Many enterprise businesses are working to improve their agility – and for very good reason. Research by McKinsey found organizations can see a 20 to 30% improvement in their financial performance when agility is improved. The same study found agility provided:
- A 10-30 point improvement in customer satisfaction through delivering ‘superior end-to-end customer- journey experiences’.
- A 20-30 point improvement in employee engagement.
- A 30-50 point improvement in operational performance by capturing speed, consistency and visibility in projects.
For enterprise businesses reeling from the impact of COVID-19, who have a real need to quickly roll out effective projects and processes that capture growth, ensuring agility is critical. So how do enterprise businesses ensure they’re more responsive to the demands of modern markets?
Develop and Empower Cross-Functional Teams
When securing agility, business leaders need to ensure the abilities to continuously learn and collaborate are maintained. An office scenario where people find it difficult to upskill, communicate and problem solve will never produce knowledge and skills that make enterprise-scale agility possible.
Teams and departments must be cross-functional and empower with the right tech-stacks and data that support them in their work within the kind of skill-based, technological environment that does away with business silos.
Take application development, for example. Without the right people working on a project and incorrect development software, any project like that will be stuck before it’s even started moving. This doesn’t just include software developers, but anyone who can contribute to creating a great application.
You can develop and empower cross-functional teams by:
- Fostering effective communication strategies, where ideas are easily shared.
- Provide the ability to upskill and collaborate on projects.
- Develop the right digital infrastructure to decrease time to market.
Allocate Resources Properly to Improve Decision-Making
Agility demands teams can make decisions quickly, being supported by the right data. However, without data and the tools required to make decisions, any decision-making process will be dead in the water.
Ineffective policies and procedures that make up a business’ infrastructure will hinder the ability to get stuff done. This is usually because others cannot see the business need for new tools or procedures or lack the impetus to allocate resources to solve a problem – whether the resolution requires time or money.
An enterprise business should adequately assess decision-making costs and be prepared to allocate the resources required to get something done. An organisation doesn’t want to be mired in technical debt, where a quick, cheap fix results in a poorly-executed project or a poorly-made product or application, meaning departments eventually have to re-do what they assumed was a completed project.
Remember, the cheapest, quickest option isn’t necessarily the cheapest, quickest option if it costs more money further down the line. Plus, being held back by old inefficiencies is no way to be agile.
Agility is impossible to capture without a direct emphasis on improving communication and workers’ ability to collaborate. It’s all about gaining that all-important ‘synergy’ – where the outcomes are better when people are working together in contrast to when they’re working separately.
Now, this doesn’t just mean using current communication tools or strategies more often. Billions of business emails are sent every day, but the open rate will never be 100% – sending more emails does nothing to increase that. It’s about using the tools available to the best of their potential.
Instant messaging, cloud communication, file sharing, video conferencing; these are simple tools that are easily onboarded and accessible, tools that complement an overall communications strategy.
However, collaboration and communication aren’t just provided by communication tools themselves. Think of your development infrastructure – what platforms, tools and applications are you using to develop other apps, products, designs and services? If these systems don’t allow for collaboration, there’s no way of experiencing healthy team dynamics or development as a company.
Communication via an online platform aids collaboration, but it isn’t the be-all and end-all of better working together. That’s down to utilizing both communication strategies, tools and collaborative development platforms so wider groups of people can provide insight, advice and expertise to specific projects.
In fact, this neatly leads us to our next point, all about utilizing the right technology.
Invest in the Right Tech
This isn’t about entirely replacing your existing infrastructure. Rather, improving what you already have by using it to the best of its capabilities or by onboarding one or two choice pieces of digital kit that help bridge any gaps in your everyday processes.
Enterprise businesses can start by identifying any bottlenecks and then determine if there’s a technology out there that can help eliminate them. For example, let’s return to application development. Traditional coding is excellent at developing applications, but it does take a good amount of time and can result in developers turning to quick fixes to finish apps on time. Unfortunately, this does result in technical debt.
However, other development tools on the market can reduce the amount of time it takes to develop the apps needed, such as Low-Code development platforms. This is just one example of onboarding tech that improves your overall tech stack. The best businesses have improved agility by relying on the real-time data that good technology can provide.
Overall, boosting agility is about empowering teams with the right infrastructure and allowing them to upskill, create and communicate on their own terms. When you can marry all of these things, you’ll find that agility becomes a default state for your organization rather than wishful thinking.
Guy is a digital strategist at Unipro Limited. He is passionate about delivering value through customer insight and business understanding. When he’s not devising bespoke business applications and commercial growth strategies, you’ll find him pioneering new technology..