How UK&I businesses can adopt a control-tower model for long-term success


Simon Morris, Area VP, Solution Consulting UKI, ServiceNow

Organisations across the UK and Ireland are caught in a constant state of flux. Rising inflation, the looming threat of recession, and supply chain disruptions are all contributing to mass uncertainty.
This isn’t the only concern however – technology continues to rapidly evolve, and businesses must somehow keep up at a time when investment is the last thing on their minds.

That said, choosing the right digital tools and strategy — more specifically, ones that enable greater visibility across the entirety of operations — can set businesses up for success. Yet, many organisations find knowing where to start their digital transformation journey challenging.

A study by Public First shows 40% of organisations are not aware of the difference digital technology can make on their operations. It's clear businesses need to realise how they can use technology to see the bigger picture and navigate challenges that lie ahead.

The control tower model 

Firms have often focussed their efforts on short-term initiatives driven by the limited data available to them from ground level. But this is only suitable for change on a smaller scale.
If we think of it in a physical sense, a top-down perspective grants a better vantage point. And the same logic can be applied to the way businesses leverage technology for greater visibility across the enterprise, via a ‘control tower’ model.

In effect, the ‘control tower’ approach enables you to pull all your organisation’s information, processes, systems, and teams together into a single place — providing a 360° view to unlock the true value of your data and digitally transform your business.
Going one step further than your average data platforms, which are often designed only to satisfy IT, control tower architecture is designed to meet needs across the entire organisation.

This approach enables a business to overcome siloed systems and data complexity to achieve more seamless integration and better collaboration company wide.

Putting visibility into practice 

The control tower approach sounds great on paper, but it’s only when the model is put into action that we better understand its potential.

For instance, the NHS needed to treat vulnerable patients on lockdown without putting them at risk of infection. Through early adoption of new home-use medical devices and smartphone apps, healthcare providers were able to create virtual wards and treat patients while they sheltered in place. 

Virtual wards rely on continuous monitoring to emulate the level of personal care. To do this effectively, there needs to be accessible data in the right place, at that right time, for the right person. That’s why a central platform is so important – it integrates both work and data flows across the enterprise, so staff have the insight to ensure wrap-around care.

The control tower approach is also extremely useful when it comes to handling ESG related matters such as compliance, risk, and reporting.  The growing importance of ESG has created a very real need to demonstrate complete compliance for multiple industries — be it finance, manufacturing, or retail — and organisations need to be able to track, measure and report on progress in this area.

Take the grocery industry, for example. Many companies are facing consumer (and in some cases, regulatory) demands to minimise food waste across stores. Being able to do this successfully comes down to having clarity of systems, data and processes. In this way, the control tower approach helps not just with ESG goals, but also in driving efficiency to maintain margins.  

What’s more, risk is also a key concern, particularly in the context of cybersecurity. Organisations suffering from a lack of visibility into processes and infrastructure are more vulnerable to cyberthreats – this is particularly pertinent in the manufacturing industry, as business leaders deal with large, complex, often multi-national systems and value chains. Business leaders need a complete view of operations to close the interaction gaps in traditional factory models and identify potential vulnerabilities before it’s too late.

Seeing the bigger picture

It’s never been more important to have visibility across your business, especially in the face of disruption. But by taking a control tower approach you’re making the future of your business a little more certain.

With the right technology solutions, like those offered by ServiceNow, behind your business you’re bringing together all relevant stakeholders on board, assessing your systems and data sources, managing cyberthreats, and even managing supply chain compliance.

What’s more, with a clearer view of your business and how it ticks, it’s all that easier to identify new opportunities and solutions for growth.

It’s a capability that will benefit your business both now and, in the future, to visualise long-term success – no matter the challenges that lie ahead.

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