PODCAST SEPTEMBER 29, 2021
S P E A K E R S
Lucy Hallam, Brad Kay, Prasad Ramakrishnan, Mike Myers
Although many IT leaders launch into projects with set goals, there’s no telling what sort of unexpected consequences will emerge. Our Changemakers knew Freshservice would transform their day-to-day operation.But few predicted the wide-ranging impact their transformations would have. In this episode you’ll see how you can plan and predict certain benefits, but several successful business outcomes arrive serendipitously.
Narrator: Change is a funny thing.
Although many IT leaders launch into projects with set goals, there’s no telling what sort of unexpected consequences will emerge.
Our Changemakers knew Freshservice would transform their day-to-day operations… but few predicted the wide-ranging impact their transformations would have.
Lucy Hallam: We have seen a huge improvement, I would probably say that the service desk probably does an average of 60% of our first time fixes, within the department.
Narrator: We heard Lucy Hallam’s story in Episode One. She’s the service desk manager at an NHS trust in England.
For years, the Trust’s technology stood still. They were using a decade-old tool designed for small businesses, not large public sector organizations.
But when new leadership arrived, she could unleash 12 years of pent-up ambition.
Lucy Hallam: The self-service usage went up, I think it was probably a month after we went live, or probably a day or two after we went live, it went up by 19%. The average tickets logged went down by 9%, so that's probably the knowledge base as well, because we put a lot of our solution articles.
Lucy Hallam: The average abandoned calls went down by 10%, and the call waiting time went down by 7%, and the escalations also went down by 54%. So, that was just probably a month or maybe two after we went live.
Narrator: Lucy didn’t anticipate just how big an impact the transformation was going to have.
After seeing how readily people were engaging with the self-service section, she began making plans to shake up her team’s structure.
Lucy Hallam: At the moment we have a team of six, and one of those is on a rota of self-service, just doing self-service all day. So I'm planning to put half the team on self-service, and I think when we do that, you'll see a better response as well. So, it will mean that more and more people will use it. And also, I think self-service is quite good for the service desk, because they've got that more thinking time.
They're not rushed to fix a problem straight away, and they have a set time on the phone, like an average call time is say five minutes. Whereas self-service, I think it builds up their knowledge more as well and their thinking time, and it also improves our SLAs as well.
Narrator: That performance improvement didn’t go unnoticed by NHS employees, either. Customer ratings for Lucy’s help desk skyrocketed — 90% of people rated it excellent.
And it’s not just metrics and KPIs that improved. When people feel productive, that has a huge impact on their outlook and engagement.
Brad Kay: The team are happy using it and productive using it, and it makes their life easier.
Narrator: That’s Brad Kay. We haven’t heard from him yet.
Unlike our other Changemakers, he sort of fell into IT.
Originally, he wanted to be a filmmaker. After some local success in Australia, he moved to London to break into the industry.
To make ends meet, he picked up a job at Barclays testing software. It turned out that he was good at it.
21 years after landing his first job in IT, he joined Maddocks, a law firm founded back in 1885.
He was their first Chief Information Officer and spent a lot of time reframing how the IT department thought about its employees and end users.
Brad Kay: I think you need to start with the people you're ultimately serving and that means empathy and listening is where you start. If you listen to adjust your thinking to how you counter the argument for the negative feedback you've just heard, it's not really listening. I think its listening with a view to learn.
Like, if you're open to learning, you're more likely to do something progressive. I think that is the starting point. No way you start with AI or start with whatever the latest tech jargon, lingo, trend, whatever. It's not there. I think you start with the people.
Narrator: It’s an understatement to say people are important to Brad.
He says that people centricity is the foundation for all successful transformations.
When you lose sight of the end user — the person who will actually use the tool — it’s easy to get lost.
And getting lost is surprisingly easy to do.
Prasad Ramakrishnan: If the only tool you have in your backpack is a hammer, everything looks to you like a nail.
Narrator: That’s Prasad Ramakrishnan from Episode Two. He’s the Changemaker who used the Democratic Process to select a new help desk.
He says leaders can lose focus of what’s important during a transformation. When they put tools and tech ahead of people, initiatives can derail.
Prasad Ramakrishnan: Most people get too wedded to the tool rather than the real problem statement. When you take a tool-centric view and it's akin to the other statement, which you would have heard.
Prasad Ramakrishnan: Try to understand what the problem statement is and what problem you're trying to solve. What is your vision. What is it that you want to solve for? If you take a tool-centric approach, you'll forget about the users, you'll forget about the real problem, you'll forget about the process. And then you may have a case where the tool is implemented the best possible way, and you have an operation successful, but the patient is dead. So always go after what is the real problem you're trying to solve? Don't be a solution looking for a problem.
Narrator: All IT transformations will benefit the team internally. They’ll help support agents work more efficiently and solve tickets faster.
But some will drive change externally, too.
Mike Myers: IT is just leveraged when somebody immediately needs something. It is selfishly used by other people.
Narrator: That’s Mike Myers; he’s the final Changemaker we’ll meet in this series.
Even though IT is essential to a company’s operations, he says the department gets pushed to the side and treated like a silo.
Although the root causes are complex, he has a theory on how we’ve ended up this way.
Mike Myers: I'm not going to blame it on the TV show, The IT Crowd but I'm going to say it has a part.
Narrator: But when he joined grocery delivery startup Gopuff, he discovered its IT team played a seriously different role.
Mike Myers: at Gopuff I feel that that is far from the case because not only are we there to support people, but we have a very proactive nature in terms of regularly meeting with department heads, trying to find pain points in the organization, things that are not standardized. So we're not only there for immediate support, we're there making your life easier without you even knowing it. So we have all of these projects that go on behind the scenes and when they go live, the whole staff that had no idea what was going on under the hood, they're just blown away by a new tool set that they already have at their fingers. And they didn't even have to ask for it.
Colin McCarthy: They'd open a ticket after 6:00 PM. So, that's normally when the New York guys have stopped working for the day, but that ticket at seven o'clock would be stuck in the New York queue when I've got a whole team out on the west coast, it's only four o'clock their time. They could easily pick up that ticket. So, we just like were, "Well, let's get rid of some of our separate queues for different offices and locations and just make one giant queue for North America." And then when you do have people working different hours or in different time zones, instead of having these smaller teams picking up tickets, we've got one giant team picking up tickets, and that simple change that we implemented was very beneficial.
Narrator: Shifting into this strategic role allowed Mike and his team to help the organization in new ways.
Mike Myers: So, we have found pain points in onboarding folks at such a rapid rate. Our HR department is often drowning in how many wrecks we have open, how many people are actually coming on board and previously it was a manual process for the IT team. We had one dedicated person that was doing all of those manual account creations. We're making Slack, Zoom, G suite, Microsoft office, Adobe, what have you. We rolled in Okta and the second that somebodies... Let's say their background clears, W-2 clears, I-9 what have you. Clicks a button and sends it over to Okta and Okta makes all of the stuff for us. So it not only makes the IT team, alleviates their work. It alleviates HR work because they don't have to worry about tiptoeing around in terms of getting folks onboarded and pressuring us saying, "Hey, Friday 6:00. I got somebody starting on Monday." We got it covered.
Narrator: What’s interesting is how operational transformations often lead to this sort of strategic evolution.
When agents aren’t fighting with their tool, they can investigate other areas of the business.
If their days aren’t filled with tedious manual tasks, they can invest their efforts elsewhere.
When IT becomes a dependable partner, rather than a forgotten silo, it can drive amazing progress across companies.
Narrator: As our Changemakers learned, you can predict and plan for some benefits, but others will arrive serendipitously.
Lucy Hallam discovered the potential of self-service. By investing in new resources and staffing, she hopes to lessen the pressures on her help desk.
Meanwhile, Brad Kay introduced a new tool — and with it he changed his team’s employee experience. Work that was once a chore became easy—and dare we say, enjoyable?
Mike Myers learned of the impact IT departments can have once they’re empowered to step into a strategic role.
And Prasad Ramakrishnan warned us of the danger of tool centric mindsets.
Although the impact of our Changemakers’ transformations is varied, one thing is consistent: They were all open-minded and adaptable. Instead of keeping their heads down, they searched for unexpected benefits and seized them with both hands.
In doing so, they turned good IT transformations into great ones.
On the final episode of The Change Makers, we reach the end of the journey with our IT leaders.
But their stories aren’t done quite yet.
Mike Myers : We were recognizing that we're getting an uptick as our inventory grows, we have to start looking over BevMo stuff. Again, that California company we acquired. And it was becoming a pain point for us. So that's when we rallied the merchandising folks and said, "Hey, let me show you our best friend. This is Freshservice. You're going to live here now."
Thanks for joining us.