Adopting Technology to Create Operational Efficiency

Operational efficiency: it saves us time, money, and resources. It can be the difference between an organization reactively firefighting just to keep its head above water and one that can proactively prepare for the future, giving them a leg up on competitors.

Surely, then, it’s something that we’re all striving for.

Transformation tactics

There are various tactics we can use to improve our operational efficiency. Let’s dive straight into a few:

  • Regularly reviewing processes
    With knowledge comes power and this is especially true when talking about operational efficiency. Failing to understand and review our processes will lead to a lack of insight into where our areas for improvement lie. So, we must empower ourselves with the knowledge of our operations: perhaps extra training on a system will improve efficiency, or investing in a new piece of technology will greatly assist our team – what we don’t know, we can’t confront.
  • Embracing automation opportunities
    Simple admin or repeatable tasks don’t need the brainpower of our staff; they can be easily automated with technology. Doing so will free up the time of our employees, allowing them to work on more important tasks and, therefore, improve the efficiency of our operations.
  • Enabling cross-departmental working
    Our people are at the center of the product or service we provide; they all have the same end goal. But too often teams work in silos, duplicating tasks and using more resources than needed. Unifying our organization by facilitating departments working together will eliminate these problems. We can do this by implementing a single space to for teams to communicate, share processes, and resources.

Now, what do each of these tactics have in common? Technology.

The common denominator

In the modern day, our lives are led by technology. Smartphones are a staple item in our pockets, laptops connect us to our social and professional lives from anywhere, and we can’t board a plane without a tablet set up with multiple shows and games. Therefore, the fact that each of these tactics has technology as a common denominator makes a lot of sense.

Our love of tech means organizations are constantly striving to tap into this thriving market. Henceforth, the digital resources on offer to us appear to be developing almost daily. As a business looking to enhance operational efficiency with technology, the market can be a daunting one to enter – where do you start!?

Adopting ESM

As we’ve explored, there is a multitude of options at your disposal. But we’re going to explore Enterprise Service Management (ESM) as it’s where my expertise lies, plus, it incorporates each of the above tactics and is a great place to start your journey.

Simply put, ESM refers to the use of IT service management techniques and methodologies throughout an entire enterprise to improve business operations, services, and performance – and consequently, operational efficiency.

It begins with the adoption of a solution that has the capabilities to support your organization from top to bottom; for example, its functionality is just as relevant for IT as it is for HR and facilities. The most logical department to onboard first is IT – after all, we’re looking to use their approach to service delivery (they usually already use a similar system to log/resolve tickets). Then, it’s time to discuss the project with the other service teams in the business and start rolling it out to them one by one.

Now, the reason our operational efficiency is less than ideal is probably down to the fact that our departments are not working well together: they have their processes and can often be protective of these. So, when we broach the conversation of trying something new, you may come across a reluctance to change.

Luckily for us, the benefits of ESM are endless, and we can use this to our advantage to gain their buy-in for this new technological solution:

  • Better managing key performance indicators (KPIs)
    Each team will have its own KPIs that drive what they do and how they work. These could be X number of requests processes, X feedback from users, or X percentage feedback score. ESM software allows us to report on our goals quickly and easily, we can export data and evaluate regularly, often with easy-to-read graphs. So, instead of having to search through an excel spreadsheet to find out where they’re up to with KPIs, the team can save time and let the software do it for them.
  • Providing an improved and efficient customer experience
    Your organization’s service departments will be driven by their users – what if you could empower them to be able to provide a better customer experience? ESM systems have the option of utilizing a self-service portal, a place where your users can go instead of calling/visiting the department. You can add resources to the portal to encourage self-solving (meaning the service desk can be more efficient), allow for the creation of a request in just a few clicks, and enable the user to access services 24/7 – it’s a customer’s dream!
  • Saving time on mundane tasks
    ESM is often made by IT people for IT people, therefore you can be sure that the software will be up to date with the latest tech — for example, artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. This is useful for our departments as they can use this technology to automate certain workflows to make their lives easier, or even utilize an AI chatbot on the self-service portal so they’re not constantly answering the same questions.
  • Working better together
    If all the above doesn’t convince them, then there’s the fact that with ESM we can unify the entire organization. There will be one space where teams can easily tap into the knowledge of their colleagues no matter what department, communicate almost instantly so no more following up on email after email or rushing over to the other side of the office to request help, and share the processes that work and troubleshoot the ones that don’t.

Technology is the key to operational efficiency

To be efficient is something we all want, especially as business leaders. But we cannot expect that operational efficiency will one day just appear, we must understand exactly where our organization is falling behind and explore how we can improve this.

Technology offers the best solution to creating operational efficiency, especially if we find a digital resource that can elevate all the areas of our business. ESM is one of those, but there are others too – it’s about finding what works for your company, employees, and customers.

Luis Soares
Managing Director at TOPdesk UK | + posts

Luis Soares is managing director of TOPdesk UK.