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Enterprise Service Management

6 articles on silo-breaking with Enterprise Service Management

By Niek Steenhuis on November, 7 2019

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Niek Steenhuis

Delivering great service requires collaboration between various departments. Enterprise Service Management (ESM). When you adopt an ESM approach, you force yourself to look at your services from your customer’s point of view. They want a good service experience, regardless of which team(s) are delivering it. When they want to report a broken phone, why should they have to guess whether they need to contact the IT or Facility department for this?

ESM is a driver to improve collaboration across teams. But what else can you do break down the silos in your organization? Here are 6 in-depth articles to help you on your way.

ITSM.tools: an ESM blog series by Stephen Mann

If you want to learn the basics of ESM, there’s no better place to start than Stephen Mann’s blogs on his website ITSM.tools. Always a voice of a reason amidst the sometimes overhyped world of ITSM, Stephen clearly explains what ESM is and why it is relevant to you. A selection of Stephen Mann’s blogs:

Best quote:

‘In many ways, consumerization is driving enterprise service management – with the impact of consumer-world experiences on employee expectations not only affecting the corporate IT organization; it’s affecting all corporate service providers.’

McKinsey: ‘The silo syndrome’

Want to dive deeper into the dynamics of silo’s? McKinsey offers a ‘Five Fifty’: a format which they describe as ‘a quick briefing in five—or a fifty-minute deeper dive’. Their interactive infographic offers further reading on how to bust silo’s within your organization. Including quick tips and links to more in-depth McKinsey articles.

Best quote:

‘CEOs indicate two primary symptoms of silo syndrome: inadequate information and insufficient accountability or coordination on enterprise-wide initiatives. Try these measures to get rid of them.’

Read full article by McKinsey.

Harvard Business Review: ‘Cross-Silo Leadership’

So, how to get people out of their silos? How to get employees to connect with people throughout the organization? This HBR article offers 4 practices that help you stimulate collaboration across various teams and functions. From ‘develop cultural brokers‘ to ‘encourage people to ask the right questions’.

Best quote:

‘The value of horizontal teamwork is widely recognized. Employees who can reach outside their silos to find colleagues with complementary expertise learn more, sell more, and gain skills faster. Harvard’s Heidi Gardner has found that firms with more cross-boundary collaboration achieve greater customer loyalty and higher margins.’

Read full article by Harvard Business Review

Enterprise Service Management

CIO.com: ‘Cross-functional teams: A new strategy for business success’

One way to dramatically break through the department silos, is to reorganize your company and create cross-functional teams. In this article, several CIOs, amongst which the CIOs of Adobe and Carmax share their key ingredients to make the transition to cross-functional teams work.

Best quote:

‘One of the biggest [issues with cross-functional collaboration] is the inability for people to give up control. They feel if they give up too much knowledge, it might jeopardize their power base, so they might not be fully participating or fully sharing information. Or I’ve seen people who will agree to do something in the meeting but then they go off and do something different.’

Read full article on CIO.com.

Inc.com: ‘Breaking Down Silos Is a Myth, Do This Instead’

As a refreshing antidote to all these silo-breaking tips, here’s a piece that argues the opposite: don’t even bother. Gregg Satell argues that these silos were created for a reason, and breaking them down only introduces new problems. Satell also provides a clue as to what to do instead.

Best quote:

‘The problem is that when you reorganize to break down one kind of silo, you inevitably create others. If, for example, your company is organized around functional groups, then you will get poor collaboration around products. But the moment you reorganize to focus on product groups, you get the same problems within functions.’

Read full article on Inc.com

TEDx talk: ’10 ways to have a better conversation’

And finally: all collaboration starts with a conversation. Talking to someone. Getting to know your colleague from another team. Finding out their goals, and discovering how you can collaborate best. The better you are at having these conversations, the more successful your collaboration will be. In this entertaining TEDx talk, Celeste Headlee provides 10 tips to have better conversations.

Best quote:

‘Many of you have already heard a lot of advice on [how to talk and how to listen], things like look the person in the eye, think of interesting topics to discuss in advance, look, nod and smile to show that you're paying attention, repeat back what you just heard or summarize it. So I want you to forget all of that. It is crap. There is no reason to learn how to show you're paying attention if you are in fact paying attention.’

View full TED talk

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