Driven by innovation and technological advancements, companies have been able to continuously deliver enriching experiences to acquire new customers and deepen relationships with existing ones. With businesses evolving at such a high pace, the struggle to remain competitive is incredible.
Amid this environment, how does a company survive and thrive? The answer lies in business agility. This means that companies must design structures, processes and governance arrangements that enable a rapid and flexible response to change. An agile business culture encourages innovation, improves the quality of products and enhances speed to market. Thus it is not surprising that 70% of agile companies rank in the top quartile of organizational health, according to a report based on studies conducted by McKinsey.
Creating an agile business involves several elements. Here are five main aspects CTOs could start with.
Creating an Empowered Network of Teams
A vast network of multi-disciplinary teams is a trademark of agile organizations. These teams can include employees from technology, product, customer service, operations and other departments. Unlike traditional hierarchical structures, where teams are organized by functions and need to be directed and managed by seniors, these teams are self-governing. They stay close to customers and quickly adapt to their needs. No more waiting till the next meeting to know how to take the projects further. Such a flexible and scalable network of teams are engaged, efficient and focused on value creation since they have all the resources and skills required to deliver desired outcomes.
The democratization of Processes and Information
Facilitating interactions and communication between disparate teams is necessary to ensure they are on the same page. Seamless collaboration not only needs efficient tools and platforms but also transparency of information. People should be able to access data from anywhere and at any time, across the verticals. They need access to tools that seamlessly integrate with their daily work habits. If something goes wrong, they can immediately get to the root cause and address it, rather than having to seek permissions from different departmental heads to access information. For this, they need to embrace a cultural shift – a shift from top-down organizational structures. This calls for a change in mindsets.
Encouraging Office Automation
Complex internal systems are difficult to navigate and scale. Multiple systems for different processes also lead to challenges in maintenance for IT managers. Not to mention, the number of resources and time spent by employees to learn and grasp them. Rather a single unified system can promote an agile business culture. Such systems allow the creation of data-first organizations. One of the biggest benefits of automation is access to precious customer and employee data for analytics. Data gained in consumable formats for advanced analytics can help decision-makers to remove bottlenecks, improve efficiency and focus on areas of resource optimization. This could lead to better branding and increased employee engagement.
Improved use of data can empower teams to quickly translate market information into action. This means better products and customer services.
Encouraging Learning and Development for Employees
Newer technologies enter the market every few weeks. To ensure that employees remain at the top of their game, CTOs need to establish a culture of continuous learning and development. This means giving employees tools to consume information on the go, but ensuring that the tools or systems do not require long training sessions in classrooms, which hampers productivity.
At the same time, employees want to leverage new technologies to help them stay informed. Artificial Intelligence-driven learning platforms can help individuals to access content that is relevant to their age, work experience, skills and preferences. Human experiences or ‘employee readiness’ is the most critical element for businesses that aim for digital transformation, says a report by PwC.
Lead by Example
C-suite executives have a major role in creating agile businesses. They need to have a thorough understanding of processes and work with teams to address grievances. They need to be proactive and approachable. By allowing teams to take risks and learn from failures, they can help create an environment that promotes innovation. CTOs must also employ people who are willing to learn and grow.
Collaboration with the right vendor partners, who can ensure smooth employee experiences and security, is a critical decision to make. Rapid decision making and execution are necessary for businesses to remain competitive.