These days, there are no shortage of systems in the enterprise ecosystem – in fact, there is an abundance (or in some cases an excess) of them. However, not all systems have the same profile and importance. Some are auxiliary and enhance work, while others that fall into the category “mission critical” are fundamental and enable work. But what does this lofty label actually mean?
If we take a step back and analyze established mission critical systems like ERPs, CRMs and HCMs, we can see that they share three essential characteristics:
- They establish a system of record that provides teams across the enterprise with consolidated, accurate and relevant information.
- They drive productivity, visibility, adaptability and employee engagement – all of which are required to keep organizations competitive and move them forward.
- They reveal what has happened in the past, and also offer a clear vision of the future — so that yesterday’s experiences can support today’s smart and fast decisions, and lead to tomorrow’s positive results.
Per this core criteria, and when work is increasingly related to the production of digital goods and services, enterprises need to answer an important question: why isn’t work management viewed as mission critical? After all, work management directly and deeply contributes to the success of the overall business, and not just to the performance of individual teams.
Indeed, by shifting the paradigm of work management and approaching it as mission critical, enterprises can:
- Establish a centralized single-source-of-truth that integrates project and program information across the enterprise. This powers not just digital transformation, but business transformation, and enables organizations to accelerate their decision-making abilities vs. spending their limited time trying (and often failing) to collect data from disparate sources. It also drives the capacity to look forward and be proactive instead of always looking backwards – to identify trends and opportunities earlier and manage ongoing change by identifying where resource allocation, investments and tasks are or aren’t aligned with shifting strategic objectives.
- Facilitate productivity, visibility, adaptability and employee engagement by enabling all teams and authorized external stakeholders (e.g. customers, suppliers, vendors, etc.) to communicate, collaborate and capture relevant information – everything from informal comments to formal change orders – on a shared, common platform. This is a far cry and welcome change from the current scenario in many organizations, where work-related communication happens across multiple ad hoc platforms and tools, and through an endless maze of disconnected texts and emails.
- Generate customized reports, charts, tables and graphs that reveal positive insights (e.g. which projects finished ahead of schedule and why) and negative insights (e.g. which projects experienced cost overruns and why), which can be applied to make current and planned initiatives more efficient and profitable. At the same time, enterprises can glimpse into the future in order to manage and mitigate risk – which is essential given that uncertainty is now the norm, and not the exception.
It is time to start thinking about work management as mission critical, so that everyone is aligned from concept and strategy, through to planning and execution – and able to pivot quickly whenever necessary. When this paradigm is firmly in place, enterprises have the foundation, functionality and visibility they need to make more informed decisions, drive accountability, improve performance, achieve results faster, and most importantly, rapidly meet new customer needs. After all, customer success is what ultimately drives every business. If an organization isn’t doing this on a consistent basis, then sooner or later a competitor surely will.