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How to Create a Runbook: A Guide for Sysadmins & MSPs

create a runbook

How do you name a new server, export config data, or fix that one really annoying bug that keeps popping up every 2nd Thursday?

For prepared IT professionals, that information is stored in a runbook. A runbook is a set of standardized documents, references and procedures that explain common recurring IT tasks. Instead of figuring out the same problem time and time again, you can refer to your runbook for an optimal way to get the work done. What’s more, you can also delegate tasks and onboard employees more effectively if you have documentation to train them with.

Whenever you do a task, think of this quote:

“Will you remember how to do these things 6 months from now? I find myself having to re-invent a process from scratch if I haven’t done it in a few months (or sometimes just a few days!). Not only do I reinvent the process, I repeat all my old mistakes and learn from them again. What a waste of time.” — Tom Limoncelli, The Operations Report Card

In short, the less time wasted figuring out how to do a task, the better it’ll be for your business efficiency, productivity, and sanity.

This post will look at:

First, let’s look at two example runbooks to give context on what I’m going to talk about.
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Customer Lifecycle Software Stack: 12 Tools to Help You Raise Profits by 75%

customer lifecycle software stackThe customer lifecycle begins with awareness and matures to advocacy, from the first interaction with your brand, to an evangelized super-user who raves about and recommends your product to friends, family and associates.

This Process Street article focuses on the customer lifecycle management – how to understand the different stages of the customer’s lifecycle, and guide them from initial awareness to long-term advocacy, with the help of tech.

Optimal customer lifecycle management is vital as this can maximize customer lifetime value (CLV) by boosting customer retention. This, in turn, will bolster your bottom-line by:

  1. Selling to an existing customer base: There’s a 60-70% chance of selling to an existing customer base relative to a 5-20% chance of selling to new prospects.
  2. Increasing customer retention: A mere 5% increase in customer retention is enough to raise a company’s profits by 75%.

Getting customer lifecycle management right can be tough. To help you, we’ve put together this list of essential tools to complete your customer lifecycle software stack, for optimal customer lifecycle management.

Each tool is chosen as per the customer lifecycle stage it’s best used for. Each customer lifecycle stage will have differing aims, which means it’s vital you use the right tools to meet your objectives. For this article, we’ve done the work for you.

Let’s dive right in!
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3 Ways Big Data Will Influence the Future of People Analytics

big data people analytics
Big Data freaks me out.

Chalk it up to being spoonfed George Orwell at an early age or adolescent heroes like Fox Mulder and Neo. Maybe it’s being one of those darn, pesky Millennials always rousing rabble while perpetually straddling the conflicting worlds of analog vs digital.

Regardless: I do not trust institutions, especially institutions that want my information.

On the other hand, I use Google for everything, Alexa lives in every room of my house, and I get really annoyed when Netflix doesn’t remember that I watched something. 10 years ago. On DVD.

We will live within this dichotomy of acceptable spying and unacceptable spying. “Cyberstalking” acquaintances, colleagues, and future partners is considered the norm, as a consumer, it’s fantastic. Who doesn’t love being shown that exact thing you don’t really need the minute you pop ‘round to your friendly internet megastore?

All of those things depend on Big Data. As data collection methods improve, more and more applications for that data are coming into play. In addition to customer profiles, education, healthcare, and finance are all jumping on the Big Data bandwagon.

While traditionally more art than science, HR departments have also become recent converts to the sway of data collection. Applying hard data to soft skills may feel wrong, but people analytics has a vital role to play in measuring the employee experience.

But with additional metrics, new sources, and faster methods of collection popping up every day, what will the future of people analytics look like? More importantly, what role will Big Data play in that evolution?

In this Process Street post, I’m going to look at exactly what Big Data is and the three primary ways it will affect the hows, whys, and whats of people analytics going forward.

To the future!
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7 Ways Salesforce Achieves Complete Customer Engagement Using The Four Realms of Experience

7 Ways Salesforce Achieves Complete Customer Engagement-01

Hello, and welcome readers to the experience economy.

Take my hand and I’ll guide you to a place of psychic gratification. Feel your senses tingle, and your attention sharpen. You’re entering a new chapter of customer success, one that’s immersive and marks the next economic stage.

Businesses are no longer competing on a commodity level. In a digital world, with growing immersive processing power, organizations must crack the whip and adopt the experience mindset. This is a mindset that’s focused on customer success and delivering exceptional experiences instead of commodities.

In this Process Street article, we take a look at how one particular tech unicorn is succeeding in this experience economy.

You got it, I’m talking about the tech-tycoon Salesforce.

Salesforce is one of the largest tech companies to date with over 49,000 employees in 28 countries and has built the world’s most demanded CRM. Part of Salesforce’s triumph lies in the organization’s customer success capabilities. And today, you will learn how they’ve perfected customer success using principles from the experience economy.

Grab onto your seatbelts as you’re about to be blown away!

Here we go!💨
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How to Create an Operations Manual for Your Business (and Avoid Nuclear War)

operations manual operational excellence operational knowledge

Having an operations manual may not be glamorous, but preventing the disasters caused by human error and bad processes can save your business and even (in extreme circumstances) millions of lives.

If you’ve ever seen Dr. Strangelove, you’ll know it’s ridiculous. You’ve got a mad scientist, a cowboy pilot riding a bomb as it falls, and a nuclear holocaust brought about by a series of overblown human (and mechanical) errors.

operations manual - dr strangelove

Yet, despite being criticized as unrealistic, at the time it was entirely possible for human error to cause a Third World War. Hell, human error has already caused the worst nuclear accident to date.

A perfect storm of 6 human errors — culminating with staff thinking it was ok to turn off the emergency cooling system — caused the Chernobyl disaster, costing an inflation-adjusted $720 billion, 30 deaths and an extreme amount of unsafe radiation.” – Ben Brandall, How Processes Protect Your Business From Crashing and Burning

The truth is, the only way to prevent such errors is to document workflows and processes, and the only way to make sure your employees know what they have to do, how to do it, and have the resources to do it is to create your own operations manual.

In this Process Street article, we’ll be covering:

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The 4 Ingredient Categories Your People Analytics Framework Needs to be Effective

The 4 Ingredient Categories Your People Analytics Team Needs to be Effective

“I really must go to the third floor,” Renfield insists over the other employees’ protests. “I’ve been asked to consult with the head of people management about creating an analytics team. They’re expecting me.”

One of the nearby workers grabs Renfield’s lapels and pulls him close. “You don’t understand,” the man says. “We here in the office believe that people management is…” He glances around, nervously, leans closer and whispers, “We believe they’re really… human resources!”

“Oh, that’s just assistants’ gossips,” Renfield says. “Now, really, you must let me through. I have an appointment.”

“Wait!” The office manager pushes through the crowd, waving a form above her head. “If you won’t listen, then take this W-2. It’ll protect you.” She thrusts the form into Renfield’s hand and adds, “It’s riddled with mistakes.”

The third floor is dimly lit, offices still only partially constructed, furniture still draped in plastic. No signs indicate where he should go and a sense of abandonment clings to the scent of still-wet paint. “Hello?” he calls.

A figure appears, the light flickering around them. “I bid you welcome,” they say, and Renfield notices the tappity-tap-tap of many fingers rushing over keyboards. “Listen to them, the collectors of data. What music they make! Come along,” the People Team leader instructs, gliding down the hallway toward a single shaft of light Renfield can swear wasn’t there a moment ago. “Data is the life, Mr. Renfield.”

Wait. Why are you talking about vampires again, Leks?

There is a reason, and I assure you it’s not merely a way to shamelessly shoehorn my side interests into work-related topics. (Mostly.)

For contemporary businesses, data really is the lifeblood of your company. It’s what keeps everything moving from making sure there are paper clips in the supply cabinet to getting your product into the hands of the right user. Without accurate, up-to-date data, your organization isn’t even in the running to be a successful company.

While gathering quality consumer data is essential for the contemporary organization, data analytics has another equally important role to play: people management.

There are four main categories you need to think about for an effective analytics framework: Enablers, Deliverables, Stakeholder Management, and Governance.

In this Process Street post, I’ll explain what they are, how to use them, and how to not be creepy about it. Before you know it, you’ll wonder how you ever made HR decisions before people analytics came along.

Let’s analyze some data!
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Process Street Highway 2021: Welcome to the Future of Process Management

process street highway webinar virtual event 2021
We’ve just wrapped up our first ever virtual event Highway, and we are super excited to share this roundup of everything!

Highway 2021 was an event we hosted to chat with industry leaders about everything process-related. From exciting developments to life (and business) changing use cases, Highway brought the best that the industry has to offer and streamed it live to an audience of hundreds.

Everyone involved, from our internal team to the guest speakers did such an amazing job pulling this together, and we’re super proud and excited to share the recordings with everyone.

So grab a coffee, sit right down and let Process Street show you to the future of process management!

Here’s an overview if you want to jump ahead:

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Pages: Your Secret Weapon for Totally Free Knowledge Management


Pages, a new product by Process Street, lets you capture, organize and share your team’s operational knowledge.

It’s also free, forever, for your entire team.

Pages is part of Process Street’s development as the modern process management platform for teams.

Thousands of teams from Salesforce to Yext use our interactive workflows to power their processes. In doing so, these teams are evolving their process maturity.

And process maturity, as well as how to think about & use our new Pages product, is exactly what we’ll be covering in this article.

Here’s an overview:

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Supercharge Your HR & Onboarding with Process Street (+ Video Walkthroughs!)

hr-onboarding-process-walkthrough

For HR managers in charge of onboarding new employees, daily tasks can quickly become difficult to track and overcomplicated.

Consider: 4 new hires starting this week, alongside about a dozen others that started in the past few months, and a handful that are wrapping up their first year any day now; it’s clear how HR departments can struggle to stay on top of things without stress or confusion.

That’s why human resources departments worldwide use Process Street to streamline and automate their daily HR work tasks, for processes like:

In this article, we’ll show you how our customers manage their daily HR tasks using Process Street.

You can see exactly how it’s done, with supporting screenshots and video walkthroughs.
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8 Time-Saving Hacks & Shortcuts for Process Building (From Our Team)

Top 5 Secret Hacks and Tricks in Process Street_1

96% of businesses use some kind of business process documentation, indicating a desire to document processes. Yet only 2% have fully documented processes that can be relied on for smooth business functioning, despite the widely reported benefits. There seems to be a knowledge gap preventing the full documentation of business operations. This article aims to close that gap and make it easier to build business processes for leaders worldwide.

A business process is a set of steps that, when completed in the required order, deliver the desired business outcome. Process building – aka business process documentation – is the documentation of these steps to create an actionable system to work from.

In this Process Street article, we turn to the process experts. We asked our internal team to give their top tips on process building, and here’s what we found out. We present you with our 8 time-saving tips for efficient process building.

Let’s start building!
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