Blockbuster, Borders…

Size, reputation and global reach mean nothing in the face of agile, tech-driven disruption. Every day, we see legacy brands pulled from their pedestals by smaller, more agile companies. And unless more enterprises start waking up to the lifeline organizational agility offers, they too will fall.

But what exactly is “organizational agility?” Put simply, it’s the ability to adapt and scale your strategy, structure, processes, people and technology on the fly. Think of it as a kind of corporate “spider-sense” – agile businesses can sense change before it happens, and respond quickly and relevantly.

Enabling organizational agility is key, but it also requires the right technology and a willing workforce.

Transforming company culture with tech

For agility to happen, businesses must first address cultural shortcomings in the workplace. Organizational agility is underpinned by your employees, so ask yourself:

  • Are they engaged?
  • Are they focused on the customer?
  • Do they have the tools they need to do their job well?
  • Does the culture encourage creative thinking?

Flexible, scalable and collaborative technology can help address these issues, giving people the tools they need to work, think and collaborate effectively whenever and wherever they are.

Smart consumer tech is transforming workplace attitudes, and your people expect the same connected experiences on the job that they get outside of work.  If your people can’t engage and serve your customers the way they’d expect to be served, their commitment will falter.

More and more, businesses are turning to such technology to enable greater workplace flexibility, allowing their employees to work and collaborate anytime, anywhere. Examples of this can be seen in cloud-based mobility (such as a BYOD solution like MultiLine), or the use of augmented reality (AR) for field service agents to help them connect to the back office and nail that all important first-time fix rate.

For those in software development, creating an agile culture rests heavily on continuous development, with openness to collaboration enabled through DevOps. Elsewhere, cloud-based collaboration tools such as Slack, Asana and G Suite are breaking down barriers in the workplace to make way for seamless collaboration and transparency.

If somebody in HR has a great idea, there’s no reason a decision-maker in IT can’t chime in to help make it happen. Yes, face-to-face is important, but the key is to enable business-wide 24/7 rapid decision-making, and that means keeping your digital channels open for everyone.

How to get agile right

A recent McKinsey Global Survey on organizational agility discovered that less than a quarter of respondents believed their company performance to be agile. But businesses don’t become agile overnight, and there’s no “one size fits all” approach, although there are principles you can value and promote to make that transition easier:

  • Align everyone around your brand mission, vision and values
  • Recognize the creative work of your people – and let them know it
  • Prioritize human collaboration over bureaucratic processes
  • Treat failure as a learning opportunity – and react quickly

Done right, organizational agility makes it easier to respond to change, enable innovation and serve your customers the way they expect it. Putting new ideas into practice no longer means waiting for the bureaucratic wheels to turn, because if there’s a way to do something better, you can make it happen, fast.