Welcome to this blog series about Self-Service and Automation where we will discuss different aspects; end user, business, process, technology etc. Our intention is to keep the information valid for a broad audience disregarding what solution you will choose. We will split the big picture into smaller posts for you to digest “on the go”. As we are most interested in your opinion, comments are more than welcome as we see that the topic has no ”right answers”.
For our Swedish readers, we would like to promote a previous blog which will give you an overview on the subject.
“Maybe you should promote selected and efficient laziness”
If you tell a manager that his/her coworkers should be lazy, perhaps it will lift his/her eyebrows. Who wants lazy employees? But if you dig into the details, maybe you should promote selected and efficient laziness.
From time to time we visit customers where we see a lot of endless manual job performed in consoles. Other customers have active plans on how to automate repetitive tasks in different levels and ways. In some cases, we also see that there are tasks which are delegated all the way to the end user thru Self-Service. Take a guess on which are the laziest and most efficient.
Manual work will give you a number of drawbacks:
- You will have dependencies on certain coworkers who are specialized in a task. This will create friction during holidays, when someone is sick, if a coworker is retired or if he/she leaves the company for any reason.
- The work will notscale when your business is expanding.
- You will experience lack of data quality due to manually entering data and manually executing the process.
- This reactive work will block you to work proactively and focusing on business needs.
- There will probably be lack of documentation on the work performed.
The time to perform the tasks will be to long both when it comes to execution but also regarding lead time. The business will be frustrated, waiting for their tasks to be performed, instead of being productive.
“The big question is where to implement laziness, how to start the lazy journey”
Within all organizations it´s common that we inherit work tasks and approaches without questioning the tasks. Why not start challenge these processes and find synergies through automation?
One place where customers normally don’t question how sub-tasks are performed is the ”Hire and Fire” process for new employees. Included steps are often manual with many sub-processes that require a lot from the person who is executing the task in both time and knowledge.
Another approach is to challenge the organization in finding ”low hanging fruits”. Start with identifying candidates within the business support groups such as IT (Service Desk, server admins etc.), HR, Facility etc. After that you can engage these groups to list their top five workflows performed based on volume (per group). When you look into each and every workflow, identify manual time consuming tasks for the particular service. Note that you should address all parties included in the workflow; the support organization (IT, HR, Facility etc.), the end user, the manager and any other persons involved.
You could also look for quality issues within the data and the service. Any data quality problems could end up in new time consuming, ”cleanup” tasks, to correct the data afterwards. It is advised to look into all data handled during the workflow. When you dig into the details, identify if there are any repetitive time-wasting tasks to correct and if tasks (or whole workflow) can be distributed all the way out to the organization (e.g. end users and managers). Note that all tasks do not need to be fully automated as semi automation could give a great value.
“A structured approach, will help you find bottlenecks easier”
It is common that data within helpdesk systems is not stored in a good, structured way. Some customer unfortunately mixes incidents and requests together which makes it hard to measure them accurately. A structured approach is to to divide the tasks and define them as requests and sort them into categories.
To enable laziness and save time and money over time, you need to make an initial investment. But choose wisely where to be lazy = where to invest. This blog series will include additional methods on how to choose where to start and how to evaluate these investments in financial and other values.
In the upcoming blogs we will also look more deeply into what positive effects self-service and automation could have on your business, how to get a great plan and how to avoid common pitfalls.
Until next time – keep up the lazy work!
About the authors:Anette Larsson is an advisor at Enfo Zipper focusing on business value for Self-Service and automation Anette can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mikael Svennungsson is an advisor at Enfo Zipper focusing on Infrastructure, Self-Service and automation. Mikael can be reached at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @zupermik
ZervicePoint is a Self-Service portal with automation from Enfo Zipper. More detailed information can be found at http://zervicepoint.com