If you look at business trends across the globe, you'll see no shortage of organizations getting disrupted by new business models. Taxi services are disrupted by Uber and Lyft, retail stores are disrupted by Amazon, music companies are disrupted by Pandora, and hotels are disrupted by Airbnb. For organizations to remain profitable in a landscape full of disruption, they need to become agile.
An Agile Organization is…
What exactly is an agile organization? It's an organization that creates an environment that promotes the open flow of information. People no longer need to be in a certain place or in front of a certain device to be reached effectively. It also involves the creation of an environment that encourages rapid experimentation and learning. It's possible to grab expertise and knowledge on-demand, which in turn drives projects forward and shortens cycle time.
The Law of Averages States Failure is Good
Every great success in business comes after several failures. If a company can experiment without extensive resource burn, they will be able to find out which strategies work and adopt them sooner. To become agile, it's necessary to function as an entire integrated network of employees, customers, and partners all motivated by a shared purpose. They can create spaces where they can come together.
The Changing Working World - Within Organizations
Whether it's a change in people, places, devices, or networks, big changes are driving organizations towards an attitude and environment of agility. When it comes to the people in a company, they have become highly mobile-centric and application-centric. To put it into perspective, two out of every three millennials say they would be willing to take less pay at their profession if it meant that they had a choice of device and network.
Robust and Easy Collaboration Capabilities Required for the New Way People Work
Looking at the pace and structure of projects in an organization, it's changing from long-term projects to small self-forming, self-organized teams. These teams are coming together for a short-term purpose and then disbanding once their objective is complete. To be effective, they need to have robust collaboration capabilities like the ability to understand somebody's presence or the ability to reach out without having to worry about whether the contact is in front of a video-enabled device, mobile device, or landline phone. Instead of reaching out to a particular device, it means reaching out to a person, regardless of the device they have in front of them.
The 9 to 5 Change
Thanks to the globalization of business, work schedules have also undergone big changes. For instance, I haven't worked a regular 9 to 5 schedule for the last fifteen years. I've often been able to take advantage of opportune times in the evening or weekend.
The Changing Working World - Outside Organizations
If at least a part of your customer base is comprised of millennials, you might be aware of an interesting study that revealed their communication preferences. Picking up the phone and calling your business is their fourth choice; first on the list is electronic methods like IM, messaging, SMS, etc. second is email and third is video conferencing or social networking. When millennial customers expect to do business on a social network, they aren't talking about making a FaceTime call. They want immediate access to information (perhaps VODs), the ability to chat with communities of users to share their opinion, and the ability to access the company in real-time to ask questions or make purchases.
Building New Communication Paths
Companies are now beginning to consider building social spaces within their own corporate portals because it's the way that people prefer to do research, talk to others, and make buying decisions. When a business is ahead of the curve in terms of building new communication paths for their customer base, their agility will lead to a competitive advantage. Of course, everybody can deploy IP telephony, video/web conferencing, mobile applications, instant messaging, presence, and customer care. It depends on the passion in which these features are adopted.
Leadership Buy-in Determines Progress
The companies that are making the most progress in this space are the ones that have great buy-in from the leadership. If leaders are determined to use these kinds of tools to cut cycle times, design times, and support times, the talent within the organization will be utilized to its fullest.
Over the next four blog posts, I'll be examining the sector-specific trends in UC, starting with the manufacturing industry.