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Kimble Shows How Businesses Can Smash Bottlenecks at TSW Las Vegas 2019

As visitors arrive at booth 30 at the Technology & Services World tech conference in Las Vegas – the tallest booth at the center of the show floor – they are greeted by a what appears to be a large subway map.

But instead of stops on subway lines, what services leaders at the TSW conference are looking at is the services process, mapped out from the opportunity through service delivery, all the way to invoicing and beyond. Above the map, it says simply: “Services Drives Success. Kimble Drives Services.”

Kimble Applications has come to TSW Las Vegas 2019 with a mission – help technology organizations attending the conference think about how they can leverage services to drive the best possible customer experience while also optimizing for profitability. The Kimble subway map has long been a part of that mission, highlighting paths to customer satisfaction and profitability while also showing, in places where multiple “lines” meet, where progress is likely to slow down as teams wait for information to be transferred and decisions to be made. That’s where decision-making bottlenecks are likely to occur.

Preventing Bottlenecks Before They Happen

This morning, Kimble Managing Director Sarah Edwards led “How to Smash the Bottlenecks that Prevent Services Success,” a TSW session that put a spotlight on services bottlenecks that technology organizations face. Along with fellow presenters Marc Lacroix of RTMC and Kimble colleague Nithya Shaw, Edwards guided 125 attendees through the Kimble subway map to give context to common “traffic jam” scenarios and recommend solutions for predicting them and preventing them before they become a problem.

The three presenters focused on how businesses can reduce the time it takes to make decisions because, as highlighted in the session, studies show that decision latency has a major impact on project failure rates – the difference between making a decision in one hour and making it in five translates to a 23% increase in project failure and 40% decrease in the probability of project success.

And so the question, which was explicitly asked in the presentation, becomes: How do businesses become more efficient and scalable in decision-making, moving it down the organization and closer to the customer, without losing control and the quality of decision-making?

Keys to Making Better Decisions, Sooner

In order to illustrate the three keys to making better decisions sooner, Marc Lacroix used one of the most vexing paradoxes a business faces – the fact that the time it takes to hire a resource, let alone onboard that resource, is often longer than the amount of time a business knows they need to hire more people. So what does an organization need in order to move with agility?

1
Clarity

This boils down to: does everyone on the ground have a clear idea of what the mission and vision are, and what the process is to achieve that?

If that understanding is lacking, it doesn’t matter how fast people can move because they won’t be making decisions that align with organizational priorities.

In the case of hiring, this can be clarity as to:

  • what triggers and information there should be that indicate the team needs to be expanded.
  • what kind of people will be needed (by role, by skill, etc.).
  • who will be the ultimate decision maker.
2
Context

The second key to services agility is context – does the person making the decision have all the necessary information at their disposal?

If they don’t have that information presented clearly, they’re likely to make a gut decision rather than a decision based on data, and while sometimes gut decisions work out, that positive result shouldn’t be confused for a positive process. For businesses to scale, decision-makers need context to make insightful decisions.

In the case of hiring, the appropriate context might be:

  • the resource forecast and capacity plan.
  • utilization performance and financial performance for your business.
  • your contractor capacity.
3
Speed

It may seem a bit obvious to point out that speed is a key to services agility, but this is the missing ingredient more often than not – while the mission is clear and the context is available, as an organization scales the mechanisms it uses to combine the two and take action can become inefficient and cumbersome.

A good decision means little if the decision isn’t timely because by the time someone can act, circumstances have changed. Businesses operate in an increasingly dynamic world, and while decisions shouldn’t be made so fast that they are uninformed, any obstacle that stands in the way of taking action on an informed decision should be removed.

In the case of hiring, speed can come from:

  • timely access to up-to-date data.
  • a strong linkage to sourcing and recruiting.
Empowering the Business with a Decision-Making System

Of course, businesses shouldn’t feel the need to tackle all of this alone. Technology can be – and often should be – the leading force in driving change within an organization, an idea which is very much at home at TSW, a tech conference for tech businesses. With that in mind, Sarah Edwards introduced a final key ingredient to services agility – professional services automation software, which has been designed explicitly to overcome the business challenges organizations at TSW face.

“Kimble believes that the real purpose is to empower people throughout a services organization to make better decisions,” Edwards said from the stage, “decisions that improve business performance.”

To highlight this, Kimble turned the demonstration of their market-leading professional services automation solution into a bit of a game show, giving solutions engineer Nithya Shaw only 90 seconds to show how she would smash a major organizational bottleneck using a PSA solution. Why under two minutes to tackle an issue that takes teams of people weeks to work through?

It all comes back to agility – if decision-making latency of only a few hours can sap the chance of project success by 40%, than the true test of services automation is how quickly and clearly it can provide the appropriate context to enable a decision. That’s the message Sarah Edwards reinforced at the end of the session as she encouraged attendees to visit booth 30, where they could see Kimble PSA and its new Winter 20 features in action – decision-making bottlenecks do exist in services organizations, and the key to overcoming them is providing clarity, context and speed.