17 Jun 2019
Article illustration for 'The importance of agility in a competitive business environment'

The importance of agility in a competitive business environment

Most industries have been disrupted by increasing digitalisation, new business models, and more sophisticated customer expectations. Keeping up with the changing landscape requires enterprises to be more agile than ever before.

Unfortunately, large enterprises suffer from inertia. While they may be highly successful, it’s also hard to pivot to new ways of working when the organisation is large and legacy ways of working provide comfort to long-time employees.

However, enterprises that fail to become more agile in the face of increasing disruption will find it difficult to compete effectively. Already, many of the world’s top companies have fallen in the ranks according to size, revenue, and profitability. They’ve been replaced with digital companies that can move fast to meet customer demands or even get ahead of the curve.

Finding that level of agility may be challenging for some organisations and, for many, it may not be necessary to make extensive changes. However, becoming more agile can certainly deliver competitive benefits even if it’s done so in an incremental manner.

One of the key areas where most organisations could become more agile is in information management. Using data to drive decision-making defines the agile company. However, if organisations can’t manage access, and optimise their information, then the likelihood of making effective, data-driven decisions is fairly low.

As the speed of business increases, executives need to be able to make faster decisions. That means finding the information they need instantly, and being able to understand the context around that information, is crucial.

An enterprise information management (EIM) solution can help these businesses gain better insights. It links transactional data with unstructured information, creating a richer and more contextualised world of information for executives to draw from.

Managing information and content across its lifecycle can help enterprises behave more like start-ups in terms of agility and flexibility, letting them implement new ideas and offer innovative products and services that meet market demand. These companies can then gain the benefits of failing quickly, whereby they stop pouring resources into projects that won’t succeed and, instead, concentrate on the projects showing promise.

When information is organised the right way, it can illuminate opportunities and potential connections, letting executives steer the organisation towards success and away from risks. Businesses that don’t have their information under control are less likely to perceive the risks and pitfalls in enough time to avoid them.

Four key areas where agility is crucial for organisations looking to compete successfully

1. Responding to market demand

Customers are always evolving and changing in response to external and internal stimuli. Companies need to understand what their customers want and be able to provide it to them in a timely, consistent, and reliable way. As market demand changes from season to season or even week to week, companies must be able to identify these changes and respond to them. Otherwise, their previously loyal customers will likely move to their competitors.

2. Responding to regulatory and legislative changes

Laws and regulations are often changing and businesses need to be prepared. For example, when the Australian Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme came into effect last year, organisations needed to have a much better handle on their data. This included ensuring data was secure as well as putting plans in place to deal with a potential data breach. With strong information management and governance already in place, responding to these changes doesn’t have to be quite so much of a burden compared to organisations that don’t already have these measures in place.

3. Responding to growing security threats

For most companies, it’s not a matter of if they’ll be hit by an information breach but when. Cybercriminals are growing in number, sophistication, and persistence. The chances of a company being hit by hackers is extremely high. Being able to protect company information from these cybercriminals is crucial but cybersecurity isn’t a set-and-forget activity. As the threat landscape continues to evolve, so must the company’s response plans. Again, a well-organised approach to information management makes it easier to secure.

4. Responding to increased disruption from competitors

It’s long been the nature of business that competitor activity can often dictate a company’s next move. Consumers are usually the beneficiaries of price wars and tit-for-tat promotions that overt competitiveness can lead to. However, organisations can find themselves losing money or struggling to keep up if they’re always a step behind their competitors. With the increased agility provided by unhindered access to information, companies can get on the front foot and compete more effectively without becoming a follower.

To find out how Konica Minolta’s enterprise content services can help your business become a leader in your sector, contact us today.

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