How operating excellence is redefining enterprise success

  • Solutions
  • Cybersecurity and Risk
  • 2022
  • Jeffrey Gore
08 February 2022

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, organisations 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 organisation 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 organised 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 organisation isn't investing in ESG, organisations that do prioritise ESG can capitalise 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 organisation and work across departments to catalogue services, analyse process workflows and establish a framework to optimise 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.

© 2022 ServiceNow, Inc. All rights reserved. ServiceNow, the ServiceNow logo, Now, and other ServiceNow marks are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of ServiceNow, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Other company names, product names, and logos may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.


  • Experience Can Drive Better Brand Loyalty: Lady standing outside looking at her phone with people walking around her
    Customer Experience
    Survey: Experience can drive better brand loyalty for EMEA businesses
    Brand loyalty has taken a dip, according to recent research by ServiceNow and Opinium. Find out how improving total experience can turn this around.
  • Knowledge 2023 takeaways: a group of women raising their hands
    4 takeaways from Knowledge 2023
    Knowledge 2023 united thousands of ServiceNow customers and colleagues at the first single global user conference in three years. Here are four key takeaways.
  • Connected ecosystem: man in a coffee shop looking at a smartphone in front of an open laptop
    Customer Experience
    Transformation Done Wright: The connected ecosystem
    What’s the secret to solving customer issues fast while cutting costs for your business? Tapping into a connected ecosystem.

Trends & Research

  • Digital innovation: three workers looking at a computer monitor.
    AI and Automation
    Survey says digital innovation is the way to navigate macro uncertainty
  • COVID-19 has prompted creative solutions to keep the enterprise running
    Employee Experience
    COVID-19 has prompted creative solutions to keep the enterprise running
  • Why human-centric metrics are essential to business agility
    Cybersecurity and Risk
    Why human-centric metrics are essential to business agility