Digital transformation brings opportunities and challenges. As a result, changes in the business environment - whether favorable or unfavorable - constantly occur, often in multiple areas at once and at an increasingly fast pace. As organizations adapt, complexity rises, and their business demands for the service desk increase along with it. This calls for organizational change at the service desk that needs to be implemented continuously, pervasively, and swiftly to keep up with business demands.
What Exactly Causes Complexity?
Technological innovations and their quicker pace of delivery have led to a continual accumulation of structural changes. Over time, this has increased complexity in ways that often go unnoticed.
Picture it this way: Every innovation has a ripple effect of ongoing changes. For instance, when the company you work for launches a new product line, changes are made to the production process, marketing strategy, price structure, sales and service training programs, IT infrastructure, and more. The resulting complexity may be challenging to handle and burdensome for your clients.
Complexity is rooted in evolving structures, products, and processes, yet managers frequently exacerbate the problem even more. For instance, a simple information request from an executive can trigger a cascade of reporting tasks, including purchasing new reporting solutions.
How to Simplify
Change must be incorporated into a holistic strategy to combat complexity. First, if you only simplify processes without addressing organizational structure, product offerings, and work behaviors, it will result in decreased productivity rather than increased productivity. Second, simplification must be viewed as a business imperative that contributes to bottom-line success.
Before attempting to tackle this challenge, the organization should be structured for collaborative, bottom-up engagement, leaders should be influential, and employees should feel inspired to change ,and empowered to contribute to the change effort.
How to Make a Case for Change
Any change initiative should begin by overturning complacency and convincing employees that an immediate change is required, essentially instilling a sense of urgency. Since urgency is more emotional than intellectual, employees will feel the need to change rather than merely think it is a good idea. To engage this emotional dimension, consider sharing angry customer testimonials or illustrating the potential harm to the business.
Give employees a say in what will be changed and how to maintain engagement. They will feel more invested in the outcome if they are actively involved in the planning process.
How to Align on the Strategy
Establishing a clear vision for change during the initial stages is essential. This vision aims to direct choices and decisions and to "rally the troops" around a unified purpose. Align on a playing field that must be adhered to, but within these predetermined limits allow for ample freedom and room to experiment. Leaders must be effective listeners and incorporate employee feedback to develop this vision.
As previously mentioned, managers frequently make complexity worse; thus, any endeavor at simplification requires them first to improve their own practices and lead by example. "The military leaders most successful in battle are also those who earn the admiration and loyalty of their troops. In business, as in war, the best leaders are those who lead from the front lines" (Patton, MacArthur, Sun Tzu).
Leaders must also foster a culture of accountability, transparency, and collaboration. Another military saying goes, "Officers who fail to correct errors or to praise excellence are valueless in peace and dangerous misfits in war" (Patton). Once the vision and the playing field have been established, monitor and share OKRs (objectives and key results) or other performance evaluation metrics to ensure that everyone is still engaged and dedicated to the shared goals.
Which Services to Trim Back
Once you have the ideal organizational structure, vision, and leadership in place, it's time to assess the services that the service desk provides and determine which ones have the most significant business impact. Instead of only focusing on which services have been used the most, this analysis requires considerable thinking. Simply examining statistics about the issues you most frequently assist in resolving might paint the wrong picture. Instead, zoom out from problem-solving and focus on comprehending the tasks that your customers want to get done.
In the end, people want to be as productive as possible so they can concentrate on getting their work done with the fewest possible interruptions. Keep that in mind when validating the services you have in place, including knowledge articles, training, and other processes. Ultimately, you want to tailor your service offerings to the demands of your customers, which entails cutting some to enhance support for others.
How to Continuously Succeed
Paradoxically, it takes a lot of effort and complexity to make organizations simple and keep them that way. "There is no such thing as simple," to quote Martin Scorsese. "Simple is hard." Complexity drives up costs, reduces profit margins, and hinders the ability to invest in growth opportunities. Therefore, to deal with the effects of digital transformation, it is imperative to instill a culture of continual process improvement and simplification.
Make sure every change you undertake to simplify matters serves the business strategy and is as simple as possible. For example, establish a uniform reporting protocol and vocabulary and create a playing field where all employees know the rules and expected behavior.
Maintaining employee engagement throughout the simplification process can be powerful, particularly at the grassroots level. So, encourage improvement and simplification ideas, and keep spreading the word about successful simplification initiatives through meetings, newsletters, lunches, and other settings.
The most crucial thing to remember is that you want to turn simplification into a dynamic, continuous process rather than a one-time effort.
Although digital transformation has profound positive and negative effects, ultimately, it has resulted in substantial advancements that benefit us all. To maximize these advantages and propel your digital transformation efforts, always remember, "Progress means simplifying, not complicating" (Bruno Munari).
Nancy Louisnord is the Global Chief Marketing Officer of MANTA, responsible for the company’s global marketing programs and product marketing strategy. With more than 15 years of global leadership experience in the B2B IT SaaS industry, she is a sought-after presenter at conferences and one of HDI’s TOP 25 Thought Leaders and HDI’s featured contributor. MANTA offers a comprehensive data lineage platform that gives companies full visibility and control of their data pipeline. Manta has helped companies enhance governance by building trust in data, reduce incidents through proactive risk analysis, and accelerate digital transformation.