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Finding Your Business’s New Normal

continuous improvement in ServiceNow to reach a new normal at work, blog cover of woman working from home

Note: This article is the third installment of a three-part blog series by IT Business Management (ITBM) Practice Lead, Janeen Osselborn. The first articles were Sustaining Virtual Processes with Situational Adaptation Planning and IT Business Management and Adapting in ServiceNow: Supporting Your People Plan, Contingency Plan, and Communications, respectively. 

The past few weeks have brought about many sudden changes for all of us. When it comes to business, the most notable is a focus on converting all daily processes to their virtual adaptation. When considering this, the old proverb ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ rings loudly true and our forced adaptation comes with the potential for an enormous opportunity with what could be long-ranging and permanent benefits.

Our IT Business Management (ITBM) practice has responded to resounding client demand to help them quickly leverage aspects of ServiceNow maturity not yet conquered to sustain their processes through virtual means until this challenging situation has passed.

As part of that response, we’ve created this blog series to help you look at what benefits have been gained by learning more about your teams, your processes, your ability to adapt…and yourself?

If you approached this not as an unplanned response to the unknown, but as a challenge to help your organization get lean by thinning out wasteful activities and learning more about where their strongest talent, capabilities, and adaptation exists, could you consider the exercise a success?  Consider this a trial run – take what are your collective learnings, no matter how big or small, and put the good stuff to good use.

Think about these benefits:

People

The people benefits comes with a selection of considerations.  Not only should you look at how people performed, but also to what they reacted or responded.

Performance Factors

  • What was important to the employees involved, on a human level? Was there a means for them to communicate this to leadership?  If a response wasn’t possible at that time, how best can it be provided now?
  • Will there be some means to capture resource feedback, after the fact, to make improvements for your ‘next time’ plan?
  • What portions of the plan had the most positive or most negative results?
  • What actions garnered the strongest reactions?

Talent

  • Through this experience, what people and roles show the most adaptability, agility? Where do leadership characteristics shine?
  • How can your organization evolve by better leveraging its talent?
  • If you had to do this all over again, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?

Taking all that has been learned and incorporating it into the plan back to steady-state may take some doing.  Consider establishing a role that is specifically focused on supporting the organizational change that will take place during this transition.

Don’t forget to recognize those who made a meaningful contribution during the recent upheaval – there is no better way to strengthen team bonds than by recognizing the challenges and showing sincere staff appreciation.

Process

The fortifying process should be at the heart of every continuous improvement initiative.  There should always be a least one active process improvement initiative happening.  Companies that invest in ongoing process improvement see greater returns inefficiencies, cost-effectiveness, and employee morale.  Employee morale you may ask?  Sure – from a staff perspective, it isn’t a good feeling to deliver wasteful processes or results that are considered valueless busy work.  Useless actions also lead to a lack of confidence in leadership as those delivering them will wonder why they are perpetuated.

One of the most core benefits an organization can gain from successfully surviving an unexpected change is a focus on what are ‘practical’ practices.

In a situation where some form of reduction is required, what core processes are/would be prioritized as life-sustaining for your organization? To find out, answer each of the following questions with honesty as part of an exercise in self-reflection, with the goal of gaining permanent overall process improvements.

  • Were there processes or process actions that were deemed unnecessary?
    • What processes fell by the wayside and what value was/would be lost as a result?
    • Is there a cost – value justification for putting these processes back into place when possible, if they’re put on hiatus?
  • Were there processes that were greatly streamlined and simplified as part of a conservation effort?
    • What aspects were cut or reduced?
    • Were there wasteful actions that were not influential on the quality of the end result?
  • Were there processes missing?
    • How was the gap uncovered?
    • What is required and why?
    • Is there a benefit to making this new process permanent?

By identifying where the areas for improvement stand out, as either concerns or opportunities, and formally capturing them for discussion, whether sooner or later, they won’t disappear from the horizon when the situation at hand dissipates.

If there was no formal continuous improvement area, role, or focus, this experience may help your leaders to change their minds.  Talk together about options to keep these concepts alive.

Platform

As a direct benefit of the recent changes, there may be a brand new appreciation (and a significant increase in demand) for all that the ServiceNow platform can deliver.

As you contemplate what future state processes will look like when you take both ‘best’ and ‘practical’ practices into consideration, know that the system can facilitate them in an efficient, effective, sustainable, and scalable manner.

Now is the place (and also the time) to assess your current and future-state solutions for people, processes and platform capabilities.

Looking to learn more about IT Business Management? Take a look at our complete ITBM eBook.

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