Over the past few months I’ve been working with the HP and the Microsoft marketing teams on some new services. Core to my strategy is the current state of many enterprises resulting from mergers and aquisitions, globalization, downsizing…you name it! Having survived within HP over the last seven years (Knock on wood) I have a strong sense of what organizations are dealing with especially their employees. Specifically, how do you perform in an environment where change occurs quarterly? You cant rely on management or peers to support your efforts! To better understand the implications, lets identify some key problems that have resulted from this rapid change:
- Employees dont have a clear view of their organization – who does what? where do I get help? who can help train me? where do I seek advice?
- Mergers and aquisitions – where do I find information? how do I get reports from these disconnected systems? who do I call for help? what is my role it seems to conflict or overlap with others?
- Customer service – I dont have information I require to service my clients. My computer system isnt user friendly, I have to many applictions open to service my client and as a result my client is kept on the phone longer while I struggle. I’m not able to focus on servicing them – instead I’m fighting technology!
- Work environment – what is a work environment these days? An office? Car? Airport? Plane or coffee shop? I no longer have an office or desk at work!
If you’ve been in the workforce for ten years or so you can most likely relate to the aforementioned change and its staff performance and customer service quality implications. For myself, having a job that takes me to other cities and countries adds some interesting implications compounded by a company that is ever changing and the very public mass layoffs. Sometimes its just impossible to find the people and resources you require to service my clients so I take alternative routes such as just in time learning, working around company politics and persuing partnerships. In the case of my office, its a mix of airports, home office, car, coffee shops and hotels. Most of my meetings are conducted in my car or from an airport. Recently I presented to the HP and Microsoft marketing teams from Tampa airport using Livemeeting and my cell phone. While in Australia, I conducted an online Demo of SharePoint to a client in Toronto Canada. Besides the time zone complications the technology delivered.
So as a C level person within your organization, how do you create and environment where your staff can perform? Well, there are a few steps to getting there, most important of all you require a roadmap that keep you focused and helps enterprises dealing with distractions along the way.
The roadmap consists of a few key items:
- A governance team that distribute inputs and decision making in a manner that is condusive to business objectives
- An information design that links enterprise content with staff job goals and tasks
- An IT architecture that create the linkages to the applications and information
- A network that links the application and information with staff and devices (tablets, handhelds, laptops, phones)
- A communication program that keep people informed and provided two way channel to business units and staff
- A schedule and resource plan with realistic milestones and progress indicators
How can you tell if you require such a roadmap? Here are some key indicators:
- Senior management isnt able to link IT with business/staff performance
- Many LOBs don’t view IT as providing much value and consistently about value for the money
- Anarchy amongst the LOBs whereby the y have taken IT strategy, architecture and purchasing into their own hands
- Business isnt able to respond to client/business partner demands
Interested in Microsofts view? Bill Gates