With high inflation, uncertain leadership, and extreme weather knocking on the front door, what transformation projects are top of the agenda for businesses looking to control the disruption? And why is continuous improvement important in business?
Change is prevalent, whether hat’s the consumer product industry responding to unreliable goods sourcing, the rise of outsourcing departments with digital tools, or the growth of the customer-centric fintech sector.
In response to these sometimes unpredictable variables, businesses have been investing in transformation projects, especially within the digital sphere.
“The implementation of digital technologies can help accelerate progress towards enterprise goals such as financial returns, workforce diversity, and environmental targets by 22%.” (Deloitte, 2020)
Let’s explore trends in business transformation and how businesses are responding to change in mid-2022.
#1 Building with tech, not for tech.
Digital technology has had an incredible impact on every facet of business in the last decade or so. And it’s been largely championed because of how it facilitates personal autonomy in terms of physical location and hours worked per day.
However, some businesses are experiencing an over-saturation of tech stacks. Allured by autonomising processes and analysing an abundance of data, there’s a temptation to collect tech products like antiquated coins. But more is not always better.
Dense stacks can cause:
Cost of multiple subscriptions: Most tech stacks operate on a subscription basis, and if not well-monitored, teams may quickly become buried beneath redundant monthly costs.
An admin strain: Managing multiple tech tools can have a considerable productivity stain on the employees directly using them. Consider the size of your team and what might ‘enable’ rather than ‘disable’ their daily work tasks; it’s important to avoid tech fatigue. As Greg Keller from JumpCloud, recently commented at London Tech Week,
“Tech can be an enabler or mental disabler”.
Disjointed reporting: Your tech stack should be influenced by your KPIs. They should measure particular data sets that help inform your overall strategy and aid the company. When operating too many automation or digital products, you make experience data flooding, causing confusion not only to your reporting but it has the potential to misalign your strategy.
Because of the points above, we are seeing transformation projects prioritising stack convergence and reassessing the digital tools they truly need.
#2 Outsourcing business functions.
Whether you are a start-up, going through a growth period, or simple reprioritising internal activities, outsourcing functions, teams, or departments has never been more accessible.
Digital connectivity means your business model doesn’t have to operate in a silo. Instead, you can access unique skillsets and experiences across a globalised world. This resource can help organisations fill a broad spectrum of needs, from interim senior consulting to permanent HR teams.
Examples from Stellar Digital are shown below:
Because outsourcing has become a fully customisable prospect, both large and small firms can benefit from this model, it may help:
Access specific expertise
Provide budget relief
Offer quick solutions to specific problems
Fulfil interim projects
Provide a boost to productivity
As specialists in outsourcing senior expertise and project teams, Freshminds has seen the benefits firsthand from companies engaging in agile organisational practice.
Example: Global Logistics Company Needs Support
When your business is experiencing a growth phase, it’s essential that your employees feel heard and included in business changes. One of our clients found themselves in this situation, leading a large-scale transformation project for a global logistics company.
To ensure they met essential ROIs while restructuring, they wanted support from an experienced consultant that could offer objective, functional expertise. Freshminds helped deliver this need by collaborating with our rich network of senior consultants.
This resulted in the mapping of a 50,000+ organisational structure, significant cost reductions, and empowered the HR department to improve internal processing.
#3 Green supply chains.
From Honest Burgers farming regeneration to BT’s three Climate Change Procurement Principles, businesses are thinking seriously about the impact they make on the planet.
“It is a generally accepted truth that supply chains contribute up to 80% of an organisation’s total carbon emissions.” - SupplyChainDigital
Partly due to public pressure, as customers become savvier about the products and services they use, and partly due to the future of investing, green operational transformation projects are rife. And business sustainability is a guiding force.
Many organisations are using data to facilitate supply chain transformation as it offers “lifecycle traceability”. Whether your businesses want to manage rising costs by gaining some competitive research from interim analysts or you want to implement digital CO2 emission tracking during transportation with a consultant, there are various ways to transform your supply chains.
Case Study: Beer company InBev implements blockchain technology
One example of green supply chain transformation is Belgium beer company Anheuser-Busch InBev. They’ve implemented sustainability goals that aim to improve the yield of barley for their farmers, water conservation, and offer full consumer transparency, as seen below.
By using a QR code found on multi-packs, customers get a full view of InBev’s beer creation, starting from the farmers picking the barley to products being placed on the supermarket shelf or placed in the distribution warehouse.
#4 The slow death of the organisational pyramid.
In 2010, the Guardian released an article on the death of hierarchy in business, stating;
“Hierarchy still wields enormous influence, especially in more traditional organisations, but it is no longer the circuitry by which ideas, energy and influence get transmitted. In this sense, hierarchy is dead, or at least dying.”
Twelve years on, and we’re still living within the boundaries of that prediction. Albeit we are much closer to the final, enduring breath, digitalisation is facilitating the process at speed.
In business, organisational design can be stubborn, and the more complex the layout, often due to its deep roots, the more resistant it can be to change. Perhaps that’s the difference. In 2022, change has become unavoidable, even celebrated, even sought-after. And the implementation stage is finally in full swing.
Many traditional business structures like functional design operate with a clear hierarchy, placing a CEO or board of directors often at the top of the pyramid. In this structure, specific functions, such as finance or marketing, are split into separate groups, with managers often attributing to the sole communication of that department.
However, flat or matrix organisational structures have become highly desirable in the last ten years; find an example diagram below by Ntaskmanager.
These designs are designed to be less hierarchical and make it easier to accommodate personal responsibility and flexibility, often more than traditional structures. With the rise in communication tech, this structure has also become easier to manage as cross-functional expertise are more able to collaborate on projects.
It may be insincere to call this a trend unless you have a liberal view on time. Instead, it’s probably best described as a slow decay in hierarchical thinking, which has wormed its way into the business sphere. Like way things, this has become more sensical in the aftermath of a global disaster.
#5 Long-term inclusivity.
Over the last decade or so, there’s been an increased push in the corporate and professional sphere to attract diverse talent. Research shows that, as well as an essential social obligation, diverse teams actually outperform less diverse teams.
“Businesses are 36% more likely to outperform financially when executive teams have high ethnic diversity.” - Forbes
There are numerous benefits to curating an environment that supports varied experiences, insights and perspectives, but how can organisations do it?
Well, ensuring that your organisation offers communicative outlets to everyone is essential. This might involve weekly face-to-face meetings or an anonymous feedback form. Additionally, managers play a hugely impactful role. Ensuring you are emotionally and culturally aware is a good start, and equally, empathy plays a huge role in how your team feels about you and the daily work they are conducting.