Spending all your energy and time in the workplace on today's task of busyness will not drive your organization, department, or career forward. Spinning plates isn't progressive.
This blog looks at operational efficiency from a unified communications lens, but the principles can be applied to other disciplines.
What is Operational Efficiency in UC?
In layman's terms, operational efficiency in UC refers to when an organization strives to manage their unified communications (UC) optimally. Operational efficiency is all about reaching operational maturity where UC is a well-oiled machine that doesn't break down. Faults are spotted a mile before they get a chance to cause any havoc. Small glitches get resolved quickly with comprehensive troubleshooting. Everything runs smoothly; no big outages, no finger pointing, no chaos.
Operational efficiency, or operational maturity as it's sometimes known as, can be referred to in stages: chaotic, reactive, proactive, automated and service aligned. The aim is to be always reaching for the next stage. Improving operational efficiency reduces costs as well as freeing up UC engineers' time, meaning they can focus on more strategic projects.
What Operational Efficiency Goals should Companies set?
Companies come in all shapes and sizes and on varying levels across the operational maturity spectrum. Initial goals are often to immediately get out of fighting fires and reacting to problems as they happen in their UC environment. These companies need to stop waiting for their customers to report issues before they know themselves, they want to gain control, be proactive and not be solely dependent on historical reports. When customers get over this hump it changes their day-to-day working lives.
Other companies start by focusing on joining the dots from disparate systems into one place – dramatically reducing the mean time to identify problems and causes, in turn their overall resolution time hits the floor.
The other common category companies fall into at the beginning of their operational maturity journey is overseeing the deployment or migration to a new system. As you can imagine if you implement a new system and it performs worse than the existing one the stakes are high; jobs, investment, projection plans and more. Clear goals about where you want to get to makes it easier for everyone involved.
How should these Goals change over time?
The goal posts change depending on where companies start, the challenges they face along the way and the direction their organization is heading. Here are a few common goals that emerge as companies mature:
1. Global rollout: it's not unusual for an organization to have varying levels of operational efficiency in different regions as a result of acquisitions or regional ownership. In these instances, their goals might change to bring all regions up to par.
2. Digital transformation: operationally mature unified communications can be used as a vehicle for digital transformation. Digital transformation initiatives are only successful when supported by a solid UC foundation. It requires a mammoth effort to digitally transform. Teams must collaborate and communicate efficiently in order to drive the change required for digital transformation; high performing, operationally mature UC enables them to do exactly that.
3. Automation: once organizations' UC are successfully migrated or updated they may put an emphasis to further automate tasks and fixes to continuously drive down the time their engineers spend on repetitive tasks.
4. Adaptive: change management is important for organizations but is often treated on a project by project perspective basis. Having the flexibility to adapt to changing trends as they happen can be a more enviable position, hence why goals may be set around initiatives that enable this adaptiveness.
Fine-tuning UC management to meet digital transformation goals can elevate the operations department to be a champion for change by setting and achieving operational efficiency goals in their UC environment.
How can Achieving Operational Efficiency Goals Transform an Organization's Operation?
Internally the perspective of a department can switch from: “it's broken, again! *eyeroll/sigh*” to “oh, that's cool, I hadn't thought about that before”. The mindset shift is an important piece of transformation, let me explain. If everyone only talks to a team when they're about to explode due to a system being down the outlook will be negative. But if you get rid of the noise and outages and the team is turning to the rest of the organization saying “we found a, b and c and avoided X amount outages last quarter as a result” the dynamic has changed. If the conversation moves on to “we replaced this, we updated that and we're working on 123 to achieve best practice” your team starts to get a different type of interaction. Suddenly the UC team are no longer the people shouted at to fix things, they're the experts leading the way for transformation through everyday changes.
To find out more about transforming your UC operations download this report from Nemertes Research.