There’s only one constant in the world of business: things will always change.
In recent years, we’ve seen a ceaseless drive for innovation. Breakthroughs in technology have seen enterprises grow smarter, faster, and more consumer-centric – to the point that customer expectations are now higher than ever before.
You may have expected the recent pandemic to have brought progress to a halt. But in fact, in many ways, COVID-19 has accelerated the pace of change.
The push to reduce technical risk, embrace innovation, and gain a competitive edge hasn’t diminished in the slightest. Instead, they’ve been joined by an important new driver: what we call ‘the essence of survival’.
In the face of an existential threat, businesses can’t – and aren’t – standing still. Change is more important than ever. And part of that means building resilience.
As the pandemic continues, businesses need financial resilience to keep their balance sheets in check. Talent resilience to ensure skills are never in short supply, and technical resilience so that workers, as best they can, are able to carry on working from the safety of their homes.
However you cut it – whether it be surviving the pandemic or grabbing the initiative in times of relative stability – change is always going to be on the cards. And that means businesses need to build systems and processes that enable them to flex, scale, and ultimately thrive no matter what challenges the market throws at them.
The adaptive organization
I’ve already spoken about the essence of survival and resilience. But I think there’s a third major pillar business needs to build upon: being adaptive.
Adaptability is what organisations, large or small, should be working towards. It means repivoting business: organising, operating, and working in a way that minimises risk and drives a culture of pace.
Adaptivity is key no matter what the market conditions are. Throughout lockdown, adaptive companies have been able to quickly pivot to remote working, deploy new digital services, and generally embrace new ways of working. Their balance sheets have remained clear, and many have even flourished during this difficult time.
But even before lockdown, it was adaptive enterprises that were leading the pack. While the fight for survival wasn’t quite as acute as today, it was still those who could react to change that were seeing the biggest wins.
Whether we’re talking about today’s new normal or the pre-COVID ‘old’ normal, the one thing all adaptive enterprises have in common is the innovative use of technology.
It’s no secret that emerging technologies like AI, blockchain, and machine learning are already making waves in business. But what we shouldn’t forget is they’re all enabled by what are undoubtedly two of the biggest game changers in enterprise innovation: cloud and data.
Data allows inefficiencies in processes to be nipped in the bud, driving down cost bases and enabling businesses to be more agile.
Furthermore, it helps businesses become more predictive and proactive. Market changes can be anticipated in advance, and new customer experience initiatives can be deployed and strengthened with insights only data can bring.
In terms of cloud, technology is fundamental to an adaptive enterprise. Not only does it make sense from a financial perspective (say goodbye to expensive on-premise infrastructure and the associated technical expertise needed), but it also gives key business applications a shot in the arm.
As a general rule, any business application over ten years old won’t be fit for purpose. They will need to be demised, consolidated, or completely transformed. By re-platforming to the cloud, applications can be reimagined from the ground up, leveraging cloud-native technology to increase functionality, scalability, and even security.
A cloud-first mindset
While no one knows how long the pandemic will last, one thing that’s certain is the future is in the cloud.
Cloud and data are the answer to both short-term and long-term challenges. They provide the adaptability that’s key for surviving not just COVID-19, but also a constantly shifting market that grows more competitive by the year.
Now’s the time for a cloud-first mindset. Starting with their own unique needs, businesses need to grab adaptability with both hands, and use technology to transform their enterprise into one that’s more agile, more resilient, and ultimately more profitable. Find out how to do this in the next blog in this series: Can your business keep up with resilience?