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January 25, 2023 | 28 Mins Read

5 Common Issues that Sabotage Digital Transformation Success

January 25, 2023 | 28 Mins Read

5 Common Issues that Sabotage Digital Transformation Success

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Rudy Goedhart, Head of Digital Transformation at Spencer Technologies, talks with Sarah about the complexities that can derail organizations from seeing their digital visions realized. 

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service Podcast. I'm your host, Sarah Nicastro. Today, we're going to be talking about five common issues that sabotage digital transformation success. I'm excited to be joined today by Rudy Goedhart, who heads digital transformation for Spencer Technologies. Rudy, welcome back to the Future of Field Service Podcast.

Rudy Goedhart: Thank you for having me again.

Sarah Nicastro: Yes. So, Rudy was a guest on episode 18 of the podcast. So, we've come a long way, my friend. Here we are back, better than ever. Rudy has a new role compared to what he did in episode 18, which is related to digital transformation, the topic for today. If you're not familiar, Spencer Technologies, Rudy, you can correct me if I'm wrong, is responsible for installing infrastructure, and managing infrastructure in retail environments. So, across different sectors of retail, everything technology related in a store, your teams would go in, put in place, set up, if a store moves, they go, and move all of that technology over for them, et cetera. So, your customers are retail organizations.

Rudy Goedhart: Correct.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Okay, good. All right. So, you're responsible for managing technology for your customers. And obviously to do that well, you have to have a good handle on how you're using technology, yourselves. So, Rudy, and I have had numerous, countless conversations about service transformation, digital transformation, all of those types of things. And I think the five issues we're going to talk about today are issues that not only has Rudy had to encounter, and overcome in his role heading digital transformation, but they are ones that I think almost all of you that are listening would agree that you have encountered as well. So, these are things that very commonly get in the way of digital transformation success. I've recited statistics before, I don't have them in front of me, but I know IDC for instance, there's some humongous percentage of digital transformation initiatives fail, and there's these common reasons why. And so today we're going to talk about some of those. So, up first we're going to talk about legacy thinking. So Rudy, what are your thoughts on how legacy thinking can get in the way of digital transformation success?

Rudy Goedhart: Yeah, so that's a good one, Sarah. The legacy thinking we've struggled with quite a bit both within our own organization as well as with others that we've partnered with. So, what we find, and whenever you talk about change management transformation, the very common things that come up very frequently are simple statements such as, "This is how we've always done it, this is how we did it before. Why do we need to change?" I've got a giant pile of cheese right next to my house. Why do I need to go find more cheese? Who moved my cheese reference there. But so legacy thinking is a big problem. Change is very important. Transformation's very important for an organization to stay relevant, and to become more relevant to grow the business. And one of the biggest challenges is communicating that across all of the stakeholders, making sure that everybody understands why we're changing, not just what we're doing, but why we're doing it.

And I'm pretty sure in the past, I've referenced it before, if you tell somebody to press a button, they're going to try to do a best effort to press that button anytime that you tell them to. But they're not going to keep it up. They're not going to stick with it simply because they don't understand the reason why. So legacy thinking has been quite the challenge, and it falls almost in the second category that you haven't initiated yet. But the alignment part, the organization does need to be aligned for change in order to get that legacy thinking problem to go away as well. If everybody knows where we're going, why we're going there, what we're looking for, what we're looking to become, you can get people to be part of that transformation culture that ultimately we're trying to get to. But it's nonetheless a challenge.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. I think this is such a emotional, psychological response, right? I mean, it's a very human thing of "No, no, no, I would rather stay in my comfort zone." Well no, this is working. Like we're doing fine. The company's doing fine, so why should we go mess that all up to do something different? There's this idea that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And I think the way this presents itself in different businesses is super interesting, because when you have issues with legacy thinking among the frontline, you're really talking about change management. It's a leader's role to communicate the reason for the change to get them bought into the change. But what can be really, really challenging for organizations is when the legacy thinking sits at the very top of the business, because that prohibits a lot of forward motion.

If the people making decisions are the ones that are risk averse, that are complacent, that don't want to rock the boat, then it makes it really hard for anyone in the ranks to really have enough initiative to push that forward. So, I think people get there one way or another, but it's, I think, very frustrating for employees when there's kind of some outdated mentalities in top leadership. Because when you have anyone who is driven, or innovative, or creative, it really squanders that. So, yeah, I don't know what your thoughts are on that.

Rudy Goedhart: No, I think you're dead on that it comes top down. So, anything change definitely goes top down. So, last time we talked, I was just responsible for business intelligence, so it was really data analytical driven, and I said my pieces on that. Since then, rolling into digital transformation, which, so a little bit backstory there. So, we started in systems development, then went to business intelligence, then went to digital transformation. So, in the digital transformation world, I've gotten much more involvement with the people portion where systems development is super systems focused. I don't want to say it's easy, because nobody will say it's easy, but all you're responsible for is delivering the solution that people are asking for, and you deliver it, your portion is almost done with that. Business intelligence, you're responsible to making sense of all the data, looking at it, finding the problems.

But again, in the transformation world, it's the people that played the very biggest role because not only are you responsible for getting the technology to do what it needs to do to grow the business, and to make the people more efficient, and just overall increase the customer, and employee experience, you've got to roll that out, and sell it as well. So, I've taken much more of a sales position there, and I have encountered situations where seemingly everybody's on board, everybody's part of this change champion list, but then internally it goes something a like, "Hey, we got to change this system. It's not going to work, but let's give it our best effort anyways." So, even if everybody on the surface is on board, the message that gets relayed outside of the very controlled meetings is super important. So you don't just need the public, you need the actual buy-in.

You need to make sure people understand what they're doing, that they're excited about it. Legacy thinking is a fear of change. And you know mentioned it change is hard, and there's so many articles on it. Change is pain, change registers to the human brain as pain. You've got this valley of despair area in change management. There's so many references. Change is hard, change is difficult, change is pain, but change is exciting, too. And that's really something that I like to relate to people. Look, for whatever reason, we're doing things today, but if we can do this, here's what you get out of it. Here's what we can do with it. You start listing all these people, you start getting the people excited about the change, but that needs to come top down. And that is so important to get [inaudible 00:09:02] on board.

Sarah Nicastro: And I think, as someone leading digital transformation, bringing that enthusiasm to the table is a really important part of the role. But moving on to the next topic, so is alignment. I was saying when we were chatting, your role is a lot like herding cats, because there's all of the functions of the business. They have different opinions, different objectives, different needs for the technology, different visions of where they want to go. And somehow you have to figure out how to get everyone on the same page, and to take all of those silo functional visions within Spencer, and make them a Spencer vision, one vision, and then prioritize how that all happens. So, it sounds pretty easy. And how's that going?

Rudy Goedhart: Oh, man. So, alignment is absolutely the very biggest struggle that I've faced for probably the better part of a decade right now. And it's something that I'm not super excited about to talk about, because there's been some real struggles, and some real pains in this. So having sat in several areas of the organization in Spencer, we've always had a lot of things to do. Being in technology, providing organization where we support multi-site corporations such as recently onboarded Lego, super proud, and super excited for that.

Sarah Nicastro: My kids would love that.

Rudy Goedhart: I love it. I can't lie about that. So, someday I'll go to the headquarters, and that's kind of on my bucket list now. But anyways, so we are onboarding these technology companies. We're always moving. We cannot stand still. We cannot be stagnant in what we offer, or how we do because ultimately we're tying into all of our vendors' software systems. And with that comes the need for us to have a system that is super strong, and then be on top of that. So, the alignment to make sure that technology is important, that we have the right technology in place, that we have the right people in place, the right priorities has become very important. What we faced before is that all of these priorities, all of these needs got mangled where each officer in the organization had, for example, their priority one, two, three, four, five. To me, that translates as five priority ones, five priority twos, five priority threes, and all of the small asks that came on top of it.

As a result, we were not as effective as I wanted to be. And it really wasn't until we launched an operational excellence initiative within the organization, which we called Project Phoenix, because rise from the ashes kind of story, not that Spencer was in ashes, but we're really proud about this. We're really proud about rising. And the Phoenix is now proudly presented within our office on our templates, and sometimes an email signatures. It's a gorgeous image, and the messages just as well. We are aligned now. We went through this operational excellence initiative, and we started from a very customer-centric point of view. We had all of the functional leaders, and stakeholders of the organization in one room, and we asked one simple question per workflow.

We mapped out the whole organization's workflow that had to do with service delivery. We asked, "What do you think our customers want from us?" So, everybody put post-it notes on the board stating, "Well, here's what I believe during this step of our process, here's what the customers want from us, what they would like to receive, what would make them happy, happier." And then we went over all of these post-its by Workflow, and we said, "Okay, what needs to change within our organization to get to that point?" So, we've identified what do we think our customers want from us. Now, we're at this point, how do we get there? So, now we've got... It's hard not to swear for me, but now we've got a whole lot of sticky notes on the wall, and a whole lot of topics, and a whole lot of solutions. So, then we said, okay, "Everybody gets five points. Put them where you feel that change is best implemented within the organization."

So, we marked the right items, the ones that we believe are most impactful to our customers. And of those, we now separate them into sprints from an agile implementation strategy, let's mark out which ones we want. And there were some very clear winners. So, we can all agree that the company now agrees on what's most important to improve our service delivery, client delivery, to the clients. And with that comes that alignment. The whole company agrees, we need to work on, let's say reverse logistics. There's a pain point, because it gets complicated. And next time somebody comes to my office, and says, "Rudy, I really need to change this." My question becomes, "Okay, how does that fall into the alignment? How does that fall into the item that we deem most important for the organization to fix?" Which gives me sufficient fuel to really push back on initiatives that may help a couple people here and there.

But it's still hard, right? Alignment, stays hard. I'm very happy to announce that Spencer Technologies is aligned on where it feels that the change needs to happen to best the organization, and the customer experience with a focus on that. There's still the day to day, and that's where, personally, I struggle because it's hard to say no when you know something takes maybe an hour out of my day, somebody says, "Look, Rudy, this takes me eight hours every day. I know I can fix it in one." It's really hard to say no to that. But sticking to that alignment, making sure that you use your own resources, including your own time right to stick with that alignment is absolutely crucial.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, I think that's such good advice. And if I'm not mistaken, prior to you taking on the digital transformation role in Spencer, that wasn't a role before. It was handled by committee, or within other functions, but it wasn't a dedicated role in the organization. Is that accurate?

Rudy Goedhart: Yeah, it was a wild west. Quite frankly, it wasn't even that well controlled. It was literally the greasy wheel. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Yeah, it was hard.

Sarah Nicastro: And that's the point I wanted to make is going back to the IDC research that I didn't even appropriately quote early on though, but the number one barrier to digital transformation success is silos within the organization. And that's exactly what we're talking about here. And I think it's why companies who have not put a specific function for digital transformation, or innovation, or however you want to word it in place, are really struggling because it's function battling function. It's silo battle, battling silo. It's squeaky wheel gets the grease. There isn't someone responsible for bringing that view together. And the second thing I wanted to comment on that is so, so important that you said, and kudos to you guys for getting this right, is the way you prioritized was based on customer desires, experience, and value, and that is the way it should be done.

So, you're absolutely right, it gives you that framework to go back to of we made these decisions together based on what has the biggest best impact for our customers. So, here's what we're sticking to. Not every company takes that outside in objective when they're looking at how to prioritize those different needs, wants, wishlist, vision, et cetera. So, I think that's really good advice as well.

Rudy Goedhart: Yeah. And it comes with a little tale too, because arguably customer experience is important, but I can, in all honesty say I've never had a good customer experience with an employee that wasn't happy. If somebody's miserable, grumpy, disgruntled, bitter, that's not going to give you the customer experience that you're looking for no matter what the situation is. So, employee experience plays into that, but that's why it's a tale, and not a segue completely. As an employee, everybody wants to do the right thing. I've learned that over a long time. Nobody wants to fail, nobody wants to do a bad job. So, if they know that they have the tools to deliver the best customer experience, that tend to play into their happiness as well.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, absolutely. So, the third area we're going to talk about is technology debt. And I know that compared to many organizations, Spencer is in a really good place as far as this goes. You have some scenarios where organizations have invested in a technology that just really is not serving them, but they struggle with when do you admit defeat, and start over, and just eat that cost knowing that it's not serving you. And that is really hard for sure, but luckily you're not in that position. But there is this other idea of even when you have a core system that's working really, really well for you, digital is ever changing, so you always have to be looking for ways to continually improve, ways to evolve your platform with the needs of the business, and the value that you need to provide. So, can you talk a little bit about how you handle that?

Rudy Goedhart: Yeah, and it's an interesting topic, and it's so logical, so simple, at the same time, it's so not easy. So, I consider the software, and especially when you're talking about an ERP, about the system of record to come, the software that runs your organization, or the packages that run your organization, consider that a foundation. If you have cracks in your foundation, are you going to build the rest of the house, or are you going to fix that first? And frankly, if you're a foundation, didn't have the right consistency to put it in construction terms, you stop, you break it out, and you start over. Technology is no different. It sucks to take the loss. And we've certainly been there in the past, and I've seen it with some of the organizations that we acquired before. They've tried for years to implement the solution and it didn't stick, it didn't grab it, didn't quite get to the right place.

And they push, and they push, and it really caused disgruntlement amongst the employees because it didn't do what it needed to do, yet they held onto it. Technology, I mean the same similarities exist across all aspects. Whether we're building something, whether we're talking about employees, sometimes, you do the best you can, and you do what's right, but if something isn't working, something isn't working, and not to make that human centric, because that could be negative, but you do need the right software. For Spencer, that has been a struggle, and probably will continue to be a topic of conversation, but not a struggle at the time.

IFS, as an example is funny in that we chose it when it was recently acquired by IFS when it was just metrics, but it was such a strong product. So, in the last six years, when we see you leading the Gartner charts for service solutions, we cheer, right? I've mentioned it before, we actually sell that to our clients. It's part of our deck to our clients because we not only want to be very proud of the solutions that we have, we also want our customers to believe that the infrastructure that we deliver our business with is stable, stays up with that. Now, on the service side, we don't have that problem of course, but financially we did struggle there. As Spencer has growing to become a global service provider, we were on a finance application, which I shall not name, but it looks like a visual basics application built in the nineties.

We've all meddled with it. And it couldn't do multi-currency, you can't have more than six characters in your place, there's all of these limitations to stop us, and we could invest a lot of money, we could try to get it right, get it to the latest version, but frankly we needed a better solution. So, we started out with an RFP for a better finance system, and we got a glimpse of modern technologies between IFS cloud, and some other organizations with finance solutions. And it actually blew us away. I let our accounts receivable, accounts payable, and our financial accounting analysts see the package, and they're so excited, because they're looking at the system, they go, "Oh, my gosh, I don't have to look up taxes every state's individual website anymore, every week? What?" Right? Stuff like that. So, you get the right technology and to really help grow your company, but if something doesn't work for you, cut your losses, move on. Identify that it can, or cannot meet the bill.

And that's okay. And you know, have talked about this before, I don't mind taking a step back. Failure is often perceived as a really bad thing. Failure's okay. It's okay to start over. We all do it in our daily lives left, and right. It doesn't always work the first time, and that's okay. Sucks that you have to present it to a board of directors, and you go, "Hey, yeah, that project that costed us a lot of money, it really isn't going where it needs to go", but it means lying to yourself, and lying to your investors, and your stakeholders, because you lose the buy-in back to that whole, making sure that the people are positive about things. Being true to yourself, being true to the people about the ability to succeed with the technology that you're picking, or have currently implemented in your organization is very important to that.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, it's unrealistic to think you're always going to get it right, but are you learning from those missteps I think is the most important thing. I think the other point I just wanted to close on as far as technology debt goes is the other thing I see companies do that's really unfortunate is they invest in a platform that may be working really well, but it goes back to that natural tendency to complacency. They invest, it's solving the need they have, it's working well, but there may be all of these other things they can do with that platform that they just don't take the time to learn, or explore, or incorporate, which is another factor of this idea of continual improvement. And if you're leading digital transformation, making sure that you're getting the most out of all of your technology investments, and you're leveraging them to their potential.

So, you mentioned earlier the employee experience and I think that's really important as well. And I know that you understand the importance of change management, but when we were chatting about this interview, we were talking about the fact that even when you acknowledge how important change management is, and you have the best laid plans, there are a lot of variables that will change. And sometimes all it takes is one change in variable to throw a company completely off course on its change management strategy, and then things kind of unravel. So, how have you handled change, keeping your eye on the prize as far as focusing on the employee experience, making sure you're bringing employees along on the journey?

Rudy Goedhart: Yeah. And that's as possibly the hardest question you're going to ask me today. Because people are people and nobody's the same. We're all one of a kind, in one way or another, we're all one of a kind. And how we perceive change, and how we get to the goal is very much part of that one of a kind thing. So, the hardest thing, so I'll start a little bit with that in what makes change management fail. Again, I've had too much experience with that, but probably not enough at the same time, because to your point earlier, from your failures, that's where you learn, and that's something that is that mindset when you fail, you can frown about it, and you can be unhappy about it, and that's okay, but take something away from it. Take something away, take a look at why you fail. Do that root cause analysis, find out what happens, and do better.

Do better is not always perceived as a positive statement, but nonetheless. So, some of the things that we've faced internally is lack of direction, very much to the alignment portion, lack of direction's a big deal. Too many critical needs. If everything is a high priority, frankly nothing's a high priority, and that's a hard message to relay because if everybody says that their priority is the highest, then nothing is. Can't all have the same priority. Lack of resources. If you're going to pursue change management transformation of your organization, make sure you have the right resources in place to do that. I alluded to that in a little cartoony fire pit video that I made not too long ago. If I am trying to build a fire, and I'm trying to keep that going, but I got to rush between different campfires all the time, then ultimately one will burn out because I'm either using up the sticks that I needed to keep it going, or I'm not paying attention to it.

You cannot be in three places at once, but you could hire three people to tend to three fires at the same time. But resources come back to the right number of resources, both from an employee point of view as well as from a monetary point of view, technology point of view, everywhere. Impatience. If somebody wants a type of change that simply, and they're pushing a deadline on you that is too aggressive, which I would like to reference. I've heard people purposely put an aggressive deadline on something with the explanation if I set the deadline too far forward, then you're more motivated to work really hard on it and sure, hopefully meet the actual deadline that could be met. Even though the expectation was never the original deadline. That's demotivating. If you know you're going to fail from the start, where's the drive to get there?

If you set a realistic deadline, you're actually more likely to get people on board, because everybody wants to be successful. But yeah, realistic deadlines, making sure that people understand change is not instant. One of my previous leaders once told me, right now doesn't exist. You can get it right, or you can get it now, but right now is not a thing. I'm teaching my kids that, too. At age three that's hard. But wrong conditions, even if you have all the resources, and all of the right intentions in place, sometimes the conditions aren't good. If I try to change something large in my organization when I'm in the middle of peak season, it's not going to happen. People don't have the right time for it. They don't have the right mindset for change at that time. They're too busy running the company. Change in leadership comes back to that change in vision, change in direction.

When leadership changes, sometimes we find that the old plan either doesn't get the right buy-in anymore, or the sponsorship support stops, and executive sponsors a heck of a lot more than a name in a field there. There's a lot more to that. Poor transitions. If you do change, and you don't transition right into the new thing, or you don't stick with it, that's a problem. And that's something I've actually learned the hard way in change management. Once you get people on board, everybody's happy, everybody wants to change, but then once you deliver it, you walk away, the chance of it actually being a successful change does not depend on your deployment success. Deploying change is relatively easy. Making sure that it sticks is really the hardest thing.

Making sure that people stick with it, they understand why they're doing it, making sure that it doesn't get lost in the daily shuffle and ultimately it undoes the change, but people change management and people, all of those things, and then so, so, so many more. It is by far the hardest topic, but I think that communication is key. Getting the right people motivated, getting them on board, keeping communication straights so that you don't get people wondering where you are on the status of things. Making sure you stick with us both throughout the development as well as post deployments, provide the right people, the right tools, and that may roll into our next topic, but you give people the right tools to be successful with the change processes.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, no, that makes sense. And I agree. It is the most complex of all of the challenges for sure. All right, so the fifth, and final one we're going to talk about today is companies that struggle to turn data into intelligence. So, everyone is on this digital journey, recognizes the importance of data, puts tools in place to gather data, gather data, gather data, gather data, and then sometimes organizations are just left saying, "Uh oh, now what?" Right? Now what do we do with all of this? And so this lends itself to what our first podcast discussion in episode 18 was all about, really, was this leveraging this powerful resource that is data. But for the sake of today's conversation, I guess, when you think about the ability to leverage data, internally, to help make intelligent decisions drive business performance, and then the ability to leverage data externally with your customers as a source of value, what are your thoughts on where companies struggle to really take the data, and convert it into intelligence? And how have you done that?

Rudy Goedhart: Those are two interesting questions. Yes. So, data is powerful, and especially in the earlier conversation that we had three years, or so ago, I've made a couple statements that I've since then regret making. But in general, data is very powerful. Data can protect you, and data can be weaponized at the same time. And sometimes it turns into this data war where you get all these reports being thrown back, and forth. It's this way, no, it's this way, no. Here's what it is. So, data is very important to get right. But since then, one of the things that is most important I think is the actionability of your reports, but not just the fact that a report has to be actionable, because I've also seen that term heavily weaponized. Again, "Rudy, your report's not actionable." Okay, well what do I do to make it actionable?

Well, I don't know, but it's not actionable the way it is. Okay, well what are you trying to do? And that really comes back to what are you trying to accomplish, or what are you using the data for? Whether we're talking internally, or to our customers, when you build a report, what function does it serve? If a report is a report to look at, or dashboard, if I have power BI dashboard that is nice to look at, and it always shows green, or red, or yellow, but nobody is using that to drive any type of actions, then why are we looking at it? If it doesn't have people looking at it and making decisions, then why are we looking at it? Sometimes data is simply for decision making. If I'm talking about profitability forecasting reports, there may not be direct actions, but indirectly there of course are, because my forecast report shows that I am growing the business much faster than I anticipated. If I'm expecting, I don't know, 15 million worth of work in March, then I should staff up for that. So, it becomes actionable.

I think that actually is one of the biggest things to our customers. And here's the statement that I used to regret. I'll start actually customer facing, and I'll talk more. With customer facing, I used to state, "Take control of the narrative. Create standard reports, canned reports, provide them to the customer." And the example I used back then is you don't ask your partner, what do you want for dinner when you go out? Because the answer will be, I don't know, what do you want? You come back into this whole war of where do we go to eat, ultimately. Whereas if I ask the partner, let's go to Olive Garden, what do you want from their menu? You're going to get a straight answer, or a direction in which the answer can be given such as, "Hey, but that has a Longhorn steak", and I forgot the name of the whole place, but a Longhorn Steakhouse next door, pick me up something there, because I know you're already in their parking lot.

So, it's set to control of the narrative. But the thing that I regret is you do want to listen to your customers. Having a standard set of reports is very nice, but listening to your customers need is important, too, because ultimately being selected as a vendor for them, they have an intention for that too. They have expectations, and you want to make sure that your standard reports meet that expectation, or you enhance your standard reports by listening to them. So, what are the problems they're trying to solve? How could we help them? We have the experience of supporting tons, and tons of vendors, and corporations in the field. We kind of know what they want, but there are intricacies to each organization, and listening to them trying to find out how we can help them is big. One of the examples is a very simple asset management survey. So, data being used properly. When we go to your store, we're going to service any technology that you ask us to service, but we weren't always necessary the ones to install it.

But whilst we're there, we may as well take a quick inventory, take a look, send some pictures, and record what assets you have in your store because now you know, a simple survey after, and it's very common. It's certainly not Spencer unique there, but having that data collection capability for the clients, and then being able to report back, "Hey, here's all the devices in your store", from a very selfish point of view, could then roll into more work for us, because, "Oh, they didn't know they still had those old registers there, would we upgrade them for them?" Right. Of course, we will. But yeah, intelligence in general, I mean, it's kind of in there. Intelligence isn't intelligence if you can't do anything with it, those are just useless facts, not intelligence, and useless facts are fun, but they're certainly not always useful, and unless you're trying to break the ice, but we don't have break the ice kind of meetings with our customers that often.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, it makes me honestly think of the process you spoke about when we talked about alignment, and how you took all of the different stakeholders, and had them prioritize based on impact to customers. It's similar in the sense of what are the objectives you're trying to drive, whether those are internal objectives, or external in terms of customer objectives that you can provide value around, and what data do you need to work toward those goals that you can measure, and then derive those actions from? So, in a lot of ways, it's almost like working backwards from what's the end goal? If you, as a business, want to grow X percent, improve productivity, Y percent, whatever it is, what sources of data do you have that are giving you insight on how you're performing that are related to that objective? And then what actions can you derive from there?

For a customer, if they want to know X, Y, and Z, then that's where you start, and you provide those insights, and you look for ways to your point to take the intelligence you have as a business that could be helpful to them and to you, and then put it into a format that makes sense to both parties. Yeah, I mean know it's one of your great loves data, but it's just an area I think a lot of companies really struggle to get a handle on in a way that is as bolted down as it needs to be.

Rudy Goedhart: Right. And as complicated as it gets, it's also not that complicated, because you're telling a story. I mean storytelling is it's another common buzzword these days, but buzzword haven't... Same with actionability, and business intelligence. They're all good buzzwords, but at the same time, there's a lot of power behind them when used properly. And that storytelling data is storytelling all day long. And when you're having a report that instead of a story, it's more like a phone book than make sure that that report is only used when people need to find a phone number for something, don't have it displayed on a big dashboard in your building because there's no point to it, there's no actionability to it. It's a tool for assistance, and that's what really strikes the difference between actionable reporting, and just tools. Intelligence tool.

I do have a decent example, recently, where the data intelligence, the really plays into your processes as well, and the meaning of it. So in really onboarding a lot of help desk organizations lately, the two terms that come up a lot are first call fix, and time to resolution, right? Because they're not the same, but often are considered the same. So with that comes a whole lot of explanation because if I'm a help desk agent, and I'm answering a call, but I was unable to resolve the issue, because the resolution doesn't reside in our organization, and let's say I need to ticket to Granite Telecommunications to get a new phone number activated, the first call fix applies because yes, we did do everything we needed to. There's nothing else for us to do, and we're closing out our request. At the same time, the time to resolution at that point wouldn't quite be accurate for me to say, that's the ticket time, because I did not right actually resolve the issue.

I just did everything that I needed to do, and hung up so that... We're working with our help desk leadership right now. Let's define time to resolution because it cannot be different for every client, because then how do agents know how to transact within the system. And then what's your purpose of it? Are you trying to figure out how long our team spent on each ticket, Spencer's responsibility? Or are you trying to measure how long the company, the customer of ours, is in which way affected by the problem? Those are two complete different timeframes. So, define what you're trying to solve. Once you define what you're trying to solve, the business intelligence portion will come with it. And sometimes you find that you have to update a process, update your technology to make sure that you can capture what you need to. But I mean, there's tools galore these days.

You can as much as measure every mouse click, and keystroke on your employees' laptop if you chose to do that. Until measuring performance, making sure that you measure every time that they're actively looking at a ticket. So, the technology these days really supports a lot of intelligence. Arguably too much.

Sarah Nicastro: That's what I was thinking.

Rudy Goedhart: So, yeah, keep it simple. Make sure that your goals align with the data that you're displaying, and make sure that if you have actionable dashboards, that action is actually taken on it. Because if you're looking at the same report every week just to show that you're still yellow, it needs to come with action items.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, that makes sense. All right. Very good points, Rudy. Thank you for sharing your experiences, and your knowledge with us. I greatly appreciate it.

Rudy Goedhart: Thank you for having me. It's an honor to be here two times.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, I look forward to the third. We'll see how things progress, and yes, but I appreciate it. I appreciate you. So thank you for being with me today.

Rudy Goedhart: Thank you.

Sarah Nicastro: If you would like to listen to Rudy's first episode, episode 18, you can find that, and much, much more by visiting us at futureoffieldservice.com. You can also find us on LinkedIn. The Future of Field Service Podcast is published in partnership with IFS. You can learn more@IFS.com. As always, thank you for listening.