How Covid-19 Has Made Operational Agility an Imperative – Research

Written By: Deb Gildersleeve
November 18, 2020
3 min read

Operational agility has truly become a business imperative. While Covid-19 continues to impact the world, businesses are still adjusting and fundamentally changing their operating strategies. As businesses are focusing on becoming more agile and flexible, the message is clear – old approaches to digital transformation are no longer up for the task of dealing with the velocity of change or the uncertainty in the world ahead.

This is a critical reality that we believe firmly at Quickbase, and the need for resilience over the recent months has confirmed it. In July, we sponsored a Harvard Business Review Analytic Services report that includes research into how leading organizations are succeeding in managing their digital transformation. They found that the organizations with the most success are pairing large-scale transformation efforts with rapid-cycle innovation, through a dual-track approach that leverages both types of change management. With both of these kinds of change, the former driven by IT and the latter led from business users with the most knowledge of their day-to-day problems, organizations can drive true transformation and balance speed with effectiveness.

Covid-19 has brought the importance of rapid-change efforts coupled with traditional transformation to the forefront. And to confirm this, we sponsored research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services again to dive into the impact that Covid-19 has had on digital transformation efforts. This new report, “Reevaluating Digital Transformation During Covid-19,” is full of insights from over 500 global executives. This new report confirms that dual-track transformation will power the operational agility of the future. As the report says, 91% of organizations surveyed said that they altered their operating models due to Covid-19, with over one-third of those organization classifying the necessary changes as “significant.” This report lays out how leading organizations are the ones that will use this as an opportunity to become more agile.

It is clear that leading organizations are taking this moment to forge ahead and make their transformation efforts even more impactful. The organizations classified as leaders, comprising 27% of the total respondents, rated their transformation strategies as being very effective both before and after the Covid-19 outbreak. By remaining agile, leaders have seen their transformation strategies stand the test of time. And with 73% of those leaders leveraging low-code platforms to achieve their flexibility, rapid-cycle innovation is clearly a key towards unlocking true agility.

This isn’t without its challenges – after all, 2020 has been a year full of challenges for everybody. Budget constraints, difficulty in adapting workflows, and adapting organizational culture are definite obstacles for organizations to navigate. But there is a path to solving these challenges – as this report found, 60% of leader organizations have senior executives highly committed to rapid-cycle innovation, and building that advocacy can be a massive difference in these programs. By making resiliency and agility initiatives high priority, organizations will be ready for anything and prepared to adapt to turbulence in the future.

The results of this new Harvard Business Review Analytic Services research make clear that operational agility has officially gone from a nice-to-have to a must-have. While we can’t count on the state of the world and the pace of business to calm down anytime soon, businesses can begin to prepare for constant change by becoming more agile. Whatever is next in the world, we feel confident that organizations leaning more on operational agility will be the ones that are ready for it.

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