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Does Your Company Need to Become More Agile?

Posted January 29, 2021 in Articles

A recent article from the Harvard Business Review begins with this statement: “Flexible delivery of emerging technologies to drive business outcomes is fast becoming today’s competitive battleground.” The article explains that while companies’ product-focused and customer-focused operations are becoming more responsive, versatile and efficient in response to the demands of the contemporary market, in many respects, companies’ information technology (IT) and finance departments are lagging. Since almost all aspects of companies’ operations run through their finance or IT departments in one way or another, this means that inefficiencies in these departments could be costing companies in ways they do not currently realize. In short, for companies to meet the demands of today’s customers, they need to focus on agility on an organization-wide scale—not just in their customer-facing operations.

While Many Startups are Agile from the Outset, Established Brands May Be Lagging Behind

Another factor that compounds these concerns for established companies is that not only do startups have unprecedented access to the market, but they are typically structured from the outset with agility in mind. As a result, while established companies may need to make a cultural shift toward agility, evaluating opportunities and approving real-time decisions is a foundational component of many startups’ business strategies.

The Harvard Business Review article gives the example of Barclays facing a loss of market share to fintech startups. While these startups benefitted from being able to launch their platforms with agility in mind, Barclays was forced to launch “an enterprise-wide agile adoption initiative in 2015 [pursuant to which] more than 800 teams have adopted agile principles, values, and practices.”

What Does it Mean to Be Agile in Today’s Economy?

“Agility” is currently a buzzword in the corporate community. But, what exactly does it mean to be agile in today’s economy? In particular, what does it mean with regard to internal departments such as finance and IT, which might not have the same pressures and incentives as customer-facing segments of companies’ operations? The Harvard Business Review article suggests three areas of focus:

  • Finance – “Finance should explore opportunities to tailor budgeting, funding, and reporting processes to better meet the business’s evolving needs . . . .”
  • Funding – “Creative funding sources can amplify and accelerate change.”
  • IT – “The future . . . includes structural changes such as organizing resources around products
    and outcomes . . . and evolving traditional roles in procurement and vendor management.”

Of course, making foundational changes in these areas is easier said than done. To ensure that changes truly add to a company’s agility (rather than creating confusion that ultimately leads back to the way things were), it is necessary to make informed and strategic decisions that take all pertinent considerations into account. This means understanding the company’s specific needs, vulnerabilities and opportunities, and it means pursuing an agility strategy with the company’s long-term priorities in mind.

Speak with a Business Consultant at Mithras Investments

Do you have questions about what your company can (and should) be doing to become more agile in 2021? If so, we encourage you to get in touch. To speak with a consultant at Mithras Investments, please call 305-517-7911 or contact us online today.

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