Workflows are key to future business success – but how do we get there?

Profile picture for user Jordi Ferrer By Jordi Ferrer May 21, 2021 Audio mode
Summary:
Jordi Ferrer, Vice President and General Manager UK&I at ServiceNow, outlines the three key priorities for workflows in the enterprise.

Image of a company workflow drawn on a piece of paper
(Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay )

Few industry leaders would disagree that this period in time is a defining moment for business success.

Although businesses everywhere have faced incredible challenges during the pandemic, it's important that we recognize the opportunities which have opened up, and the successes to be had as a result. The key concern now, however, is how can we make those positives long-lasting and ensure continuous improvement?

The first step for business leaders is to identify what it is they want to achieve now (before they decide how to do it), while accepting that doing so will require being open and adaptable to more change. And across the board many of their priorities remain the same; protecting and growing business, cutting costs, and moving from managing risk to prioritizing risk.

Streamlined workflows can make those goals a reality, driving simplicity and clarity across all business functions. But what does the road to getting those workflows in place look like - and how should business leaders harness them to get the best results?

1. Win hearts and minds

Workflows are critical to changing and adapting to new ways of working, but humans can be naturally change-averse - even more so business leaders who shoulder a lot of responsibility.

It's not difficult to imagine why: functionally-oriented organizations create functional silos, and that means jump-starting change can be an uphill battle. But given that today's world of work - and our businesses - are cross-functional, if data is stuck in one place, efficiency and productivity suffer.

That's why it's so important to switch focus from "How have we done it in the past, and how do we make old systems work?" to, "What is the right way to do it now?"

A key part of shifting that focus will be changing business leaders' minds to convince them that change is necessary by showing, rather than telling, the fundamental benefits of workflows.

Change can be daunting, but don't fall into the misconception that transformation can only happen by starting over. In fact, the best way forward is to work with what you have but make it work better for you; it's the less disruptive, and most cost-effective way to succeed in embracing workflows.

2. Get realistic about the future of work

I spoke with Paul Hardy, Chief Innovation Officer at ServiceNow about the future of work, and more specifically the misconceptions around AI and work automation which are currently happening as a result of the huge transformations which were expected, which are yet to come to fruition.

When it comes to the purpose of AI and machine learning businesses Paul believes that businesses need to shift their thinking away from ‘creating robots that take over our jobs', and instead look at how this technology can help us get our jobs done in the most efficient and productive way possible by automating time-consuming, mundane tasks.

Simply put: it's about prioritizing experience. We have all, no doubt, endured the frustrations of bad service. And for that reason, it's vital that businesses focus on getting the experience right not just for customers, but for employees too; this is the only way they will compete and succeed in the future.

It doesn't need to be complicated either - it's just a matter of having the right tools to facilitate and streamline workflows. If you get that right, the rest will follow.

3. Find a single point of truth

When it comes to executing change, disparate systems and siloed teams can make accessing a single source of truth difficult. But with one clear view of data, business leaders can ensure everyone sees eye to eye - ultimately, making reaching business goals that bit easier.

That's why having a single data model to support workflows and the right strategy put in place to implement them is so critical.

Not only does it provide a unified platform for business, it makes integration simple - and seamless integration is what underpins optimal workflows that produce great results. ServiceNow's partnership with the NHS, which continues to underpin the national vaccine delivery program, is a great example of this.

Conclusion

The potential of workflows is huge. They bring speed and clarity to complex business processes so your employees can work more effectively. In turn, it means more time to focus on what really matters to customers - experience.

It doesn't need to be complex. If businesses create a single point of truth, win customers' hearts and minds, and get realistic about what workflows can bring to them, they not only make a positive difference on the bottom line, but are also well on the road to reaping the benefits of workflows.

For more insights and content on how to use workflows to drive business success, access ServiceNow's annual user conference Knowledge 2021 here. 


For more diginomica stories from Knowledge 2021 visit our Knowledge 2021 event hub. Knowledge 2021 opened on May 11th and sessions are available to view on-demand until October 2021. This is the event registration link.