How to Manage Results When Your Tech Stack is Too High

By Jonathan Morgan

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How to Manage Results When Your Tech Stack is Too High

Earlier this week I was talking to a friend, a strategic leader of a mid-sized company based here in Atlanta, who has been experiencing a struggle that many of my customers have also fought with. In a complex organization, business environment, and ever-changing technology industry, there has been an influx of more and more software solutions. In the words of my friend, “I feel like every 30 minutes, I’m operating out of a different system or creating a different report. Every team manages their work differently in JIRA or Smartsheet or some other team tool. At the end of the month, I’m left with pulling reports from multiple systems that show a lot of the same information.” Today’s varied market of software provides highly-tailored solutions at the team level but creates a challenge for the executive level. For leaders trying to gain visibility into how multiple teams are doing across plans and projects, using multiple work tools is a nightmare.

Why Are There Too Many Platforms?

In its basic form, it comes down to how organizations are forced to operate in today’s highly competitive and technology-driven landscape: with agility. When you’re constantly shifting to address the next project, there isn’t time to find a new process or system to manage outcomes at an enterprise level. Teams continue to use tools that are specifically catered to them, so they can get their work done quickly. Growth needs to happen fast, which gives little time for process optimization and carefully choosing cross-functional tools.

Why Are We Moving Too Fast?

The nature of the problem stems from the increase in competition across most markets. A decrease in barriers to market entry and an increase in access to capital has made it tougher for organizations to grow and remain at the top. Just take a look at how the Fortune 500 has changed in the last 60 years if you don’t believe me. This change in competition – which is accelerating – has forced more companies and executives to think about their future in a new light, increasing the focus on strategy and planning. Instead of viewing growth at a team or project level, leaders are adapting by aligning resources to achieve overarching initiatives. As found by the Project Management Institute (PMI), 88% of executives say that executing strategic initiatives successfully will be “essential” or “very important” for their organizations’ competitiveness in the next few years. With an increased focus on planning, executives can no longer conduct planning as a “checking the box” exercise. They MUST think about how they will operationalize their plans – to make changes stick.

Why Doesn't a Siloed Approach Work?

With a new emphasis, comes new problems. Organizations continue to struggle with operationalizing strategic plans. And as my colleague, Joe Krause, discussed, organizations continually fight with differentiating strategic and operational plans. In many cases, the organizational strategic plan is disseminated down into operational elements and distributed to the teams/divisions with minimal process or communication. Leaders want the results and insights along the way, but rarely build out an organizational process to be able to understand the work being done at the employee level. This leads to the true issue. As the work disseminates down, teams are given an option to choose from a massive market of technology solutions to help them drive their distributed tasks. With their selection, they are hoping to be as efficient as possible, so they can deliver results to executives. But, as Wrike recently discussed, “getting what you want—immediately when you want it—is the new norm.” It must be easy to understand what is happening and why it’s happening, as it’s happening. Unfortunately, before starting this process, many leaders don’t sit back and think about the long-term impact. Leaders relinquish decision-making power when they don’t have a way to see what’s working (and what isn’t) until it’s already done and reported 6 months later.

How Do Successful Leaders Get Insight Across Software Solutions?

How can a leader make decisions across their enterprise when looking across numerous platforms, each with their own distinct characteristics? In short, they can’t. Or if they can, it is extremely difficult. You may be familiar with collecting reports from each individual system and spending 10s of hours every month compiling them into single-language reports. You want them to be both high-level enough for a C-level overview and detailed enough to provide insightful information for managers. This method is broken.

What's a Good Solution for Enterprise-Level Plan Insight?

While there is a sea of platforms available to manage teams and operational items, very few options exist to help the entire enterprise. This leads to a disconnect in comprehending results from one team to the next. Even further, it leaves a massive gap between the day-to-day activities, or operations, and the outcomes of the enterprise. There may be an abundance of great work that’s happening: incredible projects, initiatives, activities, and more. But if you can’t tie them to the organizational outcomes, or KPIs, can you truly be sure that these are the right initiatives? Your organization should closely align the objectives/outcomes your enterprise is seeking with the activities and operational elements that impact the results. This should be done in a consistent manner across the organization. Your process should force accountability and enable visibility into progress in one platform. It shouldn’t take compiling multiple systems or trying to make a business decision by relying on 5+ PowerPoint presentations. The segmented, outdated way of the past doesn’t have to continue any longer. At AchieveIt, we have the first true enterprise platform for execution. One that enables accountability and visibility across all levels of the organization, giving the insights to drive enterprise execution.