What’s the H1 report card for global operations?
UK & Ireland show signs of recovery after six months of decline; North America on the up for the fourth consecutive quarter; Australia & New Zealand continue to flatline.
The first half of the year threw challenges at operations leaders, navigating disruptions from persistent inflation and rapid interest rate rises. However, the latest quarter paints a brighter picture: UK & Ireland's performance is on the upswing, Australia and New Zealand are confidently holding onto their top scorecard spots, and North America is in the race for the coveted first place. Amidst the tough economic landscape and upcoming cost-cutting endeavors, the next quarter holds the suspense of how the scorecards might shuffle.
Be prepared: the 60-second lowdown
Five key trends that are impacting operations teams around the world.
Improving decision intelligence
There is a recipe for success when it comes to improving operational performance, but at the heart of that is good decision intelligence that helps ops leaders to pull the right levers to optimize resources. Getting their data in order is key for ops teams to achieve this so they can generate the insights needed to inform better decision making and produce consistent performance gains.
Taking a holistic approach to ops
With consumers increasingly expecting a seamless experience when they interact with service providers, some organizations – notably in North America – are combining front and back offices to reduce friction when customers are passed between different business functions. As a result, operations teams are increasingly handling work on a customer or case basis, rather than handling specific tasks – merging resources and potentially improving efficiency by maximizing capacity and reducing costs.
Work volumes remain unpredictable
Operations teams continue to face fluctuations in inbound work as a combination of elevated interest rates, high inflation and a squeeze on household budgets has dampened the macro environment. As a result, customer needs have shifted, in some cases causing a drop off in activity and in others creating demand in new areas. Organizations must ensure they have the necessary agility to manage these variations and that any downtime is managed effectively (such as training staff to handle additional work outside their usual skillset).
Identifying disruptive workers
Organizations have been grappling with the phenomenon of ‘quiet quitting’ over the past year (where employees put in the minimum effort required, stunting productivity); now they are increasingly having to deal with so-called ‘loud quitters’ – people who actively take action that could harm the business or undermine its goals. Alarmingly, almost one in five workers is a loud quitter, according to a Gallup1 study published in June. For operations leaders, loud quitters can potentially derail efforts to meet service level agreements, weighing on the effectiveness of operations teams and pushing OpsIndex scores lower.
Resource strains to test agility levels
While job losses in North America have started to slow, redundancies have been accelerating in Australia, branded ‘The Great Sacking’ as organizations seek to cut headcount to manage inflated costs. This will test operations teams’ agility levels as ops leaders are forced to manage workloads with fewer resources and plug gaps by borrowing team members from different departments. With both regions showing steady improvements in recent months, OpsIndex data over the coming quarter will indicate if those gains are built on solid footings or more brittle foundations.
OpsIndex performance across regions
In the recent quarter, the UK and Ireland experienced a modest revival driven by enhanced efficiency and effectiveness, breaking a two-quarter decline trend. This upturn prompts speculation about whether this signifies a short-lived recovery or the onset of a sustained operational shift, despite trailing other regions in recent periods. Meanwhile, North America’s operational teams have maintained consistent progress for the fourth consecutive quarter, narrowing the gap with Australia and New Zealand.
A decline in job cuts indicates a potentially improving operating environment, demanding heightened adaptability for potential workload surges post-redundancies. In contrast, Australia and New Zealand remain frontrunners, achieving a slight increase attributed to heightened control levels from improved planning. However, they face economic uncertainty and rising job cuts, which add complexity to sustaining their advancement.
Read the full analysis →
Operational performance globally remains below pandemic-era highs, though the direction of travel is sharply divergent across regions. In the UK and Ireland, performance continues to decline against a backdrop of economic malaise and an ongoing cost of living crisis. By contrast, organizations in North America have shrugged off disruption in the banking sector and shown steady improvements over the past quarter (albeit with signs that improved effectiveness may be coming at the expense of customer service). Meantime, the top performing region, Australia and New Zealand, has seen its winning streak of post-pandemic gains finally stall, with performance flatlining in the opening three months of the year. The region’s performance over the coming quarter should give a clearer indication if this was just a temporary blip or if attempts to squeeze out more productivity gains have run out of steam. Read the full analysis →
What’s new in this edition
In each OpsTracker report, we spotlight new topics that operations teams are grappling with and invite industry experts to share their experiences and opinions on these challenges.
The challenges of unlocking actionable data in bank operations
”Marc RomainSenior Ops Leader
Experienced Ops leader Marc Romain shares his experience working at some of the world’s largest banks and his frustrations with the lack of data insights in banking operations and why it is even more critical to get right as digitization and cost pressures intensify.
Why Irish banks are poised for greater productivity
”Ray BoweChief Executive Officer at Xcentuate
Operations expert and CEO of Xcentuate Ray Bowe discusses the contrast between the UK and Irish market, how Ireland’s banks are benefiting from the exit of two foreign players and the impact that is having on operations teams.
Integrating front and back-office resources to improve customer experience and operational efficiency
”Spencer O'LearyRegional Managing Director North America at ActiveOps
Spencer O’Leary discusses the growing trend of merging resources across front and back-office functions and how it delivers reduced cost, better customer service and increased employee engagement.
The Great Sacking – why Australian banks face doing more with even less
”Jane LambertRegional Managing Director APAC at ActiveOps
Jane Lambert, APAC Regional Managing Director at ActiveOps, unpacks the latest challenges for Ops in Australia, including ‘The Great Sacking’, and what it means for operations. teams in the region.
Previous OpsTracker editions & more operational insights
Missed the last quarter’s OpsTracker report? Don’t worry. See how operations teams performed in Q1 2023.
Missed the first OpsTracker report? Don’t worry. See how operations teams performed around the world before, during and after the pandemic.
As senior leaders wrestle with the paranoia of staff working hybrid or remotely, Richard Jeffery explores how using the right data can improve decision-making and work policies.
‘Quiet hiring’ is one of Gartner’s top workforce predictions for 2023. What is it? And how can you boost staff retention and productivity?
About the authors
Stuart Pugh is Chief Product Officer at ActiveOps; Marc Romain is a Senior Operations Leader; Ray Bowe is Chief Executive Officer at Xcentuate; Spencer O’Leary is Regional Managing Director North America at ActiveOps; Jane Lambert is Regional Managing Director APAC at ActiveOps; Ian Carter is Head of Insight & Innovation at ActiveOps.