Tag Archives: Good ITSM

Business-IT Alignment isn’t a 50-50 Deal

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More and more companies are transforming via digital transformation and discovering new lines of business or radically changing their existing business models through the use of technology.  What does this mean?  It means that IT and the business have no choice but to become aligned if they want to succeed.

It’s no longer just “nice to have” alignment between business and IT. If the IT organization isn’t aligned with the business, the business will go around IT to make their initiatives happen — and that can have catastrophic consequences for everyone. 

It’s one thing to have a meeting with both the business and IT in the room and claim that you’re aligned.  But the realities of what alignment looks like and what it really means for IT and the business is more complex than simply adding IT to meeting agendas. 

What does it mean for the business and IT to be aligned? Who’s responsible for creating that alignment?

From Service Provider to Solution Provider 

According to Tim Winders, Vice-Chancellor of Information Services at Purdue University Northwest, “IT is aligned with the business when IT moves from being a service organization to delivering business solutions.”

The subtle difference between providing business solutions and being a service provider requires a proactive approach. As Tim explains it, “In the reactive model, IT fixes problems but is outside of the decision-making process.”  Being proactive as an IT organization means being “a collaborative business partner delivering solutions that solve specific business problems. IT collaborates with the business to identify business problems to provide proactive solutions, improving products, customer experience, and business reputation.”

The days of IT just implementing the right technology are long gone. IT has to be an engaged part of every business strategy discussion because technology touches every piece of the business.  IT must be engaged from the beginning if that technology is to work to enable value to the business and its end users. 

Mike Gill, CIO at Marian, Inc, explains it this way, “You need to ensure your solution delivery provides value. The value is not if you have the best technology or it runs the most efficiently, the value is if it solves a problem the business has.” 

Of course, it’s easy to say that the IT organization is driving value and is aligned with the business. But what does ‘alignment’ actually look like?  How do you know if you’re aligned? 

What Does Business-IT Alignment Look Like?

If business-IT alignment is connected to driving business value, then you have to start there. Of course, as I’ve pointed out before, the problem with “value” is that it’s a perception. What’s valuable to IT might not be valuable to the business – and vice-versa.  So it’s important that value is identified and agreed by every stakeholder in the organization — customers, partners, suppliers and internal stakeholders. Defining and agreeing on the definition of value as an organization is the first step to getting IT and the business aligned. 

Once value is defined, you can refine your workflows and processes to ensure they are actually delivering business value, including the appropriate measures within those workflows to check for value. For example, Mike shared a way that he can determine if IT is aligned with the business. 

“We have an internally developed ERP system and have the freedom to implement workflows that provide maximum business value – it is a custom system tailored to our company. One sign that we are aligned is looking at transactions in the system,” explained Mike. “Are users doing all the steps in real-time or are they catching up transactions at the end of the day? Looking at the logs you can see if a process that should occur over a longer period (days, not minutes) is mirrored by a similar timeline of transactions in the system. If I see those transactions happening by different people over the course of a day or two then I know the system is aligned to the business (both function and usability). If I see all those transactions happen within minutes of each other then I know they are just catching up work into the system because they must – [which indicates that IT is] not aligned.”

The key here is that Mike made sure the technology fit and supported the workflows of the business, instead of the other way around – a key to business-IT alignment. This enables the technology to be instrumented or monitored to confirm business value – and therefore, better aligned with the organization. 

Additionally, to ensure you’re aligned, look to see if IT is being invited to new projects and initiatives at the kickoff meeting. According to Mike, “It is easy to invite IT leadership to monthly and annual executive status meetings and feel like you are giving them importance or that you are aligning business and IT. That does matter, but it matters more when the regular business projects and initiatives are inviting IT representation in the first steps. It means the business and IT are given the chance to stay aligned from the beginning rather than create the feeling that IT just does what the business says – that never leads to good outcomes.”

IT leaders must regularly check in with other company leaders to ensure that IT is involved with all upcoming initiatives.  If you do that, you’re on your way to business-IT alignment. 

What To Do About Business-IT Alignment?

Once some signs of business-IT alignment begin to appear within an organization, you have to ask yourself one thing: “What am I going to do with this opportunity?”

I believe that IT organizations struggling with business-IT alignment fall into one of two camps. The first group doesn’t know how to achieve business-IT alignment. For that organization, they need to collaborate across the organization to define and agree on value, co-create workflows and solutions to achieve that value, and work together to monitor and continually optimize those solutions.

The other camp consists of organizations that believe that they have business-IT alignment – but they don’t. This is a much larger number of companies than the number of organizations that just can’t figure out alignment.  For these companies, the IT organization is in danger of losing its influence in the company – if it has any influence at all.

Business-IT alignment can often become performative in organizations. It’s easy to have meetings, to gain an agreement on a definition of value, and to create workflows that should enable the realization of value. It’s another thing to ensure that everyone in the organization – both from the business and from IT- is following through and living that definition of value. 

The important thing every IT leader must do is identify what happens after the big discussions, after the kickoff meetings,  and understand what is really going on in the day-to-day running of the organization. Is your team clear on the value it delivers and how it delivers it? Are you enabling your team to work across departments and proactively identify and promote the value you’re delivering? Are you enabling the rest of the organization to have input in how IT is operating and to provide feedback and suggestions for what needs to be done from a business perspective?

Business-IT alignment isn’t a 50-50 split. To achieve and maintain alignment, both IT and the business have to give 100 percent to make alignment work. But before they can both commit 100%, one team has to be the one to step up and put all the effort in first. I believe that team is the IT organization.  IT has to start giving 100% toward business-IT alignment,  even before the business commits to alignment. It’s work to get into alignment and the onus will fall on IT, especially in the beginning – but it’s work that pays off.. 

And remember, business-IT alignment isn’t a one-and-done activity. It’s a continual process that has to be monitored, mapped and measured on a regular basis. 

My challenge to you is to share: how are you staying aligned in your organization? What are your methods for checking and measuring business-IT alignment? Where are the gaps in business-IT alignment that you need to fill?

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Don’t Believe These 6 Service Management Myths

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I have said before that service management has gotten a bad reputation. But that bad reputation is somewhat deserved because the service management of the past failed a lot of companies. I’ve heard from many IT professionals that they have tried service management and it just didn’t work or worse, they have current service management initiatives but they’re not sure if it’s working.

Service management has evolved over the years and many of the beliefs out there are just plain wrong. What if I told you that service management is a secret weapon that can solve many of the challenges facing a modern organization – if only more professionals understood the true power of service management?

It’s time to bust some service management myths.

Service management means fitting into a strict framework

This idea of adhering to an inflexible, strict framework is one of the biggest service management misconceptions. Many people view service management as being overly restrictive and that in order for it to work, you have to fit your organization and workstreams into exact, inflexible parameters. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Good service management is first understanding how the organization wants to derive value and outcomes from its use of technology, then applying the right methodologies to enable the realization of that value and outcomes.

This means that you should first identify your organization’s specific challenges and goals, then adopt and adapt approaches that best leverage people, capabilities, and technology in such a way that will address those challenges. You can drop in different aspects of service management best practices without forcing your team to adopt every single best practice. Good service management is customized to meet the needs of the organization, not the other way around.

Implementing service management requires a new tool

Another common myth of service management is that it’s all about the tool. Often, when I ask a prospect about their service management environment, they’ll start talking about the tools they are using, and not the business challenge they’re trying to address. This tool-first mentality around service management is problematic – it means many organizations go straight to investing in a tool before understanding what they are trying to achieve with service management. And because tools are never “magic bullets”, implementations of tools without understanding the why behind adoption of service management rarely delivers the outcomes that the organization needs.

Good service management isn’t an out-of-the-box solution. You can’t just fire up a new tool and expect everything to magically start working correctly. Instead, you need to start with the groundwork of mapping where you are currently. Map value streams, get clear on who is responsible for what and identify where you’re experiencing gaps in service. You need to get a clear picture of how your organization is currently delivering services before you can even start to think about a tool.

If you skip this step and go straight to investing in a tool, you’ll end up with an expensive tool that still doesn’t solve your problems. Or you’ll have a tool that is fully featured but your team can’t even use half of the features.

The bottom line is, if you want to properly implement service management, don’t start the conversation by discussing tools.

SM is only for large enterprises

To some, service management is a bureaucratic mess of processes that is only necessary in a company of thousands of people. But small and mid-sized companies need service management just as much as the bigger guys.

Good service management means:

  • Reliable, consistent, and relatable services
  • A measurable contribution to business value
  • Efficient, data-driven, defined, and documented processes

If you’ll notice, there’s nothing that says that good service management requires a big team. Service management is simply about delivering great service as efficiently and effectively as possible. This is so important in small and mid-sized companies! You’re getting just as much accomplished with smaller teams so everyone needs to work smart and find the workflows that will keep the team operating as efficiently as possible!

There’s no “minimum employee count” for organizations wanting to implement service management. It can make a positive difference in any size organization.

Service management is just about the Service Desk

Many people think service management is just something that the service desk does. Sure, the service desk is important and it will benefit from service management initiatives. But the goal of the service desk is to deliver a smooth experience for users. It doesn’t represent a holistic view of how value and services flow through the organization. And the service desk by itself cannot deliver good service management; rather, it relies on being integrated with all other parts of the organization to deliver good service management.

Service management is about providing and managing the right combination of people, processes and technology to enable a business to meet its objectives and deliver measurable value. The service desk is part of this but it’s just one piece of the overall puzzle. True service management extends far beyond the service desk.

Service management is just ITIL

I’ve noticed many people use “service management” and ITIL®1 interchangeably which contributes to much of the confusion around service management.

Service management is about the holistic view of a business and its IT capabilities. It can act like an operating model for the business of IT. It’s an overarching view of how IT operates within the context of the business and how IT helps the overall business achieve its goals.

On the other hand, ITIL is a collection of guidance and advice for implementing service management practices. Using a sports analogy, service management is the playbook for the season while ITIL may be a specific play executed on gameday.

Service management is only about IT

Finally, we have one of the most pervasive myths about service management: that it’s only about IT. Of course, for a long time it was known as “IT Service Management”, so it’s no wonder that this is a belief.

For service management to be truly effective, it must reflect and support entire organizational value streams, not just the IT portions. Technology is no longer department-specific. Technology connects entire value streams in nearly all organizations. If you don’t have enterprise-wide workflows that support value all the way to the customer, you likely have a bunch of disjointed pieces that result in a poor customer experience.

This idea of service management being used across the business is more commonly referred to as “Enterprise Service Management” and it’s becoming more prevalent. Limiting service management practices and views to only IT is severely limiting the organization’s ability to grow, scale, and meet the ever-evolving expectations of their customers.

Service Management: A Secret Weapon

Service management is often viewed as being old-school, restrictive, and too basic. However, if you look at service management with fresh eyes and recognize the difference between quality service management versus the myths of service management, you may end up seeing that it is the solution you’ve been trying to find all along.

Interested in learning how service management can improve your organization? Has your organization fallen victim to one or more of these service management myths? Let’s talk – book a free 30-minute consultation here.

*ITIL is a registered trademark of AXELOS Limited.
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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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When Your Remote Work Solution is No Longer a Solution

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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 longer

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Can the CIO Save The Day?

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This year has been a banner year for IT. It’s only because of IT that so many organizations could continue operating in the face of the pandemic. IT has done its job on winning over the rest of the organization and most of the organizations now know they can count on IT. According to the 2020 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey, 61% of the 4,200 IT leaders surveyed said that the pandemic has permanently increased the influence of the technology leader. So how can the CIO and IT leverage this new-found influence? How can IT become more than the team that keeps the lights on? 

I think that this new influence can help the CIO become the most valuable player on the leadership team because they’re the glue that keeps everything together.

Now, some may argue that the CIO has been thought of only as leading a support team for decades. So they could not in fact be the glue holding an organization together. But that was before the technology boom. Today, technology is a foundational component for every business. From communication to employee experience to the customer journey, technology plays an important role in every piece of every business. As the impact of technology has grown, so must the role of IT. While IT and the CIO used to only solve technology issues, they now must solve business issues because the business needs technology. 

That’s why the CIO has the opportunity that no other executive does. No other executive can impact another department as much as the CIO can.  

This is, of course, a force that can be used for good – or evil. The CIO can be the bottleneck, holding back every initiative due to poor service or inefficient workflows. But they can also be the hero of the organization: playing an integral,difference-making role in every initiative.

John Bruno, Chief Information Officer at Aon, explains that the CIO role can become “an integrator – someone that works across the entire organization.”  

So what can a CIO do begin breaking down the silos and helping other departments?

 

  1. Get out of IT and into other departments.

The biggest problem so many CIOs have is that they can’t see the forest through the trees. Or to put it in more blunt terms, they can’t overcome the IT fire-fights that come up every day to actually get out of IT to see what’s happening in the rest of the organization. It is absolutely imperative that today’s CIOs do this. If you don’t feel that you can see beyond IT issues, then you’re not going to be able to support the organization as you need to because CIOs have to be the integrator. They have to be the ones to connect the dots and it’s impossible to do without collaborating with other executives and understanding what is occurring in their departments. 

What would happen if you as the CIO were able to take 2-3 hours a week to meet with other executives to understand their initiatives – and how IT can help make those initiatives successful? What would it cost you? If your IT organization were to implode because the CIO took 2-3 hours every week to work with other departments rather than help put out IT fires, then your approach to service management needs attention. The right service management workflows and foundation ensure that IT runs smoothly and is able to serve the organization, while the CIO works to innovate other areas of the organization. If you’re struggling to even find the time to work with other departments and trust that your IT team can keep running, it’s time to clean up your service management. Book a consultation with me and we can discuss how to get started.

 

  1. Identify the impact of technology in other department initiatives 

As I said earlier, technology is the thread that ties everything together and as the CIO, you hold the thread. You should be actively looking for ways to enhance other department initiatives with technology. 

In the old days of IT, many CIOs would roll their eyes at the idea of making more work for themselves by collaborating with other departments. But today, the innovative CIO knows that it’s not about making more work for IT. It’s about unlocking opportunities for IT to step up and play a more influential role in the organization. 

That means that CIOs have to get comfortable offering suggestions and solutions to other executives. Imagine what would happen if a CIO offered to support the head of HR in automating and digitizing the employee onboarding process. Imagine HR and IT co-creating that solution together, instead of HR assuming what technology they needed or IT forcing a solution upon HR without even understanding the complexity of the problem. 

Instead of a forced solution where neither side is happy, everyone would walk away with a collaborative outcome that improved the business overall.

And this isn’t just an HR opportunity. The CIO could do this for every other department.  Because you as the CIO are the expert in technology, you can offer your expertise to every area of the organization. 

 

How to Get Started

First, before you start working with any other department, you need to be certain that IT can operate efficiently. That means optimizing workflows and identifying any gaps in your service delivery. You can’t offer value to anyone else without first cleaning up your own department. (And if you need help, that’s my specialty! Book a consultation here.)

Once you’ve done that, begin forming partnerships with other executives. Invite them to ongoing meetings to learn about their initiatives and technology needs. If you approach this partnership as an opportunity for their department to achieve their initiatives faster and with less resistance from IT, then they are going to be onboard with working with you. 

Slowly but surely, you can begin to work with every department in this manner and before you know it, the CIO has not only elevated the status of IT but also the entire organization. 

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Can good ESM lead to better EX?

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What is employee experience (EX)?

A recent Forbes magazine article described EX as “the sum of all interactions that an employee has with her employer during the duration of her employment relationship. It includes any way the employee “touches” or interacts with the company and vice versa in the course of doing her job. And, importantly, it includes her feelings, emotions and perceptions of those interactions.”

What companies are learning is that EX is a really big deal and is becoming a critical factor in the success of the modern organization.

Why all the fuss?

There are a number of reasons why EX is getting so much attention across businesses today.  First, happy employees make for happy customers.  This Harvard Business Review article discussed the strong statistical link between employee well-being and customer satisfaction.  A study conducted by Glassdoor showed that a happier workforce is clearly associated with an organization’s ability to deliver better customer satisfaction.

It is easier and less expensive to recruit, retain, and grow employees when there is consistently positive EX.  When companies create outstanding experiences for their employees, people want to work for and stay with these companies.[1]

Another Forbes article discussed the correlation between good EX and profitability and value.  For example, the stock prices of companies appearing on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies rose 14% per year from 1998-2005; stock prices only rose 6% for companies not on this list.  A Globoforce-IBM study found that organizations that scored in the 25% on EX saw 3x return on assets and 2x return on sales.

Indicators of good EX

But here’s the thing.  EX cannot be directly measured.  Think about it – how can you measure how someone feels?  Sure, you can conduct surveys or interviews and get a general impression of how employees feel about their employers and work environment, but this approach has some level of subjectivity.

Secondly, many organizations are under a mistaken perception that EX is just something to check off a list.  But EX is not just about employee appreciation lunches or passing out gift cards, nor is it something that is just the responsibility of an HR organization.  Rather, it’s the entire organization that influences and promotes EX.

Good EX is largely the result of an organizational culture that values employee contribution, collaboration, well-being, purpose, and other factors within the workplace.  It truly does come down to how employees feel about their organization, their management, and their job.

Good EX might be indicated by high net promoter scores, high employee retention rates, or smaller time-to-hire measures.  As mentioned above, good EX may even show up on the bottom line in the form of increased profits or market value.  But none of these indicators are scientific measures good EX.

One thing for sure however – just as with a positive organizational culture, people know good EX when they experience it.    Can good enterprise service management help enable that positive employee experience?

What is enterprise service management?

During his recent Cherwell Software CLEAR 2020 keynote address, Sam Gilliland, CEO of Cherwell, discussed how taking an enterprise service management (ESM) approach has helped many organizations weather the service support and delivery challenges caused by the pandemic.  By having an organization’s service providers, such as IT, Facilities, HR, and others utilizing a common platform, those organizations were not only to respond to the operational challenges presented by the pandemic, but they are also able to thrive despite those challenges.

But what is ‘ESM’?  Is it just dropping the “IT” from ITSM and replacing it with an “E”?

ESM is about taking an enterprise, not departmental, approach to managing, enabling, supporting, and delivering an organization’s products and services in a way that co-creates value and delivers measurable business outcomes.

In a nutshell, I believe that good service management can enable a better EX.  Good service management brings transparency and measurability into organizational operations.  Employee can see for themselves how the organization is performing, and how their contributions result in organizational success.

ESM encourages collaboration and teamwork by enabling and supporting holistic workflows.  Each part of any organization must work well for all other parts of the organization in order to achieve success.   Conversely, organizations whose departments work in isolation from others cannot react to or respond as quickly to changes in marketspaces and business as organizations that think and work holistically.

By having these holistic workflows in place, employees can be confident that they are doing the right things right.  Holistic workflows also help employees avoid having to make multiple individual requests with individual departments within the organization just to achieve needed outcomes.

3 things to do to help service management enable better EX

Is your organization’s approach to enterprise service management enabling a better EX?  If not, here are three things you can do:

  • Automate the obvious – not just within IT, but across the organization. Those simple, but repetitive and tedious tasks currently requiring human intervention can be better served by automation.  Automation in turn enables employees to work at their own pace on their own schedule, which is a satisfier when it comes to EX.
  • Identify and map enterprise value streams. Most value streams within an organization cross departmental boundaries.  For example, take onboarding a new employee.  Not only is HR involved, but also IT and Facilities. Where are the handoffs?  What work can be done in parallel?   Mapping and understanding how work and value flows through the organization is critical for enabling positive EX. Are there any gaps or delays in how work and value flows through the organization?  How does technology and process enable those value streams – and are there opportunities to optimize those value streams?
  • Develop employee journey maps. Employee Journey Maps (EJM) are similar to customer journey maps but are focused on the employee’s journey with an organization. Where does an employee encounter friction? Can the use of technology or automating processes eliminate that friction?

While good EX is largely the result of nurturing the desired culture within an organization, ESM can augment that experience through proactive management of work streams, well defined and streamlined processes, and delivering valuable products and services. Yes, good ESM can make for better EX!

[1] https://www.socialchorus.com/blog/future-of-work/the-employee-experience-in-2019/

 

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