Investments in digital transformation initiatives have skyrocketed since COVID-19. Organizations have pivoted to entirely new business models to support flexibility, efficiency and cost control. Mission-critical services of all kinds are being digitized, like online shopping experiences, remote learning, medical care through telemedicine or automated supply chain optimization. The pandemic hasn’t been easy for any organization, but those that are thriving have embraced a digital service mindset.
Services are critical for organizations to effectively deliver the experiences their stakeholders and end users expect. A digital service is an online function or capability that fulfills a need for a customer, a digital partner, citizen or internal consumer.
So how do successful organizations transform their services?
Digital transformation is a journey that requires a cultural, technological and operational shift that puts the end-user experience at the forefront. By migrating applications to cloud-first infrastructure and delivering services digitally, organizations have more freedom to adapt to customer and business needs. But where to start? What are the critical steps required to begin this journey?
Here are seven steps to consider when transforming your digital services.
1. Understand your organization’s cloud strategy.
Identify what critical services are moving to the cloud. By understanding the organization’s cloud strategy and what service initiatives are or are in the process of being digitized, your team can identify which stakeholders and parts of the business are ready and open to implement a modern, customer-centric approach to service management.
2. Identify your top critical services that matter most to the organization.
Analyze major customer-facing incidents for clues about possible pain points and impacted services. Are there services that executive leadership consistently follows? Identify critical stakeholders in operations, development, security and business who are held accountable for P1 service outages and incidents.
Then, identify executive stakeholders who are driving transformation strategy initiatives and their reasons behind this change. Some business reasons for transformation include new market pressures, cost reduction and risk mitigation. From the technical side, modernization of legacy infrastructure or new technical expertise and workforce demand may drive these initiatives.
3. Identify KPIs for one layer of your business.
Once you have identified the top services that matter most to the business, establish KPIs to measure success and track goals. First start with objectives that your team cares about. IT operations teams can begin monitoring KPIs for a certain type of infrastructure (e.g., database performance). Service delivery and assurance teams can start by monitoring business activity trends and volumes.
4. Establish shared business KPIs across multiple teams.
Partner with service stakeholders across departments to determine objectives and goals that can be shared across teams. These shared objectives should align to business goals such as revenue generated or customer satisfaction. Now more than ever, technical teams have incentive to align their initiatives to business objectives. CIOs and IT teams must demonstrate IT’s business value. Development teams are increasingly responsible for protecting business performance as more applications are required to generate revenue.
Bring business and tech stakeholders together to define shared KPIs first, then gather the proper metrics to support those KPIs across the various departments. You should have already established your team’s KPIs from Step 3.
5. Capture business architecture and KPIs across one service.
Using the stakeholder intelligence from the previous step, document business and technical KPIs that are related to a single service. Capture the entire business service architecture and map its components to associated business and technical metrics (i.e., the end-to-end business workflow and supported infrastructure).
Finally, build dashboards that visualize business and technical KPIs and support root cause analysis for a service degradation. Go beyond basic reporting templates to include KPI definitions and map technology metrics to the KPIs they support. Create a unified data repository from across various systems to collect the metrics for multiple users to view.
6. Establish predictive insights for a service.
With the ability to visualize and monitor a service end to end, the next step is to set up and train algorithms to generate predictive intelligence for a service. Start by piloting various advanced algorithms on a service. Don’t implement alerting or response until this has been validated. Then train machine learning algorithms on KPI health. These vary by industry, but examples include mobile payments performance, citizen services and claims processing.
7. Create a center of excellence for data.
Expand the monitoring strategy and holistic framework to more teams and advocate the benefits of correlating more data into one place. As more teams adopt this holistic monitoring strategy, buy-in will get easier. One approach to convey the value is for teams to see their data in the new proposed approach. Offer to create a dashboard for them using your dashboard framework and platform. When an issue arises, you can use your intelligence to communicate what went wrong with their systems.
Finally, enable automation and orchestration across processes to predict more outages and reduce remediation times. Include accountability mechanisms that use data and analytics to drive efficient workflows and more automated processes.
Digital transformation is a journey and it doesn’t happen overnight. By aligning digital services, supporting teams and technology to business objectives, you can confidently ensure the end-user experience is prioritized.
For more on how your organization can build a foundation for greater agility, security, efficiency and innovation, check out this free report: The State of Cloud-Driven Transformation.