What do these responses to the pandemic mean in practice? For some, it has vindicated their efforts to become more agile. “Our organization was absolutely ready, which was the first big benefit of being agile at this point in time: to be up and running at full throttle working from home,” says Michele Ungaro, chief development officer at global professional services firm Aon.
For others, the pandemic has reinforced the need to execute on their digital transformation plans faster than they had anticipated, echoing the survey result around digital acceleration. “We were already in the works to go completely digital, but we had to shift and make different decisions based on what COVID looks like moving forward,” says the regional vice president of operations at one multinational hospitality group. “We are moving faster, and that’s where our efforts are focused—on making a digital world across our hotels a reality sooner rather than later.”
Our research shows that this hospitality group is not alone: In 2020, it’s clear that businesses need to be moving at speed. More than three-quarters of respondents (77%) say that their firm is fast to act when technology investments fail to meet expectations, up from 70% in 2019. And 60% say that their organization has removed bureaucratic processes that slow decision-making, up from 53% in 2019.
And for others still, there’s nothing like shared adversity to strengthen the lines of communication. Paul Wright, CIO at Accuride, says, “If we can stay better connected with our customers, if we can respond better to their needs, if we can stay connected with our suppliers and maintain our relationships with them in really difficult times, then that should give us a competitive advantage in the future.”
But for many firms, there is still a way to go. Read the rest of the report (available for download here) to learn how firms are unlocking organizational agility at scale, the stumbling blocks that are hampering progress for many, and where opportunities lie for future growth.