Almost every imaginable business process can now be optimized with a digital platform. But with so many options available, it’s increasingly difficult to know which solutions will make a tangible difference and which will end up causing tech stack bloat. This is where business enablement comes into play.
The Essence of Business Enablement
Business enablement is a system of technology-driven initiatives that aim to enhance employee productivity. These initiatives streamline operations within an organization, eliminating manual processes, repetitive tasks, and other administrative burdens. The goal is to reduce friction in employees’ workflows and empower them to work more efficiently.
Business enablement encompasses a range of activities, from purchasing new technology to implementing change-management processes. It often happens behind the scenes, ensuring that organizations invest in platforms that deliver real impact.
Understanding the Different Types of Enablement
While business enablement may sound familiar, it’s important to distinguish it from other types of enablement. Technology enablement is closely related to business enablement and focuses on streamlining internal operations through the implementation of digital platforms and solutions.
On the other hand, operational enablement focuses on streamlining product operations, such as building new feature capabilities. This function works closely with sales enablement, product managers, and marketing to successfully launch new product offerings.
Sales enablement, on the other hand, is all about driving sales success by providing reps with the content, guidance, and training they need to have effective buyer conversations, increasing revenue and customer satisfaction.
The Importance of Business Enablement
Business enablement is a key driver of internal operations. Without clearly defined guidelines on how and where to implement new technology initiatives, or who is responsible for their success, businesses risk deploying tools that their intended audience fails to adopt. This ultimately results in wasted money and skeptical employees.
However, with effective business enablement processes in place, organizations can quickly launch new technology initiatives and ensure that their internal systems keep pace with the modern workplace.
Who is Involved in Business Enablement?
Successful business enablement requires cross-functional collaboration. While it may seem like a logistical nightmare to involve multiple teams, it ensures that the perspectives and needs of all stakeholders are considered, reducing the chances of late-stage upsets.
Typically, business enablement teams comprise three groups:
Owners: These individuals are responsible for the success of the project. They lead the change initiative and ensure that all other stakeholders understand the new process or solution and have committed to it. Usually, owners are from IT or HR departments, as they often own the technology behind the scenes that business enablement seeks to improve.
Users: Users include anyone expected to use a new application or follow a new process. Instead of involving every potential user in the decision-making process, a few representatives act as a focus group to ensure that initiatives meet their needs.
Approvers: Approvers are the final decision-makers. Since business enablement initiatives affect broad groups of employees, the approver is typically a head of finance or IT. Executive buy-in adds weight to the initiative and ensures support from other functional heads.
Building Effective Business Enablement
Implementing effective business enablement requires a well-structured approach. Here are the five key steps:
Gather your business enablement crew: Collaboration between stakeholders is crucial for success. Define your owners, users, and approvers, and select representatives from each group to form a cohesive crew. Regular meetings should be held to discuss project progress and assess the initiative’s health.
Define necessity, prioritization, and expected outcomes: Hold a kickoff meeting to present the need for the business enablement initiative, its priority, and the expected outcomes. Clearly defining goals and priorities ensures alignment among stakeholders and guarantees a budget line for the project.
Develop a communications plan: A robust communications strategy is critical to success. Effective communication helps land new solutions and drives adoption. Your communications plan should inform users about upcoming changes, provide expectations, and offer reminders for critical actions related to the solution. Utilize email, messenger apps, and other company-wide platforms to keep users informed.
Launch your initiative: After careful planning, it’s time to launch the initiative. Offer pre- and post-solution training to ensure users are aware of changes and know what to do. Leverage the authority and visibility of approvers to build excitement about the change. Additionally, provide in-person support through a roaming help team or lunch and learn sessions.
Continually measure real vs. expected outcomes: Once the initiative is up and running, measure the expected outcomes against the real results. Assess metrics such as time and cost savings and ask questions to optimize the initiative. Regular evaluation ensures that the solution meets evolving needs and keeps the organization agile.
Business Enablement Propels Your Business Forward
While business enablement is a relatively new concept, its impact is far-reaching. By following a structured approach and involving the right stakeholders, organizations can invest in technology that keeps their business moving forward.
Looking to expand your business enablement framework beyond internal operations? Check out our guide on sales enablement and discover how to support your sales team’s growth for increased revenue.