It’s fair to say that 2020 hasn’t quite kicked off the new decade in the way anyone would have liked. But, in spite of all the uncertainty and disruption, I believe this climate of continuous change will be the catalyst for business leaders to finally transform the way they operate to thrive in the digital world.
Born out of necessity, business leaders the world over now face a harsher reality about the urgency with which digital transformation must take place. They’ve been forced to take a harder look at what they’re doing right, and what needs improving inside their own organisations.
In my mind, changes in the way we work, where our employees choose to work, how we engage with technology, and the way we think about our customers are all underpinned by one key factor—organisational agility.
Agile Companies Reaping the Rewards
If the COVID-19 pandemic has brought one thing into sharper focus, it’s that businesses must be more agile. They must be able to pivot in order to react to persistent change. Whereas agility had become something of a buzzword for doing things better, it is now a business imperative.
And there’s evidence to suggest that agile companies reap the rewards in terms of performance. A McKinsey study, “The Need for Speed in the Post-COVID-19 Era—and How to Achieve it,” found that “fast organizations outperform others by a wide margin on a range of outcomes, including profitability, operational resilience, organizational health, and growth.”
Similarly, a forthcoming global study from Workday, “Organizational Agility: Roadmap to Digital Acceleration,” echoed those sentiments. The research found that agile organisations—those “with the capabilities to react quickly and effectively to opportunities”—have never been as strongly placed to benefit from the ability to operate at speed.
Disruption as the Catalyst for Transformation
During tough times, I think it’s common, even prudent, to show caution when looking at new investments. Innovation is often the first lever for finance to pull when purse strings tighten. Yet for many global businesses, the march towards digital transformation has not been halted by the current situation. Indeed, it may even have been accelerated as companies realise the systems they have in place simply cannot cope with the current pace of change. In fact, IDC noted that 30% of European businesses view the COVID-19 crisis as a driver to move key systems to the cloud now, not later.
Transformation is not risk free, but embracing agility can counter this by providing businesses with the resilience needed to meet continuous change with confidence. Ask yourself, are your processes agile enough? Could your core business systems react to major operational changes at speed?