How operating excellence is redefining enterprise success


Operating excellence: A woman sits at a table working on a laptop.

For years, enterprises have defined success by higher earnings, bigger market share, or the launch of a new product or service. Lately, however, success has been redefined to encompass much more. For example, organizations are also being evaluated on the success of their operations.

Executive leaders are under pressure to:

  • Reduce costs and run their enterprise service operations efficiently

  • Communicate to stakeholders a commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives

  • Demonstrate to shareholders that the organization is resilient

  • Operate their business efficiently and at scale

Operations have always been the lifeblood of the business. But now, employees, shareholders, customers, and other stakeholders want proof that operations are being managed to achieve a more responsible, effective, and transparent enterprise.

Different table stakes

With new market forces, ways of delivering, and challenges arising regularly, operations leaders are rethinking how enterprise operations are organized and managed. The table stakes have changed.

  • If a company isn’t operating efficiently, its competitor can gain the advantage.

  • If a business isn’t managing risk effectively, a cyberattack can put it in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

  • If an organization isn’t investing in ESG, organizations that do prioritize ESG can capitalize because customers see a commitment to sustainability as a competitive differentiator.

  • If an enterprise isn’t driving strategic outcomes, it will see others overtake it in the marketplace.

Until decision-makers can figure out a way for people to work better together, innovate, and mitigate risks within reasonable bounds, they often struggle to address any of these issues.

Operating excellence requires establishing a common, foundational framework, connecting operational departments across the enterprise, and improving visibility.


Enabling operating excellence

The key to connecting all areas of the enterprise is to break down traditional, siloed enterprise operations where disparate departments—finance, HR, risk, legal, strategic planning—function independently from each other with their own goals, systems, and sets of metrics. Operating excellence requires establishing a common, foundational framework, connecting operational departments across the enterprise, and improving visibility.

It may be difficult for a chief risk officer to understand how their goals relate to those of the chief human resources officer (CHRO) or the head of business services. But emerging C-level business initiatives clearly demonstrate how objectives in seemingly separate enterprise operations areas are, in fact, intertwined.

For example, return-to-work initiatives are often managed by CHROs. To achieve their goals to attract and retain talent and keep workforces safe coming out of the pandemic, CHROs need to work cooperatively with counterparts managing corporate real estate and finance.

They need to ensure enough systems and departments are connected to establish a baseline, so they can have visibility to understand all the work taking place across the enterprise to support the initiative. Without this baseline, it’s difficult to continuously improve or measure if commitments are being met.

Where to start

For enterprises seeking operational success, it can be daunting to determine where to begin because it’s not a one-and-done effort. The first step is for C-level operations leaders to collaborate and have conversations about how their goals and objectives connect to those of other teams within operations to enable better enterprise agility.

If a company has already embraced global business services (GBS), it makes sense to look to the head of GBS to help direct efforts. Their job is to look across the organization and work across departments to catalog services, analyze process workflows, and establish a framework to optimize services and operations through tools, technology, people, and processes.

Then, this GBS framework can establish the baseline for operating excellence across the enterprise—connecting departments, empowering employees, and supporting continual innovation.

Find out more about enabling the power of operating excellence. ServiceNow offers solutions across GBS, risk, ESG, and strategic portfolio management to help.

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