As work increasingly relies on the use of technology, the job of making work "flow" is falling to the desk of the CIO. So how can CIOs make smart decisions about what technologies to employ at their organizations, and how to implement them in the most effective ways? They start thinking "lean".
Lean Manufacturing is about eliminating non-value-adding waste in a workflow, and focuses on total system efficiencies rather than isolated improvements. These principles can be great strategic guidelines for CIOs using (or thinking about using) ServiceNow. As Mark Edmead at CIO explained, “The essence of lean is to deliver value to the customer and to continuously improve the ability to deliver value by removing waste.”
Sound familiar? ServiceNow helps companies improve their internal processes and their external relationships, which is why lean principles can provide a useful framework for implementing these positive changes. Let's go over the three most relevant Lean principles for better ServiceNow management:
1. Create More Value With The Same Resources
Whether your customers are internal (employees) or external (customers), the demand is the same: deliver better service, faster. How do IT leaders satisfy the need? They cut the waste and refine the process.
ServiceNow helps IT organizations discover what their customers value by using good data, which eliminates guesswork. Gartner research has found that poor data quality may cost companies tens of millions of dollars in just one year. Since ServiceNow combines data from disparate systems into one source, decision-makers can be sure that their data on customer behavior and history is leading them in the right direction.
2. (Work)flow Is Essential
In lean, the value stream is comprised of all tasks and activities needed to create the value. In the IT world, we call it "Workflow." Get the workflow wrong, and your team isn’t as efficient and unified as they could be; get the timing wrong, and your customer may not care about what you have to offer.
“If there’s a disconnect between the executive team and the frontline employees, then the company faces consequences like low employee engagement and accountability, which may in turn result in wasted work or duplicated efforts later on, missed opportunities, and unmet customer needs,” according to The Dorsey Group.
ServiceNow streamlines workflows for delivering value to customers so that companies can meet their customers’ needs in the right way and at the right time. Company departments—from customer service to IT and finance to quality assurance—all share and pull data from a single source, which allows them to find patterns among customer concerns and fix issues proactively. And Crossfuze can help make workflows even more streamlined and easy for employees, so ServiceNow can be the best tool to help companies meet their specific customers’ needs.
3. Continuous Improvement
The lean principles of flow and perfection apply well to internal operations. Flow means that activities should be performed with minimal interruptions. Perfection refers to doing things right the first time.
Doanh Do at The Lean Way suggests the following for achieving flow: “Breaking down steps, reconfiguring the production steps, leveling out the workload, creating cross-functional departments, and training employees to be multi-skilled and adaptive.”
According to Do, perfection is about striving for incremental improvement: “Every employee should strive towards perfection while delivering products based on the customer needs. The company should be a learning organization and always find ways to get a little better each and every day.”
When many companies transitioned to be remote workplaces in recent months, the "flow" principle was tested. Rather than working without interruptions, many employees found themselves trying to focus in the midst of the distractions inherent in a home environment. Far from achieving perfection, many found themselves simply trying to get used to their new normal, such reaching out for IT help from colleagues who used to be just down the hall.
ServiceNow is a great tool for both in-person and remote workplaces because it gets information to the people who need it at the right time. For example, ServiceNow ITSM can help employees create tickets that go straight to the right IT employee to help with the issue. And the Visual Task Board “facilitate[s] solid communication among teams and ensure[s] that projects are on track, even while managers can’t manage as closely as they’re used to.” These features allow companies to flow through their work without interruption and focus on doing what matters most, rather than on repeatable manual tasks.
The lean principles of value, value stream, pull, flow, and perfection can be great guideposts as CIOs are striving to set up ServiceNow in a way that works best for their company. And ServiceNow works well as a tool for implementing lean practices to learn what customers want, deliver value, and improve internal processes.
Contact us today to learn more about ServiceNow and how Crossfuze can help improve your workflows.