In our current situation, companies are having to be agile. To adapt to the changed face of business in the UK, they need to show flexibility – in allowing staff to work from home and in adapting products or services to better suit customers’ new requirements.
Business agility is critical right now and will be a key differentiator between those companies that thrive and those that do not survive.
What is Business Agility?
According to the Agile Business Consortium, the UK’s business agility professional body, business agility is all about how well a company can:
- Adapt quickly to market changes – internally and externally
- Respond rapidly and flexibly to customer demands
- Adapt and lead change in a productive and cost-effective way without compromising quality
- Continuously be at a competitive advantage
Many professionals come to learn about agility via the project management and software development side of things. Because being agile requires rapid adjustment and response, it required companies to adopt an agile approach to rapid project implementation. This gave rise to various industry standards and a growing uptake of agile project deployment, using methodology frameworks like Scrum and Kanban.
But agility is also a mindset – an approach to business – which is embodied in many of today’s business practices. More progressive businesses have a flexible approach to working practices, enabling employees to work from home, or they might use flat or matrix hierarchies. Teams may be co-located but some companies have found great success using remote workers, distributed across the globe.
The agile mindset allows companies to respond to change rather than rigidly follow a plan. This facilitates greater productivity and helps a company to remain focused on customer requirements while still ensuring the flexibility to be adaptive and resilient when faced with complexity, change or uncertainty. Business agility means being able to work faster, adapt to change and so provide better customer value. It is a means of driving greater profit.
How agile a business is can be assessed across many aspects of an organisation. It starts at the top and requires an adaptive mindset from the leadership, so that the values of change and flexibility can filter down through the workforce and become a part of the company culture.
The Importance of Business Agility
Businesses that are agile have better customer responsiveness. Customers are where the money is, so those that anticipate the needs of their customers, or can react quickly to changing demands are more customer centric. They can deliver more effectively by innovating new products and services, or even disrupting their industries, without dogged adherence to preconceived plans.
Agility also helps a company to work better internally. It helps to break down barriers between departments and eliminate silo working. It engenders a supportive environment that helps employees to collaborate across functions and reinforces creativity and innovation.
Taking advantage of opportunities affords companies the first-mover advantage. They can test strategies and adjust to what they learn to then quickly modify or fine-tune their approach. Their speed and flexibility to respond to challenges gives them a distinct competitive advantage.
How NetSuite Helps Businesses to be Agile
NetSuite is an adaptable platform, helping companies to achieve business agility in many ways:
- NetSuite can be accessed from anywhere that has an internet connection. There’s no need for additional equipment, or for any special configurations to be made. Employees can use any device to access the platform, so don’t even need to use a company laptop, for example. It’s also browser-independent and has both Android and iOS mobile apps.This kind of access helps with distributed and dispersed teams, as well as for companies where employees regularly work from home or are out of the office, working remotely.
- For maximum agility, NetSuite can be employed to change business model overnight. If the go to market model needs to suddenly incorporate ecommerce, for example, then NetSuite can be urgently adjusted to account for business through an additional channel, or for scaling up to a fully omnichannel model, with customer service support too.Recent events have meant companies that have shown this level of agility, and that have shifted their focus to an online model, have been able to make the most of the difficult situation. One of our clients, White Stores, for example, pivoted quickly to transition to online sales.
- Custom configurations are very easily done and are made centrally. This enables business agility in companies looking for a faster time-to-market. They can enjoy sales as soon as their products are ready for sale – because NetSuite can quickly accommodate them.
- NetSuite helps companies to improve business performance, replacing manual processes with faster automation. It also has real-time business intelligence, so senior management can make timely business critical decisions based on accurate information. Elimination of slow manual processes plus precise dashboard reporting provides greater operational efficiency and allows an organisation to act with speed and flexibility.
- Because NetSuite is a ‘true cloud’ platform, upgrades to the system happen seamlessly, usually overnight, and always with sufficient warning. Upgrades take just an hour or so, meaning the business does not suffer down time and can continue to trade – which is never the case with updates to on-premise software.
Now is the Time for Business Agility
Business agility brings improved business outcomes and allows a company to realise its full potential. Historically, it might have been thought that adapting rapidly to changes would have meant that those changes were in the market or in buyer behaviour or preference. But as we have seen recently, it is unexpected global events that have changed the entire business landscape for so many companies.
When it has the agile qualities to respond speedily to the external environment, a company can continue without loss of momentum. It can adapt and flex, in order to retain productivity and efficiency, continuously maintaining its competitiveness.
For increased business agility, see what NetSuite can do for your business – contact us today.