Enterprise Service Management: Assessing Your Need for Cultural Change

Enterprise Service Management: Assessing Your Need for Cultural Change

Posted on 21 January 2021
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In the introductory post on this topic, Enterprise Service Management: The Top 5 Things You Are Not Doing, I called out Assessing Your Need for Cultural Change as the number one thing you are not doing in your plan to move to enterprise service management (ESM). This component, in the words of Patti Blackstaffe, Transformation and Change Management Specialist at Strategic Sense, "is massive and rarely accomplished properly."

First Things First: It's Not All About the Tool

Adding a tool or changing the tool you use does not equal transformation. There is a reason for the order in which we list the Big Three: people, process, and technology. Spending large sums of money on a tool to enable new ways of doing things does not equal new ways of doing things.

We should know from the travails of our own service management journeys within IT that the adoption of new and different ways of doing things is not easy. Presumably, that adoption has involved people who had at least a basic understanding of the principles and practices involved in IT service management. When we start talking about ESM, we are talking about business units that do not necessarily have a background in this brand of service management. We should expect that a good deal more education will be requiredand that they have many things to teach us.

"Knowing and understanding your inherent culture and sub-cultures in the organization and how they will play into the desired outcomes (future state) is the first and most vital step in moving to an ESM system. Your subcultures [and] how they fit into the overall organizational planning and strategy will be essential to build success for the transformation," says Blackstaffe.

What Is Included in Assessing the Need for Cultural Change?

As Blackstaffe says, "To assess cultural change or transformation, one needs to better understand what needs to transform." She includes:

  • People (attitudes, influence, etc.)
  • Behavior (see, think, feel, do)
  • Process (flow of activity)
  • Procedure (structured and sometimes regulatory compliance)
  • Efficiency (faster, smoother, timely)
  • Proficiency (level of expertise developed through competency with the new tool)

The key question is "How does this change fit with the overall business strategy, and what future results are we trying to achieve?"

What Are the Steps in Cultural Change?

  • The leadership must build a common understanding of the vision for transformation and be able to convey this throughout the organization in a cascade that will not water down the message.
  • Leaders and managers must put aside competing KPIs and aspirations and embrace the transformation as a business and organizational goal.
  • There must be an assessment of "what people will do differently" and a roadmap from current state to future state. To accomplish this, we must:
    • Identify behaviors that need to be transformed into different behaviors
    • Isolate problematic behaviors in the varied pockets of the organization (mini cultures)
    • Identify desired behaviors in the varied pockets of the organization
  • Assessment must account for the very real and difficult power struggles between teams and the challenges that exist between teams and their leadership (regardless of hierarchy).
  • To properly assess, we need to:
    • As David Porter says, in a forthcoming book, Turn Silos into Pillars, "Understand the difference between 'silos of a specialty' (needed and necessary) and power silos (exclusive and dangerous)"
    • Recognize and understand the common operational process and procedure across those silos
  • Discover the right people to include in "super user" or "focus Friday" teams for ongoing impact and feedback of the plan
  • Manage expectations (such as 'This tool is going to completely fix my world,' through to 'This tool is going to screw up my work world.').
    • Address the confusion between "out of the box," "enhancement," and "customization" from the leadership through to the stakeholder group at the front lines.
    • Manage the desired results for each impacted stakeholder groupthese compete as well. Your business analyst can add specific change management information into their BA assessments both at assessment time as well as review time.

Ultimately, your goal is to assess "What's really transforming here?" in action, deed, and efficiency. Stephen R. Covey said that we should "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." In the case of ESM, this understanding needs to include all the "moving parts" of the organization and how they interactor fail to. Once we have a clear picture of how all those parts make up the whole, we can seek to be understood about how the practices and principles of service management will assist in the achievement of the business goals and vision.

By:Roy Atkinson
About: Roy Atkinson is one of the top influencers in the service and support industry. His blogs, presentations, research reports, white papers, keynotes, and webinars have gained him an international reputation. In his role as senior writer/analyst, he acts as HDI's in-house subject matter expert, bringing his years of experience to the community. He holds a master’s certificate in advanced management strategy from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business, and he is a certified HDI Support Center Manager.

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