Author Archives: thenine

Ad Astra Predictive Model to Increase Customer Retention

As organizations begin to open offices, they quickly need to determine how employees will work both on-site and virtually and thrive in a healthy, connected hybrid workplace.

One thing is clear: Modern businesses need a work model that combines virtual and in-person work.

However, creating strong hybrid and virtual workplace solutions requires a lot of planning and strategy. With the right guidance, going hybrid doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your company’s culture, productivity or information security.

Organizations are asking questions about culture, HR policies, compatibility of job responsibilities with remote work, and how much or what type of real estate they need to support a hybrid work model. They want to know how to help employees transition successfully back to the office, whether they are there full time or just a few days a week.

During this live webinar, we will discuss:

  • Highlights of our company’s hybrid workplace model we’ve been operating for over 20 years
  • What a hybrid workplace is and what’s top of mind for organizational leaders as they decide their work from anywhere future
  • The seven key decision areas to define your hybrid workplace vision
  • Our approach to helping organizations envision, define, prepare and implement a hybrid workplace.

A significant portion of this webinar will allow you to engage in Q&A to explore your most pressing questions with our experts. If you are a senior leader thinking about your business’ work from anywhere future, this webinar will help you identify your priorities and key decisions for moving forward now that hybrid is here.

How 20 Years Together Made Two Companies Stronger Than Ever

Our experts introduce the six major areas to address when becoming Business Anywhere and why these matter in our white paper.
Building on our remote work experience, we used the following components to create a custom framework that will ensure your digital-first success:

Customer Experience

Data gathering has evolved beyond client-satisfaction surveys, which do not uncover true points of friction or value. Only a robust insights model, embedded into your organization’s fiber, can truly capture and leverage your customers’ voice and improve your operational future.

Process

Remote workers need easy, convenient and intelligence-driven tools and methods so they can work smarter from anywhere. By driving operational excellence across your processes, you can maximize customer experiences and ensure your workforce focuses on value-added activities.

Technology

Technology is more than a set of enablers — it is a critical business driver for both customers and employees. As a result, your organization’s technology strategy must enable your customers’ desired outcomes and provide your workforce with the right tools to facilitate them.

Information

In the past, organizations mainly used data for business intelligence (BI) reporting and dashboards. Business Anywhere organizations know that data’s greatest value often lies hidden and unexplored beneath the surface. Business Anywhere organizations use data from across the enterprise at key decision points.

Structure

Technology, processes and information are essential for empowering people to be productive and drive business. Your organization’s structure must also align with your strategy, goals and business requirements to enable the execution of your strategy, facilitate growth, manage disruption and develop a culture of agility.

People

Businesses need employees who can collaborate, lead and thrive amid the challenges of fully virtual, in-person or hybrid operations. Meeting these challenges will likely start with technology, but it will quickly require instilling a people-centric workforce strategy designed for collaboration, well-being, productivity, engagement and team effectiveness.

Rapidly Deploying a Highly Secure, Modern Virtual Desktop

Today’s Program Management Office faces challenges at every angle. From new technologies and environmental factors to shifting business strategies and changing customer expectations, PMOs need to upgrade to keep up. Learn a few tips for making the shift in this blog.

Last year may have been unprecedented, but there’s one thing we saw coming: an accelerated pace of change.

While no one was expecting to have to become digital within just a few months (if not weeks), there were already signs that businesses needed transformations.

To start, changing customer expectations, mass digitization and newer, faster competition were already on almost everyone’s radar. Change is becoming the new standard, forcing organizations to rethink not only their business strategy but also how they transform to meet and deliver on that business strategy.

Bring on the EPMO

In fact, according to one study, 67 percent of business strategies don’t work because of a failure to enact end-to-end strategy execution. To avoid this fate, you need to realign, deliver and gain value from your company’s project portfolios. That means embracing enterprise program management (EPM) as a strategic business capability — one facilitated by agile portfolio, program and project management to execute the strategy from end-to-end and realize business value.

The first step in embracing EPM as a capability lies in evolving your project management office (PMO). Today’s PMOs need to be agile themselves, focused on business outcomes and the organization’s overall strategy. An evolved PMO will play a critical role in ensuring your company is ready for any change the world throws at it.

Imagining a New Project Management Office

Many of today’s companies face unclear business strategies, confusion over their overall objectives, and constrained support from senior executives. What most companies do know, however, is they’ll need more project managers to help as they:

  • Take on more projects related to enhanced and emerging technologies, and
  • Transition to operating models primarily focused on product-based work.

In fact — according to Gartner — 50 percent of large companies will have integrated their separate IT and business PMOs into enterprise program management office (EPMO) “hubs” to help facilitate business transformation.

As a result, PMOs must transform so they can drive new initiatives aligned to your company’s evolving business strategies. They must stop delivering control and start supporting everything from strategy and financial planning to business value realization.

Skyrocketing Productivity with Automated Data Entry

Our three-part blog series discusses how three areas, three areas: people, process and technology work together to bring your business the best solution for your complex business problems.
Some things are just better together.

Peanut butter? Great. Peanut butter and jelly? Match made in heaven. Peanut butter and jelly on bread? Boom.

We often take that third ingredient, the bread, for granted but add that, and you have less of a mess on your hands (literally) and a portable vehicle of deliciousness.

Alone, all of these ingredients are great. There are moments that each shines brightly on its own. But sometimes, you just need sweet and savory delivered on a couple of slices of perfection. Who’s having PB&J for lunch now?

In consulting, this is also true when it comes to solving complex problems for our clients. It’s better together. In this three-part series, we’ll talk about how people, process and technology can combine to provide your business with a complete solution to your most complex problems.

In this series, we’ll be focusing on three areas: organizational change management (people), process improvement (process), and data and analytics (technology). Again, alone, all three of these offerings can do wonders for your organization and can make complex or challenging problems easier. However, combine the three, and you’ll arrive at an even stronger solution that will truly transform your business.

Creating Profit Through Predictive Modeling Processes

The pandemic, the evolution of technology, the aging workforce, and how people want to work today have all rocked the energy and utilities industry to its core. This article discusses four critical trends for utility organizations to keep an eye on and adopt in the next 18 to 24 months.
The energy and utilities (E&U) industry is historically innovative when it comes to technology — but the last year has rocked its way of working to its core.

The industry has been implementing new technologies to save consumers’ time and money, increase energy efficiency and improve conservation programs as far back as the 1970s. It even helped set the stage for the modern online user experience, taking on high-volume online transaction processing before most users and industries understood online transactions.

However, when it comes to people and processes, E&U still has a way to go. Many of the existing company roles and processes never experienced a true transformation. Instead, companies transitioned to processing the information digitally, without embracing the full extent of what technology can do.

Today, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic, many E&U companies are facing the results of innovation without transformation. And while the task of embracing operational and cultural transformation is daunting, there are a few significant trends that will help your company take the leap.

1. Business Anywhere

Many organizations are working remotely or installing and adopting new tools for virtual communication. But remote-work technology is just one way digital-first approaches are changing how we work and live together.

Business Anywhere starts with assessing how you work today before making decisions that will affect tomorrow. And while digital tools enable organizations to function during these unprecedented times, deploying new processes and managing people’s acceptance of change is just as important as technology.

If you’re not interested in becoming fully remote, you might still need to employ a Hybrid workplace. Such models combine virtual and in-person work models to gain access to the “serendipitous moments” afforded in an in-office setting while allowing team members who prefer heads-down work in their own homes to have such opportunities.

2. Trust

You’re no stranger to trust, even at work. But as the industry adopts more remote work following the pandemic, it’s essential to ensure you bake trust into your organization. This isn’t only important due to remote work, either — it’s critical to establish trust to help manage organizational change, communication and training to gain value from your strategic initiatives.

But that’s easier said than done — how, exactly, do you go about ensuring trust is part of your organization? By switching up how you measure results from your teams. Instead of checking how many hours they’ve worked or how many breaks they’ve taken, turn to results.

To do that, you need a performance measurement framework to give you a holistic view of how your organization defines success. Don’t base your performance measurement on how many meters your teams read, how satisfied your customers are or even how accurate your billing is. Turn to a combination of these metrics, and you’ll have a good understanding of how your team is doing, regardless of where they work.

3. Hyperautomation

Automation can relieve some of the complexity of supporting remote staff, leaving suitable tasks to the machine while remote teams perform knowledge work.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has long been the go-to for automation. RPA software, behaving as a participant in a process, can replicate human behavior to perform routine, repeatable, rules-based system interactions and integrations. It can perform everything from keyboard strokes, mouse clicks and data reads to logic and writes through existing user interfaces.

  • And as a utility organization, you’re tasked with maintaining separate customer, asset and work management systems.
  • Working with three disparate systems makes every task take a little longer — and that’s where process automation can come in.
  • It can step in and act as that last mile of integration so your teams can work more flexibly and efficiently.

Today, new technologies such as hyperautomation — the combination of RPA, machine learning, natural language processing, enterprise systems integration, document ingestion and understanding, and more — can help take on those processes that need to go a step further than automation.

For example, we had a utility client whose financial team was getting bogged down chasing after small balance bills. Using a combination of RPA and artificial intelligence, we created a bot that would analyze a bill and determine when to dismiss it, pursue it through automation or leave it for human intervention.

Delivering New Customer Experiences with Ad Astra

One of the biggest barriers to new projects and transformation is a lack of communication. Learn how a case for change document builds awareness, creates support and minimizes resistance, so your project runs smoother. We share three questions to include to make sure it’s as effective as possible.

Programs and projects fail for a variety of reasons. When embarking on a new project, we often hear

Last time we tried this, it did not work out the way we had hoped. What can you do to help us realize the benefits we are expecting from this program?

Because of this recurring theme for many organizations, let’s look at why this continues to be an issue in so many companies: One of the major causes of failure is a lack of communication about the reasons for even doing the project.

Often, senior leaders agree on a change and walk out of the room with a basic understanding of what’s changing and why. Without a strong case for change everyone agrees on and funnels down into the organization, messages mix and different perspectives from leaders end up flavoring what their respective departments hear.

While it may sound so simple, companies often overlook it. However, creating the case for change can act as a solid foundation of awareness and communication for your transformation and change efforts. And, it’ll help you with leadership alignment at the same time.

Building the Case for Change

The case for change builds awareness, support and commitment for the project by communicating to key stakeholders:

1. Why are we doing this? Why should our stakeholders care?

A key component of any transformation or change within your organization is a clear statement of why you are making the change. When you give your people the perspective on the decision-making behind the project and why it should matter to them, it reduces any confusion and minimizes potential misinformation about the work you are doing.

People are more open to supporting new ways of doing business when they understand why they are doing it and what is in it for them. Socializing these ideas will serve to build support for the change and can often minimize resistance.

2. What is going to happen? And How?

Once your people understand the “why,” it is equally important to cover the “what and how” surrounding the change event. Sharing schedules, responsibilities and expectations are all key components of building support and commitment for the program and often leads stakeholders to advocate for the project.

We have found that one of the most significant barriers to change is the fear of walking into the unknown. Let your stakeholders know how you’re defining success and how they will be involved in that success. What are you hoping to gain? And what are your expectations for your stakeholders?

3. What are the costs of not doing this?

This question often creates a eureka moment for some of our clients. You can’t only focus on how this will benefit your organization. In building support for your initiative, take the time to identify and calculate the costs associated with not doing the project.

Some projects will make you a better, more efficient company. Others will provide an opportunity to sunset expensive, outdated systems as well as the costs associated with maintaining the technology. You might be able to terminate service contracts that no longer provide value.

In short, you must weigh the negative aspects of inaction along with the positive benefits and drivers for the change. What will we able to do in the future based upon what we do today?