Modern organizations frequently have a love-hate relationship with their enterprise-wide software suites: ERP, CRM, HR, ITSM, etc..
Of course, these systems of record are necessary for large-scale operations, and they do effectively automate and improve many common business processes.
But they come with baggage as well: they’re complex, expensive, often difficult to use, and create silos of information.
What's needed in enterprises today is a "single pane of glass" that can complement these systems, unifying and tying together workflow and data across the entire tech stack. This results in visibility, automation and cost reductions for service delivery. Additionally, this gives employees and other stakeholders a consumer-like experience through an intuitive portal for making any type of request.
What Exactly is a Single Pane of Glass?
Most simply, it’s a metaphor for an easy-to-use portal through which employees (or other stakeholders such as contractors, suppliers, or customers) can submit any type of request without having to understand exactly how that request is routed, approved, and fulfilled using various enterprise platforms.
Underlying the portal are pre-defined workflows that automatically request needed approvals, push or pull information from various systems (SAP, Oracle, ServiceNow, BMC, Salesforce, Workday, etc.) as needed, and route the request through the correct channels for fulfillment. For example, in workflows that connect multiple systems, where data has to be pulled from system A to populate into system B and return data from system C, a single pane of glass becomes required to reduce friction in enterprises.
Within an enterprise, that portal or single pane of glass becomes a focal point for managing requests and other interactions. It supports digital transformation efforts and human-centric workflow automation: tying together human, digital, and physical interactions to create a differentiated customer experience.
A single pane of glass doesn’t replace existing enterprise software systems: rather, it makes them work better, together.
Employee (User) Benefits of a Single Pane of Glass
Supporting human-centered workflow automation is another way of saying that a single pane of glass makes it easy and seamless for employees to submit any type of request, so they can focus on their work. This provides a number of benefits to employees or other stakeholder users, including:
Centralized location: A single pane of glass portal gives employees one place to go online for any type of request, from approvals to purchasing—partners and sales operations, for example. There’s no need to use different tools or even be concerned about which underlying software systems (CRM, ERP, ITSM, etc.) are part of the fulfillment process.
Visibility and transparency: The portal also enables employees to easily track the progress and status of their requests, reducing manual touches and unnecessary follow ups.
Speed and simplicity: Not only are basic fields (such as contact details) pre-populated based on the user ID, the forms presented on the portal use intelligence and conditional branching to request all of the information needed—and nothing more—as the request is submitted. For example, hardware brand is important when submitting a purchase or repair request, but probably isn’t for troubleshooting a software issue.
Enterprise Benefits of a Single Pane of Glass
$29. That’s the cost of “touching” workflow by humans. Multiply that by the number of workflows in your organization and the cost escalates quickly.
For the organization, that portal helps to automate and consolidate workflows, minimize or remove human intervention in request fulfillment processes, and reduce fulfillment time. By digitizing and automating manual processes, it frees up employees to focus on higher value-added activities. It also improves the ROI of underlying enterprise systems by extracting more value from them.
A single pane of glass provides the greatest value in automating and improving workflow processes that are high volume, complex, and compliance-based.
High volume: An effective workflow automation platform can systematize any type of process, from obscure edge-case requests to the most common needs. But the greatest value lies in automating and accelerating service requests that happen hundreds or even thousands of times per month, where the potential savings are measured in seven or eight figures.
Complex: These requests involve multiple steps in a workflow. They may require fetching data from and updating records in three or more different systems. And based on conditional branching logic, they may require notifications, additional approvals, dependency management, and different sub-workflows.
Compliance-driven: Such requests may require verification of data, multiple approvals, e-signatures, and of course must be fully auditable.
A single pane of glass is a metaphor for an intuitive, unified portal through which employees or other stakeholders can submit any type of service or purchase request. It provides users with visibility into the status and progress of submitted requests. It integrates data and functionality across different enterprise systems (CRM, ERP, HR, ITSM) in a way that doesn’t replace or replicate these platforms, but rather increases their value by making them work better.
It benefits users by providing them with a single, centralized portal for submitting any type of request, with speed, simplicity, and full visibility. As such, it supports digital transformation efforts and human-centered service management.
And a single pane of glass benefits enterprises by improving and automating requests that are high-volume, complex, and compliance-based, providing potential savings of millions of dollars per year.