This year, the reading of the budget in Britain brought with it great anxiety as the OBR expects Britain’s economy to be larger than when it collapsed into a recession six years ego. You can be sure the last six years have been challenging-there were the high and mighty companies that commanded great respect in their respective industries. But the six years saw such big businesses close shop and yet other businesses managed to maneuver through the storms and emerged victorious over the other side. So what did the victorious companies do?
Adaptability and agility are the two key words that we learn from such companies. The truth is that everything is changing-people’s tastes and preferences, and shopping patterns among others have changed. In fact many IT executives purchase technology only to find it obsolete a few months later. This has led to IT having to operate at higher costs compared to other sections in the company. The other challenge that has come to the IT world is the ease with which each innovation can be used. Consumers no longer need to be experts to use any technology. Workers in organizations are free to bring to work their own devices and share on the job network; and given they know better their devices, the work of the IT personnel in this case may become questionable as the IT is not involved in purchases and at times, even in the operations.
While there is this rapid change, more than 60% of companies especially in the UK have been found to create innovation and produce new solutions for the market at the same rate as they did six years ago before the recession. And even when a company has had an innovation, it currently takes just a few seconds before your idea has gone viral on the internet even before you get competitive edge with it. A recent survey found out that only 18% of business executives thought that they had a competitive advantage with their innovation. Maybe this may not be all entirely true as organizations can work by intelligence, collaboration and adaptability to ensure they are in tandem with the changes and meet every market expectations. It is important that innovation becomes part of each organization’s fabric but much more use adaptability and agility to remain relevant.
A good example to take a look at is the Nike Company. Wow! The company has a worldwide presence and serves the biggest stars in the universe! Given most of these stars serve as ambassadors, one could be tempted to think Nike would be around forever. But the company operates in a market niche that is very sensitive to fashion and brand so that in a blinking of an eye, fashion and brand could see Nike lose its business. Nike has to be continuously agile and adaptable. They have to impress continuous innovation, fast productions to markets, and agility. Its CEO fears for being full and constipated that you are not able to think any further for new innovations. Each of its models incorporates sustainability and endeavors to have an eye on future trends and lead in introducing those trends in the market.
Some of the barriers to adaptability and agility have been cited as bureaucracies (59%) and company structures (46%). These hinder innovative ideas from reaching to fruition. This explains why only around 30% of executives are happy working in their organization as they enable for innovation. The rest find it quite difficult to launch new products and commercialize them. Lack of ideas for innovation cannot be the reason for lack of innovation. Challenges have been cited in the area of building business cases, more than 80% think that challenges lie in the area of implementing and developing the choosing ideas for innovation.
While we all may not be ‘Nikes’ but we can learn from them. All these leads to higher levels of customer satisfaction; exceptional products alongside exceptional customer services. Organizations need to learn to pay attention to details, respond to changing trends within the markets and customers, and provide great customer care. These elements fuel longevity, enhanced performance in business, adaptability, and agility. If organizations will survive in the future there is need for them to create that future in which they hope to survive. To attain this, some organizations may need to change to right attitudes, cultures and practices.
So how does this affect IT? With so many changes in technology, IT needs to shift from the traditional was of operations where IT was cost center to being a production centered and offer services as ESPs. In this way they would be able to have adaptability and agility. Consider the following points of view:
Running IT like ESP
In this approach, IT becomes a service provider with an aim of making the customers value the services and products offered. This calls for IT leaders to be more proactive in knowing their organizations, their products, their customers and every other aspect of the business if they are to bring out the best of services and products.
Identify IT costs and make optimal spending
It is important to know your costs of production. Once you get to know your costs, you are better placed to rationalize and control your expenditure but achieve the very best of services and products offered to customers.
Financial transparency for IT
Transparency in costs enables for building future systems that will enhance performance. Knowing IT costs such as costs for servers, app development, storage, labor and projects will provide a good foundation for optimizing costs.
While the above only highlight on the cost perspective, there is no limit to innovation in IT. Take the initiative and look for ways through which you could achieve agility and adaptability in your organization, and share your experiences.