There’s no doubt that 2020 has been fraught with trial and error as businesses test new technology solutions. We’ve all learnt that to fail fast is imperative when figuring out how to adapt. Indeed, technology providers themselves have had their solutions put to the test. Zoom experienced a massive surge in customers and in the process uncovered a series of security issues that had to be quickly addressed to ensure the solution could support its growing customer base.
Many of the changes that have taken place, particularly in small and medium business, have been reactive – 51% of UK SMEs have had to implement new software due to the pandemic. In order to keep operating, businesses have had to quickly find and implement solutions covering everything from virtual meetings, through to online whiteboard tools.
Fast-paced changes can mean some areas of the business get overlooked, leading to gaps forming.
A key question we have been asking is, how successful has the recent changes been? Have any gaps in processes and technology emerged now that the new ways of working have started to embed? And how can these be identified and addressed, before small gaps widen into something more serious?
It’s tempting to look back and think, since we’re still here and seemed to have managed to adapt, any changes must have been a success. But now is a critical time for businesses. Change has happened quickly, and in situations like this we often find ourselves moving on to the next thing, before checking back to see if the latest solution is working as expected. The pressure is on to keep moving, however failing to take the time to review changes can have a significant impact on the future of an organisation.
Identifying where change has been successful, and where more optimisation is needed can be daunting after going through such an intense period of change. Having to allocate budgets and capacity in such an uncertain climate can be unpalatable for leadership, particularly when spending has been unexpected up to this point. But a review is a critical step to help ensure you are making the most out of the new ways of working and setting both the business and your employees up for success in the long run.
So, how do you spot these gaps whilst they are still a manageable size? We’ve put together some key questions that all business owners/managers should be asking themselves:
DOES THE TECHNOLOGY DO WHAT WE WANTED?
This might seem a very obvious one to start with, but the theory of how something could work does not always translate well in practice. Have your teams found the systems easy to use? Have internal processes and ways of working adapted easily or been interrupted by the introduction of these systems? There will inevitably be a period of transition when on-boarding a new technology, however it is useful now, to take stock and see whether any issues were simply teething problems, or the sign of a bigger problem.
ARE WE STILL AT CRISIS STATIONS?
Some new ways of working have taken the ‘all hands on deck’ approach, with employees all taking on additional tasks to try and keep the organisation running in the ‘unusual circumstances’. Unfortunately, there does not look to be a quick way out of this current working set up, and organisations must form strategies that make remote and flexible working a central possibility. The panic-stations approach is no longer suitable and is not a sustainable long-term strategy.
DO WE HAVE OVERLAPPING FUNCTIONALITY?
Deploying new system(s) as a ‘quick fix’ to cover immediate short-term requirements has been necessary for most of us in the past year. Without the time to conduct a full due diligence and procurement process, businesses can sometimes find themselves with too many systems, often all offering similar functionality. When reviewing technology this is a great place to start: mapping out the systems within an organisation and understanding their individual purposes. Do you have multiple internal messaging platforms with the same capabilities? Does your CRM help or hinder your internal processes?
WHAT IS MISSING?
The fog of having ‘too many’ systems can also cover up the lack of particular capabilities. Having mapped out and understood your internal system structure, you can then identify the gaps that require further attention, be it another system, or a change to ways of working.
With digital set to play an ever-important role in the future of work, businesses need to take a hard look at their strategy and decide if their business strategies and digital strategies are aligned. If they are not, there is a significant risk of these small gaps and cracks turning into much bigger problems that are harder to overcome in the future.
We are passionate about supporting businesses through change. At times like this, we know change is reactive, and budgets are tight, and our team is always ready to help. We have developed our Accelerated Change Review to help businesses in this current changeable climate, priced to deliver maximum value at a one-off low cost.