PODCAST OCTOBER 07, 2021
S P E A K E R S
Derek Rose, Peter Basxkette, Mike Myers, Lucy Hallam, Sumit Kohli, Prasad Ramakrishnan
When most people think of change initiatives, they see a start point and a finish line. But our Changemakers disagree. For them, transformation is like evolution: it never ends. In our final episode we learn that with enough ambition, drive, and backing, IT practitioners can challenge the status quo, rip up the rule book, and create a new era of IT efficiency.
Narrator: Think back to your first cell phone.
Maybe it was a Nokia 3210? Or a Motorola RAZR?
Whatever it was, it was probably pretty basic, right?
Monochrome screen, big bulky buttons, and a call quality that sounded like you were inside a tin can.
We’ve come a long way since then.
We added SMS and cameras.
Then video calls and music players.
Mobile data reinvented how we interact with services… and each other.
Smartphones, touchscreens, and 5G changed everything.
The phones in our pockets today are nothing like the basic bricks of the ‘80s and ‘90s.
And we expect that. We expect technology to evolve. Hardware gets smaller. Software becomes smarter. Systems develop and platforms grow.
But it’s a different story for transformation.
When most people think of change initiatives, they see a start point and a finish line. They ditch their old tech, roll out a replacement, and everything is perfect.
But our Changemakers disagree.
For them, transformation is like technology evolution: it never ends.
Derek Rose: Transformation isn't a start and a stop, okay? It's continuous evolution, it's continuous change.
Narrator: Derek Rose spent the first two years at maritime services company V.Goup rebuilding its core IT infrastructure and operations.
He tackled the transformation in bite-sized chunks, driving progress through mini initiatives and projects.
Derek Rose: Once we've reached a milestone of success across that initiative, if you like, we hail that success with this team. We go back into the team and we recognize the success that they've done. And it's dead easy to say thank you. So why don't we say thank you more often? You know? More often than not, that's what everybody's looking for. Recognition. So it's real important for me to have that 360 cycle, and we do that very well within V Group. And we recognize success and achievement, not just in IT, across the whole of the group as well. So it's important from a cultural and a value perspective.
Narrator: Chunk by chunk, Derek inched his way towards what some people thought was the finish line. But overhauling V.Group’s IT department was never going to be the end of his story.
Now he’s looking externally, thinking about how he can improve service and technology to help others in the company.
Derek Rose: So this year, for me, it's about the year of the vessel. It's about how do we innovate, how do we bring uniformity, consistency, how do we improve the experience digitally and On board for the seafarers? And the technology that we want to use to improve the customer experience, to give us better digital insights, to give us that whole structure and deliver a better customer experience for the crew. Because things break on vessels, the vessels nowadays are hugely complex when it comes to digital. Lots of systems on board to manage the day to day operations of the vessels, lots of systems to manage the health and safety, which is really important for us.
Narrator: That willingness to look outside of IT is something all our Changemakers have in common.
When they got their own house in order, they started searching for others to help.
Peter Baskette: We made all our adjustments and potential mistakes on the IT department, so let's get our house in order. But facilities and HR both leveraged incident management, because they both have very transactional service desks.
Narrator: Peter Baskette says helping transactional departments like facilities and HR was an easy choice.
But there was another implementation that surprised him.
Peter Baskette: And then the billing department for us actually leveraged change management, and this was a really interesting use case, that they basically tweaked the approval process and change management for billing workflows and approvals it too allowed them to step up their game in a major way and track a lot of information that they hadn't been before,
Narrator: Peter got a lot of use out of Freshservice, adapting the platform for several different use cases.
But there’s another Changemaker we need to mention here.
Mike Myers: then we have one, two, three, four, five, six. Eight merchandising sub-categories. Oh, sorry. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. 16 merchandising categories
Narrator: That’s Mike Myers from Gopuff… and his Freshservice implementation is one of the biggest we’ve ever seen.
Mike Myers: So our major HQ tickets, there's IT operations. So that is globally our IT blanket support. There's corporate IT. So that gets classed by anybody that is a headquartered employee. They have a tag from the requester side so we can see what their job title is. So it's those folks, our engineering department. So any engineering bugs, supply chain.
Mike Myers: then lastly is IT purchasing. So peripheral requests folks coming on that are working from home for the foreseeable future, putting in tickets to get a keyboard, monitor, you know, what have you.
Narrator: In his nearly 10 years in IT, Mike’s seen nothing like the Gopuff setup — and he’s impressed.
Mike Myers: I feel like in every previous role, support requests are segmented into silos. There's developer requests that normally live in a JIRA instance for bug tracking and then there's basic help requests. Gopuff is a mammoth when it comes to the different things that are supported. I feel that our IT team sees or oversees more than they should but nobody is really taking ownership. So we do it.
Narrator: By taking ownership of adjacent functions, Mike and his team have control over management and monitoring. Instead of data being locked in different siloed systems, he’s condensed everything onto one platform.
Having everyone on a single pane of glass is a huge advantage.
Mike Myers: Especially when it comes to we have to roll up to our upper management. They want to know where the biggest pain points are. Not that things are broken in terms of let's say merchandising. That's my golden child for the moment. It's not that things are broken. It's just there are areas of opportunity that are being identified. Things that could improve in terms of how we're tracking these things, how we're integrating them, trends. It's all about trends for us. Yeah.
Narrator: Coming out of the initial chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Changemakers are excited about the future.
Some are planning to bring even more teams and departments onto Freshservice.
Lucy Hallam: We're in the process of doubling our licenses so we can onboard three other departments within the trust, so that they obviously can meet their strategic business needs as well. And I think obviously once we've done that, probably more and more departments will see how brilliant it is for their teams, and probably onboard with Freshservice as well.
Narrator: Others are investigating new functionality and features.
Sumit Kohli: What we're looking at is how to make life easier for agents, because for agents also, that's the most important platform in their day to day professional life. Because, that is where they spend most of the time working on the tickets trying to help our staff, trying to give them the support as soon as possible. So, what we are looking at now is to how we can actually make changes and automate things that actually would free up time for the agents which we can actually use for their development, as well as engage them in different projects or the task would actually give them the opportunity to grow as well.
Sumit Kohli: If we can actually make things easier in terms of automating certain tasks for the agents, that would be a big plus for productivity, because then that time can be utilized for something else, like for agent development, or using the agent's time for projects or certain tasks.
Narrator: And a few aren’t yet sure what comes next. They’re staying open minded and will respond to the data.
Peter Baskette: The longer term strategic operations benefit is really where I feel like we've seen so much more, I'd say, imperceptible but deeper growth. And by that, I mean, the amount of data that we had available to us, essentially, could be mined for trends and action in a way that was totally invisible before then. So, we have QBRs, quarterly business reviews internally to IT, and we would be presenting data on what we had, and "this is what we're seeing," then we talk about projects and other things, but the operational portion was always like, "Yeah, this is our impression of what's going on."
So, it went from that lack of data that I was talking about, to deep insights into where there were clusters of problems, where things were working really well, we could watch the impact of major project deployments, we could zero in on problem areas and improvements. And then what that's allowed us to do is to systematically, over time, ferret out those areas where there were inefficiencies or underlying issues that would have been, like I said, invisible, and we've been able to, in a very methodical way, remediate them.
Narrator: Most of these initiatives are still in the planning stage. We’re still a few months or quarters away from learning what new NHS department Lucy Hallam has migrated onto Freshservice. And we’re still waiting to see how Sumit Kohli is using AI chatbots. But if it’s anything like the work that came before, we know it will be transformative.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to The Changemakers from Freshworks.
At the start of this series, we talked about the evolution of personal technology.
We compared our fantastic personal tech to the clunky legacy hardware and software in our workplaces — the old un-supported on-prem tools, the malfunctioning on-site servers, the makeshift integrations.
But things are beginning to change.
Our Changemakers are blazing a trail for IT leaders everywhere, proving that organizations can transform their technology. With enough ambition, drive, and backing, they can challenge the status quo, rip up the rule book, and create a new era of IT efficiency.
Although we’re closing the book on our Changemaker’s journeys, we know this isn’t the end.
They’ll keep innovating and evolving. They’ll move departments and companies, bringing fresh eyes and boundless enthusiasm with them.
Wherever they go, change will follow — and that is truly exciting.
Before we go, we wanted to leave you with one final quote. It’s from Prasad Ramakrishnan, our Chief Information Officer and one of the Changemakers in this series. His leadership inspires everyone at Freshworks to keep striving and improving.
We hope he can inspire you, too.
Prasad Ramakrishnan : Most people think digital transformation is a project.
Prasad Ramakrishnan : If I hear of a fellow CIO or IT leader say, "Hey, I'm doing a digital transformation project." I'm like, "Digital transformation is not a project, it's a process." You need to do it over and over and over and over again. You may have short-term goals, the business transforms, your business landscape transforms, the people transform, the macro industry transforms. So you need to keep doing it over and over again.
Thanks for joining us.