When’s the last time you were surprised to find a computer in someone’s office? I’m betting not in the past three decades. The “digitization” of business has become so fused into the essence of our daily lives that we barely think about it anymore.
Even though we’ve been digital businesses for nearly a generation, there are still massive opportunities to innovate, be more productive, and delight customers – by increasing that digitization and putting technology even more at the heart of the firm.
As a result, the C-Suite agenda in nearly every company is wrought with Digital Transformation initiatives more than any time in recent history. (Note the 33 million Google responses you get when you search for the term.)
It’s somewhat incongruous, then, that most firms are not particularly mature in their digital journey. In fact, a recent study by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte found that a whopping 75% of firms say they are only “early” or “developing” their digital maturity [2017 Deloitte and MIT Sloan Management Review (SMR) Digital Business Report]. Only 25% of firms that say they are further along and already in the “maturing” phase of digital maturation.
For your business to thrive – or even survive – in the Age of the Customer, those stats just aren’t good enough to compete.
Even for internal teams, Forrester Research’s recent Enterprise Service Management study found that employees today expect the same kinds of experiences from the companies they work for as they do experiences as a consumer.
Service Management in the Enterprise
Most of our clients are on the “defining a system of work” stage of their digital transformation journey. Practically, that looks like consolidating their IT operations and identifying and fulfilling a digital Enterprise Operating System (EOS) need to simplify their enterprise’s system of work.
Floating above and below the core functional systems of CRM, HR, ERP & product systems, digitally maturing firms are embracing concepts of “Service Management” that connects all these core functional systems and allows for the management of requests and results while processing in a single (hopefully cloud-based) platform.
How transformative a role will Service Management play in the future of digital business?
In a recent article discussing the advent of Enterprise Service Management, Forrester Research predicted that ESM will become the Fabric of Digital Business within the next 10 years.
We believe it. So much so that we have aligned our entire business model to support Service Management using the ServiceNow platform. If you haven’t heard, ServiceNow is a cloud-based platform, originally used in IT to build world class technology service management. The fastest-growing billion dollar company (ever!), ServiceNow is rapidly being embraced by digitally maturing firms.
Here are some examples of Service Management in action.
- Acorio has a very large Financial Services client that put ServiceNow in place as the backbone for all requests involving legal, HR, Marketing, and IT.
- A large retail client is using ServiceNow to manage requests and reports between franchisees and headquarters.
- A global real estate management firm is using it to be “Employee Central” to ensure a curated employee experience from the hiring process all the way through to becoming a firm alumnus.
As these examples show, ServiceNow is becoming the “fabric” for requests and processes to get customers and employees what they need, when they need it. For firms looking to mature their digital maturity, this efficient system of work is leaving more time for innovation and advancing the digital transformation agenda.
The Cross-Functional Impasse Stalling Digital Transformation Efforts
The digital transformation journey requires firms to embrace new technologies, empower talent, and most importantly enable cross-functional initiatives.
Why is cross-functional connection so important?
Think about it this way:
Imagine if Roger, who wants to know when a latching defect on the windows he resells will be fixed, sends a request that doesn’t have to stop in the CRM solution, bypassing the dreaded internal email thread completely.
Or, suppose Mary with a new baby is able to ask about timing of health benefits or short term disability via a solution that can tell her instantly – without the entropy and wastefulness of email.
EOS technologies, especially ServiceNow, have brought together enterprises’ previously disparate, siloed technologies, through their core of cross-functionality. This offers a holistic approach to resolve issues, such as those listed above, thanks to unique workflows, orchestration, and automation all of which exist in one, single cloud-based platform throughout the enterprise.
The benefits of a digital EOS, thanks to its focus in cross-functionality, are worthwhile – both in terms of time and cost. Unsurprisingly, 78% of firms in the “maturing” category of the SMR/Deloitte study say they focus on cross-functional teams – versus 28% in early stages of their digital transformation.
Digital transformation requires visibility across the functional silos of an enterprise. So while disparate digital functions – like ERP solutions, which solve complex financial issues, or CRM technologies that allow us to digitally capture our customer interactions – have advanced our firms mightily, they lack the necessary visibility to enable cross-functional initiatives.
Your First Three Moves Towards Transformation
Whether just getting started or further along on their digital transformation journey, we advise our clients to leverage ServiceNow new EOS in three clear steps.
- Set a Digital Transformation Roadmap with desired outcomes. Identify the need for ServiceNow and make your roadmap a multi-year process. Be sure to track all elements of talent, systems, processes, and outcomes.
- Get Leadership buy-in. Leadership support is critical to any long-term project success. We have helped many customers create a vision, light-weight governance structure, and business cases that drive, all three of which can help ensure understanding from leadership.
- Try it and Move Fast. Start with one small project and set a rollout schedule for this first innovation within 3-4 months to demonstrate an early win and ensure success. If your EOS is already in use in IT, identify one other area like HR or some portion of Customer Service.
With an Enterprise Operational System, your organization can “provide a seamless, friction-free, and responsive fabric for digital business operations” so your employees can focus on what truly matters: innovation, productivity, and satisfaction (both customer and employee) to not just compete, but ultimately flourish in the Age of the Customer.
So, while the process to become digitally mature (like implementing an advanced EOS) can feel daunting, it’s important to not let those fears hold your enterprise back. Because the risk of not progressing in today’s digital world will be much more destructive than the small challenges and growth spurts you’ll experience throughout your enterprise’s maturation.