after the initial shutdown. It’s entirely possible the solution you implemented was never meant to be a long-term solution. Now’s the time to review those solutions and determine if they’re meeting the needs of your company today. You should also ensure that these solutions match the current business strategy. Did your organization pivot how they deliver value to the customer? Is remote work becoming a permanent part of your organization? How has your company shifted since the original shutdown last March?

You may find that parts of your remote work solutions simply aren’t meeting the needs of your organization anymore. You may need to revisit technology investments or redesign workflows to better fit the current goals and reality of your organization.

You’re ignoring foundational issues in workflows and service delivery.

Remote work is not easy, especially since many team members are working from home with their families and children. Have you addressed the workflows inside and outside of IT since the beginning of the pandemic? And what about service delivery? Have you surveyed colleagues to ensure their technology needs are being met? Workflows naturally shift over time, and with so much upheaval, there is no doubt that work has shifted and that value might not be reaching the end-user. Get an up-to-date view of your workflows to make sure they’re still delivering.

You’re not involved with the customer experience.

If IT has not been brought into the customer experience yet, your organization is already falling behind. 2020 completely changed how products and services are delivered and used by customers and technology played a huge role in that change. One of the many lessons that 2020 taught us was that CIOs and IT have to play a role in creating and managing the customer experience. So if customer experience hasn’t made its way to your “to do” list, it’s time to prioritize that.

You’re not involved in the employee experience.

Much like the customer experience, the employee experience quickly evolved in 2020. IT has always played a chief role in employee experience, but it’s more vital now. Many organizations are working remotely or operating in a hybrid remote/traditional office model. As I mentioned earlier, employees are under a lot of pressure as many are juggling working from home with their personal responsibilities, like managing virtual schooling or sharing home office spaces with their partners and roommates. CIOs and HR must work together to monitor how employees are operating and if they are receiving everything they need to do their jobs now.

You’re not actively engaging with the rest of the organization.

A true leader is not someone who hides out in their office or only deals with their team. For CIOs to maintain the status they achieved during the early days of the pandemic, they must actively engage with every department in the organization. IT is unique in that it is a cross-departmental organization. IT works with every other department within the organization to help them achieve their goals. CIOs must become more of a presence everywhere — and yes, even remotely. If you haven’t met with other department leaders and gotten up to date on their goals and challenges for 2021, it’s time to book some meetings on the calendar.

How to Capitalize on Last Year’s Success

If any of the above scenarios sound familiar to you, it’s ok! The CIO role is evolving and that takes some level of adjustment. But you want to act now if you want to capitalize on last year’s success. Here are some small steps you can take to get started.

Leverage what worked and previous successes.

Continual improvement is even more important right now. Most organizations are in the midst of change and to keep that change positive, you want to leverage the things that worked for you in 2020. Review your wins from 2020 and see how you can either enhance those wins with better service delivery, tightened workflows, or additional technology. Small wins like this can add up.

Look at where there are gaps in service.

As I already mentioned, some solutions implemented last spring were not meant to be long-term – and that’s okay. But now is the time to address it. Instead of thinking of these changes as huge overhauls or that you’re starting from scratch, they can simply be enhancements in your workflow or service delivery. The good news is that you did so much of the heavy lifting last spring when you originally made the switch to remote work.

Communicate and engage with other business leaders.

You earned their respect in 2020. Now it’s time to earn their trust. Other leaders in the business will be more open and inviting to you if you demonstrate that your goal is to help them achieve their goals. No other leader wants to feel like they have to be forced into IT’s workflows or that IT is trying to control their access to tools and technology. You have to prove that IT has moved past being the “Department of No” by being a collaborative partner who works towards the same goals. Start building these relationships one by one and you will create support for any future IT initiative.

I don’t want to diminish the success that IT leaders achieved in 2020. Like I said at the start of this article, 2020 was a banner year. Every CIO had to step up to the plate. But it’s important to check that you’re still taking steps to optimize services and leverage all your success from last year. My hope is that 2020 was just the beginning and that every CIO can keep innovating and playing a vital role in business decisions.

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ESM is the Business Strategy Every CIO Needs

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As organizations continue to work through a pandemic, adapt to an ever-increasing digital world, and adjust to new customer and employee expectations, CIOs must continue to step up to the plate to help navigate these changes from a business perspective.

Perhaps with some organizations, CIOs have not been part of business decisions in the past. The pandemic has shown that organizations can have success when working with IT as a business partner. The reliance on technology and new remote work expectations have paved the path for CIOs into the role of business success partner. Smart CIOs are taking advantage of the opportunity by presenting a strategy that can help the business holistically — not just the technology aspects within the business.

And that strategy is Enterprise Service Management.

What is Enterprise Service Management?

Enterprise service management, also known as ESM, is an organizational capability for holistically delivering business value and outcomes-based upon shared processes, appropriate technology, increased collaboration, and better communication across the organization, not just within IT. ESM, done well, provides a strong foundation for a positive customer experience, positive employee experience, and digital transformation.

Before we dig further into what ESM is, let’s talk about what it is not. ESM is not just about extending ITSM into enterprise. This is not about IT barging in and forcing its workflows on the rest of the organization. It’s not just deploying instances of IT’s service desk tool across the organization. ESM is focused on leveraging the best practices of service management across the organization holistically to co-create business value for the enterprise.

What effective Enterprise Service Management does is get the entire organization on the same page. ESM processes reflect and support the entirety of value streams, not just the IT portions. This enables teams to have clarity around how work and value flows through the organization, and how technology underpins workflow and value. And in the digital age, knowing how work and value flows through an organization provides the ability to quickly shift and react to changes in market spaces and is critical for business success.

Why is ESM a business strategy?

The biggest misconception about service management is that it’s just something that is done only in IT. Service management has always been about delivering real business value and measurable outcomes for organizations. While service management is often associated with IT, many are often surprised to realize that service management is also being practiced in other parts of the organization, such as HR, customer service, and facilities. What effective ESM does is help organizations connect these often-disjointed pockets of service management together, creating a better working environment and improved results. That is especially important in our current world.

The way we do business now has drastically changed. Remote work has become more of the norm. We may have thought 2020 was the year of remote work but actually, it’s just the beginning. The percentage of workers permanently working from home is expected to double in 2021. Many organizations are creating hybrid models for working, allowing for both work from home and remote work opportunities. Forbes reports that by 2025, an estimated 70% of the workforce will be working remotely at least 5 days a month.

This divide in working conditions and how work is being completed will impact the efficiency of the enterprise. There are plenty of benefits to operating with remote and hybrid models, but enterprises also have a higher risk of creating silos. This isn’t a technology issue, it’s a business issue – and it’s one that ESM can solve.

When enterprises commit to and implement ESM, the result is enhanced visibility regarding how value flows through the organization. This makes it easier to identify problem areas, simplify workflows, and clarify expectations and roles. Over the long term, this will increase efficiency across the organization, which means decreased costs and possibly increased revenue.

As we said earlier ESM is not just extending ITSM across the enterprise. This should not be seen as a hostile takeover by IT. The goal is to leverage IT’s service management expertise to improve overall performance across the organization. In order for that to happen, the CIO and IT have to lead the way in establishing ESM as a must-have strategy in the organization.

ESM does incorporate principles of good ITSM, and the CIO and IT should know the best practices and mistakes to avoid when implementing service management. This is an opportunity for IT to demonstrate leadership based on their past experiences working with ITSM. By showing the rest of the organization real-world examples of how service management has improved collaboration and made work more effective and efficient in IT, IT can make the case for how ESM can improve the enterprise’s workflows as well.

The CIO and IT can make their case even stronger because IT are one of the few departments that interacts with every other department every day. IT understands the workflows of other departments because it helped design and implement solutions that support those workflows. Using this knowledge, the CIO can present use cases for ESM using actual workflows and initiatives from across the organization as examples.

The trick here is to understand the overall business goals and how the goals of the individual departments contribute to those overall goals. This especially applies to the CIO. If a CIO can demonstrate how ESM helps link departmental goals to enterprise goals, and makes it easier to accomplish both goals, they can convince other organizational leaders to rally around the idea of ESM.

How to Start Implementing ESM

ESM implementation is the opportunity for CIOs to exhibit their business savvy while delivering a solution that helps the organization work in a more holistic fashion. But there will be those who resist ESM and will need to be convinced. You need three things for a compelling argument.

Make sure the IT house is in order

If IT is not running efficiently or doesn’t have its service management house in order, no one will be convinced that ESM is the right move. Before taking service management out into the enterprise, make sure that IT’s workflows are running like a well-oiled machine and that there are no gaps in services, support, delivery, or communication. The successful use of service management within IT makes for a stronger use case for adopting ESM across the enterprise.

Collaborate with Other Leaders

As we discussed earlier, you have to rally the troops around ESM before it can be properly implemented within your organization. Start by having conversations with other organizational leaders about their 2021 goals, their challenges, and their needs. That’s the best place to start the conversation, because you need other leaders to see the “what’s in it for them”. If you can illustrate how ESM not only helps individual departments meet goals, but also link those achievements to organizational goals, they’ll be more likely to support your case for ESM.

Develop the Business Case

Finally, after you’ve ensured that IT service management practices are in order, and gained support from other department leaders, you’re ready to develop the business case for ESM.

When developing the ESM business case, focus on the five factors of value — improved productivity, competitive differentiation, improved customer satisfaction, decreased cost, and increased revenue. Link the anticipated outcomes from ESM to one or more of these factors, and you increase the chance that you’ll receive full support and funding for ESM.

Looking for more support on implementing ESM initiatives in your enterprise? Book a free consultation! I can help you develop a plan for bringing ESM to your organization.

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5 Modern Use Cases for Service Management

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“Service Management” is in desperate need of a rebrand. For years, service management was synonymous with IT. It was branded as IT service management. But service management isn’t strictly about the service desk or specific methodologies. Service management is about improving how an organization creates, manages, and delivers value to its end users.

If you have already closed the service management chapter in your company’s book…it’s time to reopen it. Among the many lessons that 2020 taught us, one of them is that every organization needs service management to operate efficiently.

But service management of 2020 is not the service management (as it perhaps was considered) of the past. It’s something that every organization should use to solve its biggest challenges and enable holistic business solutions. I’ve identified 5 modern use cases for service management that address issues that many organizations are struggling with today.

Organizations have to operate under a hybrid work model.

One of the biggest impacts of the coronavirus is its impact on how businesses operate. Most experts are predicting that for many organizations remote work will remain an option for most employees, even after it’s safe to fully return to the traditional office environment.

This is going to lead to issues for the organizations because they are going to lose any “tribal standards” in how work is completed. For example, one week an invoice can be hand delivered to the finance department, the finance department verbally agrees to paying the invoice. They pick up the phone after payment and confirm to the rep that the vendor has been paid. But then, the following week, maybe the representative is working remotely, so they have to email the invoice to the finance department. Then there is a virtual back and forth email exchange around payment. There is going to be a lack of standardization which can severely impact the business. Of course, this is one small example. For something simple like processing an invoice, this hybrid work model might not significantly impact operations. But when the workflows are more complex and perhaps, lead directly to the customer, these often undefined by tribally-performed workflows can get backed up, criss-crossed and broken quickly.

The lack of consistent and defined workflows across an organization will be severely impacted with a hybrid workflow model. If you didn’t have defined workflows when everyone was working within a traditional in-office model, or if you had defined workflows – but they were never adjusted for remote work, then watch out. Work is going to be delayed, employees are going to get frustrated, and leaders are not going to be able to effectively measure the efficiency of their workflows.

Good service management is the solution for hybrid workflows. It provides a framework to create a flexible workflow for every important initiative. When implemented correctly and across the organization, you’ll be able to build a workflow for any type of hybrid workflow situation.

Customers are not experiencing the full value of a product or service.

Customers are being impacted by the changes in your organization. Whether it’s due to layoffs, broken workflows or tightened budgets, your customers will feel that decrease in value if you don’t account for those changes and adapt appropriately.

For example, let’s say Company ABC had to cut part of its warehouse staff and the rest of its employees are working from home. Without the convenience of having customer service agents in-house, sales representatives have become a bit slow to process orders. Because of a short-staffed warehouse, shipments are routinely delayed. The end result? A flustered team and a frustrated customer who starts looking for other options where their shipments will be delivered on time.

Value leakage is a term that has been brought up often during the pandemic. Value leakage happens when value doesn’t flow properly through the organization and the end user doesn’t receive the full value of a product or service. If value leaks from any part of a value stream, no matter if it’s the ordering process, the delivery, the actual product itself, or the customer service after a product has been received, it’s bad for the customer – and that’s bad for the organization.

Value leakage can be identified and corrected with good service management because good service management provides a holistic view of the value stream. It pulls back the curtain on how every department works with one another and will identify where there are bottlenecks and value leaks that inhibit value from reaching the end user. It also, as noted above, will help you to create a workflow that tears down silos and allows leaders to measure and optimize across the value stream so that if a customer doesn’t realize the full value of a product or service, you can easily trace back to why and where it can be fixed.

Bad tech investments are blowing budgets and ruining productivity.

This is one of the biggest problems I see that service management can solve. Too many organizations are putting their money into the fanciest, flashiest, newest technology on the market only to implement and find…. it’s not the magic bullet they were hoping it would be. Organizations end up with a very expensive tool that employees aren’t fully using and that isn’t doing anything to actually support the organization.

For example, during the pandemic Company XYZ invested in a project management software in the hopes it would keep the organization running smoothly while everyone worked remotely. Unfortunately, because the company was remote, training for the tool was non-existent and most of the company struggled with understanding how to best use it. Without any clarity regarding desired outcomes, defined processes, or how the organization intended to collaborate, each department adapted their own methods for working with the tool. Now there are seven different departments using the same software in completely different ways. Company XYZ is now in a hole with this expensive software and they have no idea how to get out of it.

So how does service management solve for bad tech? Well, the problem is often not the tech. It’s how that tech is being used. It’s never a technology problem. It’s usually a workflow or people problem. Instead of investing in different technology or adding on more features to this already expensive software, Company XYZ needs to get their departments on the same page and a standardized approach for using the tool and creating support services to help facilitate using the tool. This just so happens to be exactly what service management can do for you.

Organizations are straddled with restricted budgets.

Let’s look at the pandemic struggles of an average company:

  • Budgets have been cut because sales have decreased.
  • Layoffs have occurred so employees are terrified and overwhelmed.
  • The way we work has changed but workflows were never adjusted so there are lots of gaps in service delivery and in the overall customer experience.

That means organizations have to work smarter, faster and for less money.

No big ask, right?

The way to get your teams working smart and faster without more money or more help is to help them work better together.

Again, service management is a holistic view of the way organizations work together. It forces everyone to see silos, gaps, opportunities for improvement, and where they fit into the success of the organization. A transparent view of how value and work flows through an organization is your best opportunity for getting your team to work at its peak performance.

Transparency works in business. It can empower your team and creates a “no blame” work environment where everyone understands their role.

This cannot be done without implementing service management techniques.

Employee experience is at a low.

There have been plenty of studies done on how organizations that prioritize employee experience frequently report higher levels of customer satisfaction. But between a global pandemic, tightened budgets, mandatory remote work, and an “always on” culture, many employees are struggling this year and employee morale is low.

Unhappy employees means less productivity and worse outputs, which is bad enough. But if organizations don’t take steps to improve employee experience, then they could be scaring away top talent already at their company and scaring off talent from even applying or accepting positions.

Employees are the core of any business and creating a positive working environment — whether it’s remote or in an office — should be at the top of every leader’s priority list right now. When you can’t throw employee appreciation nights or offer free food in the break room, what can you do?

You can make sure that every employee has everything they need to do their best work. This could mean automating tedious and repetitive tasks, creating clear processes so everyone understands their boundaries and where others can meet their needs and in general, eliminate friction from an employee’s daily work. Once again, this is service management to a tee.

Service management isn’t about forcing everyone to follow a strict protocol. It’s not about how IT delivers services. It’s about how an organization works together to create a positive working environment, provide value, and delight customers. It’s a way to give your leaders and your team a transparent view of how value is created and delivered.

Let value lead the way in 2021 and let service management create that value.

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How To Avoid the Ghosts of ITSM Past

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What happened to IT service management? It feels like not that long ago IT was the master of its domain. But things have changed. Shadow IT is rampant in most organizations, there are higher expectations from consumers and less patience from end-users. IT organizations can’t afford to be unresponsive and uncooperative.

IT can’t keep playing by the old ITSM ways because they’ve stopped working. I’m not the only one who feels this way. According to a survey by ITSM.tools, only 24% of respondents think that existing ITSM best practice has kept up with the changing IT and business landscapes.

However, there is still a need for service management. In fact, I’d argue that the proliferation of technology in the workplace has made service management more important than ever.

Additionally, Enterprise Service Management is gaining traction among organizations, as is new technologies, such as AI and machine learning. Both of these will require strong service management foundations.

So what is a smart IT leader to do? You can’t keep trying to make new technology fit into old ITSM frameworks – but you can’t ignore the need for frameworks and processes. You need to avoid the ghosts of ITSM and instead apply modern principles of Service Management.

Let’s talk about the ghosts of ITSM past.

Seeing ITSM as Controlling

If there’s one thing that haunts ITSM, it’s the belief that it’s all about control and rigid processes. ITIL®, one of the most popular ITSM frameworks, was introduced in the 1980s and heavily focused on processes and managing IT infrastructure. But IT has evolved over the years and it’s become less about managing infrastructure and more about keeping end-users happy and delivering effective services.

While new versions of ITIL and other methodologies, such as DevOps, have been introduced, ITSM still struggles with having a reputation for enforcing unnecessary processes.

What CIOs and IT managers must do is learn more flexible frameworks and adapt them to work with their organization. ITIL4, DevOps and VeriSM™ have all become smart options for anyone looking for adaptable approaches that focus on efficiency, collaboration, and consistency.

A “Tool-First” Mentality

Another ghost of ITSM past that tends to haunt organizations is putting the primary focus on implementing the tool and not the processes, services, or people using the tools.

A “Tool-First” mentality is an easy mistake to repeat because, well, implementing tools is exciting. It is much more exciting than developing the enabling foundational pieces. Tool vendors make a lot of promises and to be honest, those tools can enable processes and make IT more efficient.

But modern ITSM means leading with services and processes and not with the tool. Before you implement a tool, you need to define processes, how the process moves information and work from beginning to end, and what activities will be performed as part of the execution of the process. It’s also important that you define the results from the execution of the process and how those results will be delivered and who will be responsible for each activity within the process. You need to define services in terms of value co-creation and measurable outcomes, and what’s in it for the customer, the consumer, and those that deliver and support those services.

This “services, processes, and people first” mentality is going to be extremely important with the new wave of AI capabilities hitting organizations. If your enterprise is interested in implementing AI, then the smart strategy is to define the objectives, processes, and roles before investing in a new tool.

Ignoring Business Objectives

For a long time, IT organizations perhaps didn’t feel the need to be involved with the business. Their focus was to manage the technology that supported the rest of the organization and let the organization grow the business.

But IT cannot afford to sit on the sidelines of the business. 81 percent of IT leads agree that CIOs are under extreme pressure to defend their investments and prove ROI. Technology places a role in almost every part of the business these days and much of that technology impacts the end-user. Nearly all business proposals today involve a technology component that needs evaluation and the C-suite will want to understand how that investment is paying off for them. Additionally, even for technology that doesn’t involve the end-user or relate directly to sales, the C-suite will want to know the ROI of that investment.

Properly managing technology in today’s world requires an understanding of the business, being able to communicate in the language of the business, and having a clear view of how IT and technology contributes to business objectives.

Being a Barrier to Technology

There was a culture of “no” that existed within IT in the past. It was easier to shut down tool requests or service requests within the enterprise. IT was often seen as the barrier to technology. But technology is so readily available these days and organizations will no longer wait for IT to say yes to a request.

According to an ITSM.tools survey, 40% of respondents think their IT department is behind meeting employee expectations – across services, support, and customer service – versus consumer-world companies.

Smart CIOs facilitate inter-department collaboration and communication. IT needs to learn to work together with the organization to deliver services within the enterprise and to the end-user.

Additionally, beginning to embrace Enterprise Service Management and co-creating processes with other departments to improve service delivery within the organization will help position IT as a leader in this new era of service management.

I recognize that it can be uncomfortable looking back at past mistakes and the ghosts of ITSM past. However, if we don’t look back, we’ll never learn – and the great news is that IT can easily avoid these ghosts. We’re in an ITSM renaissance driven by initiatives like digital transformation and the introduction of new technologies like AI.

Revisiting your ITSM foundation, defining the roles and processes, working within business objectives, and incorporating other departments into your processes and services will help bring your IT organization into the modern world.

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The CIO’s Guide to Enabling a Hybrid Workforce

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Looking back on 2020, one thing is certain: COVID-19 has permanently changed the way we work. Earlier this year, CIOs and IT departments were responsible for keeping organizations online and running as the world went into lockdown. The CIO role and the IT department finally began to receive the recognition they have long deserved for the critical role they play in organizations.

10 months into the pandemic and with a new year just ahead, leaders are looking at a future unlike anyone could have predicted at the start of 2020. Many organizations are heading back into the office, or will be sometime in 2021. But that return to the office won’t be what it was previously. Global Workplace Analytics is predicting that 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.

Remote work is becoming more accepted as “normal”, so this will cause what Forrester is referring to as the “anywhere-plus-office hybrid” model.

This presents a challenge that business leaders, especially the CIO, need to solve in 2021.

In addition to reviewing the remote work solutions that were implemented to ensure they will hold up for the long-term, the CIO needs to create an environment conducive to hybrid work – both in terms of technology and workflows.

Let’s address what a hybrid workforce will look like and what IT needs to do to address it.

The Hybrid Workforce

A hybrid “Work From Home” model is one in which some employees work remotely while others work on site. In this model, teams or departments may be split between working in the office and working remotely. For example, the IT team may be working in the office while the HR department works remotely. Additionally, there may be certain roles within each team that could permanently work remotely, either part-time or full-time.

There are many benefits to a hybrid workforce. First, the hybrid model opens the potential for hiring talent outside of the local area. There is the potential to increase employee productivity because team members can work how and where they are most productive, whether that’s at home or in the office.

However, a hybrid workforce has its cons as well. Communication will require extra effort, employee experience initiatives will need to be designed to meet both the in-office and remote employees’ needs, and enhanced transparency is a must regarding what work is being completed and who is responsible for that work is a requirement.

How to Enable a Hybrid Workforce

While there are so many advantages to hybrid work, there are also risks. Left unchecked, organizations may be introducing already existing bad work habits into a company with an increased reliance on technology for day-to-day collaboration. Leaders have to ensure they have strong, outcome-focused foundations in place in order to succeed with a hybrid workforce.

Here are three areas to pay attention to if you are moving toward a hybrid workforce.

Workflows & Automation

Automation is often the first topic that comes to mind when the topic of remote work comes up. However, you can’t successfully automate until you’ve optimized your workflows. No matter what your business is, workflows will have to change to meet this new workforce model. Some organizations may find that entire workflows have changed because their revenue streams changed. Other organizations may be looking for more automation because they experienced layoffs.

It’s essential to review current workflows and map existing value streams with other leaders in the organization. First, just map what currently exists – but then you’ll need to notate where you have team members working remotely, who will be working in-office, and what stages of the value stream require team members to be in person. Be sure to take into account communication (which I will cover in the next step) and mapping what those communication needs will be. This process may sound tedious, but it will help enormously when you start implementing these revised workflows for a hybrid workforce.

Once you’ve mapped your value streams and recorded your workflows, you’ll be able to identify where you have opportunities for automation.

Communication

While this might not seem like an IT initiative, organizational communications includes technology, such as online workspaces like Slack and Microsoft Teams. Mapping communication techniques is just as important as mapping workflows — especially with a hybrid workforce.

The CIO is one of the few leaders in the company that is capable of eliminating silos so they have to be at the forefront of solving the communication challenge. CIO should be sharing the mapped value streams and detailed workflows with the entire organization — not just within IT. Getting buy-in from other departments is crucial for success and it will allow you to have a conversation around the appropriate communication structures in a value stream.

This is where you can turn to technology to help. For example, you can automate reminders or even automate emails and notifications to be sent to the team throughout those workflows. You should also take into consideration that communication needs will include both virtual and in-person options. How can technology make this stream of communication feel seamless? What automations, reminders, tools, and options can you put into place that will get buy-in from the entire company?

EX

EX, otherwise known as employee experience, is another top priority for the hybrid workforce – and it isn’t just the responsibility of HR. Gartner predicts that CIOs will be as equally responsible as HR leaders for organizational culture change in 2021.

Getting employees to embrace a hybrid workforce model means getting them to embrace digital and technological solutions. The CIO must engage with the workforce to understand what tools they enjoy, where there are frustrations in the way employees work, and identifying opportunities to make it easier for a team member to do their job.

Try shifting the focus from productivity (output focus) to engagement (outcome focus). Engagement is about getting the work done. It’s how a team member feels connected to their work and their teams. Highly engaged teams can be a competitive advantage in terms of developing new products, attracting and retaining customers, and growing the business. And studies have shown that engaged employees are more productive.

CIOs must start working with HR leaders immediately ( if they haven’t already) to start surveying their teams and understanding their technology needs for how they engage with the company, their customers, team members, and accomplish their work. One useful exercise would be to develop Employee Journey Maps, which are similar to customer journey maps. These maps should encompass both remote workers, in-office workers, and those using a hybrid model. Look for where there is friction in the journey map with how employees get their work done. It’s an opportunity to identify and implement process improvements, underpinned by technology and automation, to eliminate that friction.

The future of work is bright. A hybrid workforce model can open so many opportunities for organizations to save money, increase productivity, and grow the business. But you have to approach it from the right perspective. Building strong foundations for a hybrid workforce will allow you to innovate faster and grow quicker in the future.

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