This time of the season always presents a good point to reflect on the past year; to take stock of key accomplishments and milestones while also looking to next year and the opportunities it presents.
For TeraThink’s ServiceNow practice, this has been an exciting year that has ushered in a number of client successes. It has also seen the addition of some great talent to our team and the establishment of our ServiceNow community of practice.
In an earlier blog, I wrote about a couple of takeaways regarding improvements to the ServiceNow platform from our trip to Knowledge18, Those weren’t the only key takeaways from ServiceNow’s annual conference. There was a lot of focus on improving the user experience for both the producers and consumers of ServiceNow’s features and value. Having seen many projects succeed or fail based not upon features but upon user experience, this was exciting to see.
In May, my colleagues and I attended ServiceNow’s annual conference, Knowledge18. We joined over 18,000 attendees in Las Vegas to meet, learn, share, and collaborate on all things ServiceNow. They presented a wide range of valuable content spanning all aspects of the platform. This ranged from in-depth solution-focused sessions, to industry-based workshops, to a roadmap of functionality coming to the platform.
Two of my takeaways from the conference centered on the platform improvement and their increased focus on the customer.
IT departments are continually being asked to do more with less. They’re also working to meet the increasing demands of their customers. Clients who are accustomed to Amazon-like IT interactions outside of the workplace.
The IT Service Management arena is no exception. In an effort to continue to improve our ability to meet the needs of our clients, TeraThink is now a ServiceNow partner. Our partnership with ServiceNow strengthens our ability to bring best-in-class solutions to our clients looking to overcome these challenges.
To further our partnership, last week I attended Knowledge17, ServiceNow’s annual conference in Orlando, FL. Over 15,000 ServiceNow customers, partners, and associates gathered together to exchange ideas, experiences, and advice. The mixture of keynotes, labs, customer success stories, and demos ensured a little something for everyone.
On January 24, the Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation held a Psychosocial Implementation Policy Roundtable on Capitol Hill. This event focused on identifying the strategies and challenges for implementing psychosocial standards of care. The roundtable brought together a wide range of stakeholders including researchers, clinicians, psycho-oncologists, psychologists and accreditation experts. My colleague, Todd Schuerhoff and I had the privilege of helping to moderate the day’s events. We were honored to play even a small role in such an important occasion.
The event focused on the need for implementing standards of care to ensure that access to quality psychosocial care from diagnosis, through treatment, into survivorship or end of life and bereavement care is provided to children with cancer and their families. The day was broken into six major topic areas including Outcomes, Legislative/Policy, Resourcing, Reimbursement, Accreditation, and Delivery Models. For each topic, an expert in that particular area introduced the topic and described the current landscape. Following that presentation, we facilitated a group discussion in an effort to discuss and develop strategies. We had the enormous benefit of a fully engaged, informed, and vocal group that really made the sessions meaningful and productive.
Earlier this month, we held our first company hackathon in our new office. It proved to be a great day and a tremendous learning experience for our company and particularly all of the employees who got the chance to participate. I had the opportunity to help facilitate the day’s activities. I thought take a moment to reflect on what I thought was a very successful event.
(This is part three of a three part series of articles examining the importance of scaling all aspects of your growing business. Part one and two can be found here: The Importance of Scaling – Part 1 of 3, The Importance of Scaling – Part 2 of 3: People and Culture)
Beyond just the people within your four walls, organizations that scale effectively know how and when to leverage partners. Even if your company has gotten to this point without much outside assistance, that doesn’t mean you need to or should complete your journey alone.
There is tremendous value in tapping the experience and advice from others who have been there before you. Even the biggest companies started out small and had to scale up at some point. Reaching out and learning from those who have already ‘been there, done that’, can save you countless time, money, and effort by entirely avoiding an issue altogether. In her article “5 Things You Must Do to Scale Your Company”, Marla Tabaka illustrates the value of establishing key advisory networks. “When you get into groups and are around mentors and advisors you can address the issues you are facing with people who have experienced a similar set of problems; you sill see things in a different light.” It often takes someone removed from your situation to give a fresh perspective that you were unable to have given your embedded position. Even though you might compete with someone in the future, you will see companies generally want to share success with others, and a different perspective is invaluable.
(This is part two of a three part series of articles examining the importance of scaling all aspects of your growing business. Part one and three can be found here: The Importance of Scaling – Part 1 of 3, The Importance of Scaling – Part 3 of 3: External Partners and Communication)
The people that make up your company are at the heart of every initiative, often ultimately responsible for determining its success or failure. When a company grows and looks to scale its operations, having the right talent focused on building for the long term is critical. A shared sense of purpose amongst employees to grow the company is certainly one aspect to the equation, but the other aspect is having the right people capable of executing that growth. Adding professionals with the necessary experience, background, and relationships/networks can immediately provide a boost to the company’s strategic positioning that may have not been possible without those resources.
(This is part one of a three part series of articles examining the importance of scaling all aspects of your growing business. Part two and three can be found here: The Importance of Scaling – Part 2 of 3: People and Culture, The Importance of Scaling – Part 3 of 3: External Partners and Communication)
While many organizations experience success and growth quickly, few are able to sustain it over time. Immediate success brings new and different challenges: shift in the competitive landscape; increased back-office responsibilities; aggressive business development capture requirements; increased focus on profitability. Small businesses previously accustomed to filling smaller-scale, specialty roles as a supporting teammate, now find themselves leading large-scale pursuits and opportunities that require significant organizational change. You must redefine your value in your company’s new role, shifting attention to areas you may have previously relied on large teammates to provide and ramping up internal operations to support these larger efforts.
Ultimately, the ability to compete, hinges on your ability to scale the core aspects of your business to meet these new demands. In this three part series on Scaling, we consider a number of contributing factors to success at scale, starting first with Planning and Focus.
Enterprise Architecture (EA) has developed a reputation. We’re often reminded of this when in a meeting with senior business leadership and someone explicitly mentions the EA program. Eyes roll back in heads, quick loaded glances are exchanged, an audible exhale is heard as if to say, “Ugh. Not this again.” If you’ve seen one of these reactions or maybe even all three simultaneously (unofficially known as the EA Trifecta), unfortunately you are not alone. EA programs in all corners of business and government are struggling to demonstrate substantial organizational value and achieve true enterprise buy-in and acceptance.
It is not for a lack of trying. Organizations that have decided to invest in EA programs are usually making substantial personnel (both internal resources and external consultants) as well as software investments in support of their EA programs. In addition, organizations typically incur significant indirect EA costs in the form of stakeholder meetings and presentations. Many enterprises have started to take a hard look at their EA program to assess whether the EA program is worth the investment. It has left organizations asking themselves, “What’s wrong with our architecture?”, a question that Frank Lloyd Wright most certainly asked himself more than once.
As IT professionals, we see organizations experiencing a variety of challenges with their enterprise architecture programs. There are many potential pitfalls when it comes to establishing a value-driven EA capability. If you find yourself struggling to comprehend what’s wrong with your architecture, consider the following questions that might uncover some of the issues preventing your EA program from providing real enterprise value.