What is operational excellence?

Operational excellence is the goal of driving business performance through efficient and transparent practices to reduce costs and risk and deliver higher service quality.

Operational excellence is sometimes referred to as operating excellence or operations excellence. Both terms are used interchangeably and refer to the goal of driving business performance through efficient, transparent and value-add practices that will help lower operating costs and risk and deliver improved service quality and capability to the enterprise. Both operational excellence and operating excellence are sometimes shortened to OpEx.

Without a strong foundation that binds proper context with the right actions, organisations can’t align and deliver as one to reach their desired state with confidence. A unified organisational strategy designed to achieve operating excellence can help business leaders address their most common pressures that occur across operations, such as:

  • Reducing costs and running their enterprise service operations efficiently
  • Communicating to stakeholders a commitment to ESG initiatives
  • Demonstrating to shareholders that the organisation is resilient
  • Operating their business efficiently and at scale

When different parts of your business work together, they work better. Depending on how your business runs, this might mean combining the power of business management, security and even social and governance into a single operational platform. The result is the ability to construct processes that are effective, transparent and trustworthy, putting your organisation in a position to better serve all your stakeholders, whether that be your customers, your staff or the planet. Other benefits include:

  • Helps leaders remain strategic
  • Helps the organisation create a competitive advantage
  • Has a positive effect on the environment by upholding the sustainability values of your customers and colleagues

Global Business Services (GBS)

Global Business Services (GBS) can be defined as an organisational model designed to deliver end-to-end enterprise services within a single function that would otherwise be resolved within departmental shared services centres (e.g. IT, HR, finance etc.).

GBS organisations are often put in place to drive scaled, cost-efficient delivery, while improving service quality and governance across the enterprise. In addition to owning “back office” operations, GBS organisations are increasingly being tasked with delivering advanced and complex enterprise capabilities such as transformation, continuous improvement, analytics and more.

GBS brings together these traditionally separate, siloed internal operational service functions into a single corporate support organisation. Organisations that drive efficiencies through GBS strive to:

  • Connect end-to-end processes while reducing costs
  • Provide unified employee service experiences
  • Deliver shared visibility across all service cases
  • Gain agility and ease of continuous improvement

Risk and resilience in real-time

What does it mean to be risk resilient? An organisation is considered risk resilient when it has the necessary resources and processes in place to foresee and deal with future challenges and capitalise on opportunities. It’s even more powerful when enterprises manage risk and resilience in real time.

Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) programmes help ensure that enterprises address risks and meet compliance mandates. Today, these programmes are even more critical as enterprises around the world embrace digital transformation and cloud-based platforms. Such innovations enable workforces and customers to easily access digital services and processes, but these seamless experiences also bring increased risks.

Organisations with outdated GRC processes and tools are opening themselves up to unnecessary risk and placing themselves at a competitive disadvantage. These scenarios could be mitigated if enterprises implemented modern risk management and compliance practices embedded into digital workflows to achieve new insights and facilitate better decision-making.

Strategic outcomes

Organisations can drive their strategic outcomes by evolving their traditional approach to Project Portfolio Management (PPM) to Strategic Portfolio Management (SPM). SPM allows organisations to prioritise and fund what matters most, build a roadmap to guide investments, communicate plans and track progress. SPM empowers teams to plan and execute work in a method that suits their needs, while consolidating and centralising business demand.

To create an SPM environment, organisations must follow three distinct steps:

  • Roadmap strategy to maximise outcome
  • Align investments to implement strategy
  • Deliver value at pace using any methodology

Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG)

Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) is all about driving business growth while building a more sustainable, equitable and ethical future for the world. 

When organisations operate responsibly and pursue opportunities to solve societal challenges, they can deliver solutions for issues ranging from the climate crisis to poverty, inequality and starvation. Such innovation from the private sector is a growing market. The benefits for consumers and the planet are immeasurable when a company chooses to behave responsibly and promote positive environmental and social practices.

While most organisations perform ESG activities, few have a cohesive, enterprise-wide planning and operational model or technology foundation to help them achieve their ESG goals as demands increase.

One ESG best practice is to integrate workflows that will operationalise the ESG pillars of your programme on a single platform. They interact with operational controls for strategising, managing, governing and reporting ecosystem-wide. This silo-defying approach aligns your investments with your goals. It meshes ESG efforts with other corporate priorities and processes for optimal results.

Things change in an instant, it’s important that your operational processes can keep up. Automation can improve both customer experience and employee experience. When you can deliver predictably high service levels during unpredictable times, your customers will notice and thank you for it.

In the instance of customer service, it’s safe to say that not all issues are solved most effectively by agents in the contact centre. Some requests are handled more quickly and easily through customer self-service. For more complex problems, support agents often need to work with other teams in the organisation to address them. This is an example of automation at work to help drive operating excellence.

  • Start with your own employees’ experience first. To deliver seamless experiences for your customers, you must first look to your own operation. Begin to understand your employees’ roles and put the focus on how you can enable them to service customers properly. 
  • Create digital workflows and reduce the number of manual tasks. Enable the automated assignment of tasks and implement reporting structures to ensure action has been taken.
  • Unify all systems, policies and processes on a single platform. This allows your operations and technology solutions to scale along with your business’ trajectory in the future.
  • Find an implementation partner that shares your ambition, helps your organisation grow and has the potential to take your services to the next level.

The key component to driving operating excellence is to unify service delivery to enhance every business process across your organisation. This is achieved by replacing a complex mix of different systems and management processes in the different business units with integrated, powerful workflows all on one platform.

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