“The art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity,” said Douglas Horton, and when it comes to business optimisation, nothing could be more accurate. Finding simple solutions means considering enormous complexities. In fact, being able to appreciate a business and its people in their entirety is a staggering task: many of our clients have thousands of staff, hundreds of teams, and more processes than we can count. That’s why we have committed ourselves to a simple, streamlined, high-level approach to creating change — it’s called Service Blueprint Design.
Anyone who has operated in the corporate world will be familiar with the concept. ‘Blueprinting’ is a tried-and-true method of mapping out the journey of either a customer or client, from the start of their journey to the end. The concept was spearheaded by a bank executive back in 1982. Lynn Shostack was first quoted talking about ‘service blueprint design’ in a 1982 edition of the Harvard Business Review, but explored it further in an 1984 where she notes the system “…helps to cut down the time and inefficiency of random service development, and gives a higher level view of service management prerogatives.”The process, she proposed, gave a bird’s-eye-view of how a certain service machine fit together, and where it needed repairs.
Fast forward to 2020 and almost every consultancy on the planet has experimented with blueprinting in some format or another. So, what makes us different?
The Cloudwerx difference lies in our speed, and our artifacts. Whilst most journey-mapping workshops come with the reputation of being long, slow, and dense; we’ve worked hard to dramatically trim back the process. Our workshops don’t take half a day, they can be completed in ninety minutes. Our artifacts don’t take a month to return to our clients, they’re made on the spot and available to use immediately.
“This is an approach that has been leveraged from the beginning of Cloudwerx,” says CEO Toby Wilcock.
“We saw an opportunity to simplify the blueprints and push them to work smarter in the Salesforce ecosystem. We wanted to produce something that is a living, breathing artifact, that’s useful on many levels across an organisation.”
From our perspective, there are three key reasons this process is so powerful: empathy, alignment, and insights.
When dealing with IT-based projects, it’s a constant battle to keep people in the picture. Tech-based solutions are a windy rabbit-hole of systems and processes, and Cloudwerx has always worked overtime to remind our teams that it’s not the technology we’re designing for — it’s the people. System blueprint design is a quick and effective way to recalibrate to a user-centric perspective.
User empathy is achieved by allowing a birds-eye-view of the entire client experience. “Bluntly, if the ‘eyes behind the screen’ (or the person delivering the service) is suffering then the process as a whole suffers,” points out Toby. Teams who may normally operate in a siloed environment and typically do not have the opportunity to showcase how upstream or downstream processes affect their work are suddenly given access to a new perspective.
For this same reason, team alignment is a key outcome from the blueprinting process. “You can quickly identify the root cause of your customer’s pain,” says Toby, “so it’s perfect for processes that span multiple functions.” Finding a single source of truth for multiple stakeholders is invaluable — and in a workshop context, less likely to cause conflict or confusion.
Actionable insights are the final pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It can take a lot of work, but if a team is able to walk away with tangible, real-world solutions? Then our work is complete — and it’s our promise that we will deliver these to you. “Cloudwerx consultants see blueprinting as an incredibly efficient use of their time,” confirms Toby. “Quality of life = quality of work = happy customers!”
Here’s a great example of Service Blueprint Design in action: My Plan Manager. They were time-poor, rapidly growing, and juggling multiple, misaligned systems.
Sean Colyer is the Head of Product for My Plan Manager, one of Australia’s first NDIS plan management services. Along with various members of the C-level management team, Sean attended the Cloudwerx Service Blueprint Design Workshop led by Chris Baldock earlier this year.
“My Plan Manager purchased Salesforce in 2019, and engaged Cloudwerx in early 2020,” says Sean. “Ours is an ongoing project that originally started out with quite a specific task — our reconnections process. Since then, our work with Cloudwerx has expanded to cover our welcome/onboarding process, and more recently, our client service processes, too.”
Sean had worked with Service Blueprint Design before, and was familiar with the process. The biggest change in this version of the workshop, he says, was how ‘light’ it felt. “It was a lightweight process! We moved through the workshop really quickly and efficiently, and the artifacts were really clear and easy to understand.”
As a quickly growing company, My Plan Manager understood the need to align their team, vision, and processes.
The team was united by a desire to help their clients: the NDIS, after all, is all about providing care to our country’s most vulnerable. The engagement and enthusiasm for the blueprinting process, says Sean, was therefore quite high. Everyone wanted to help.
This wasn’t My Plan Manager’s first rodeo: they had worked with several other consultants in a bid to iron out the internal inconsistencies, but ‘none had really resonated’. Sean says that having the right people in the room, and taking an extremely high-level approach (without being bogged down in the details) allowed for a speedy and rewarding experience.
“We are constantly running at a million miles an hour,” says Sean, “so workshops can feel like a bit of a time drain. But this was different — it really had to be done, and it’s allowed us the freedom to now move forward with confidence.”
One of the key findings from their workshop process lay in the most unexpected of places.
“I would say that certain details surfaced that surprised members of the team,” says Sean. “We were looking at manual workflows and found real complexity in the way we operated some of our ‘exception’ workflows.” What Sean is referring to are not the common, day-to-day actions of the company — they, he says, were flowing quite well. What was really tripping them up was how they worked with the uncommon workflows that never saw much airtime.
Through the blueprinting process — and Chris Baldock’s famous intuition — they were able to identify this hurdle and find solutions to key client moments.
“The way the workshop was facilitated was really structured, with clear steps, and allowed us all to observe and listen in,” says Sean. “It was incredibly collaborative yet it was clear at all times who was the expert on a particular topic, which was helpful when seeking a single source of truth for our processes.”
Service Blueprint Design is, and always will be, the cornerstone of the Cloudwerx approach. We like to see the big picture before diving into details. To seek simplicity is to wholeheartedly embrace complexity — and that’s what this process is all about.