Businesses have invested significantly in making their customer facing processes run faster. In some cases, like Zara or Amazon, speed is a core source of competitive advantage. But whilst customers enjoy super-fast service employees are often languishing in the slow lane.
This is changing as forward-looking businesses use the same user-centric approaches to transform the internal services provided to their employees. The business case is increased productivity and talent retention. However, the real challenge for slow-moving corporates is not the speed at which you can get a holiday request approved, it is the speed to innovate, make decisions and execute change.
This is becoming the real battleground, with faster moving organisations remaining relevant and capturing new, less contested markets.
Move to the fast-lane
So how can a traditionally risk averse, controls heavy and organisationally rigid corporate behemoth get into the fast-lane?
Start by applying the same approaches used to successfully accelerate end customer processes. Pull together the facts, identify the bottlenecks and constraints, measure what matters and drive change with smart application of technology.
A worked example
A division of a big global business is forecasted to miss its quarterly profitability target. Management are tasked with closing the gap.
- The finance team have known about the gap for 3 days but had to wait for the weekly leadership meeting to raise it in the appropriate forum
- Jane from strategy is tasked with driving the process to fix the problem. Jane is on holiday for the rest of the week
- On arriving back from holiday Jane finds 678 unread emails in her inbox. On her second day back in the office she gets to the action she has been given on closing the profitability gap
- Closing the gap will require coordination across the division and with other divisions. Jane spends two days agreeing who needs to be involved with the leadership team. It is now up to a team of executive assistants to resolve the diary conflicts that makes landing on the moon look easy
- And that is just the start; planning, running and writing-up the workshop where everyone gets together to finally solve the problem introduces a whole new level of pain
Somehow the process of just getting the right people into the room to develop a set of ideas to close the gap is a massive undertaking. And these situations are repeated time and time again with scheduling constraints, dead-time in email inboxes, misalignment across stakeholders and slow write-up and dissemination creating an organisational quagmire from which ideas and change must fight tooth and nail to escape.
Digitisation can help escape the quagmire
There are a whole host of digital which can help escape the quagmire and accelerate the clock speed of the organisation. In Jane's case, there are several well acknowledged digital tools that could be leveraged to speed up the timelines - a chat client such as Slack to beat emails or conference call platforms such as Zoom for bringing meetings forward, wherever people are.
If Jane were to use Axis to arrange the workshop she could:
- Set-up a workshop in minutes, avoiding days and weeks of preparation
- Use standard templates across the organisation that support rapid decision-making and effective innovation that sticks
- Unblock diary constraints by enabling effective remote participation through screen sharing
- Allow instant dissemination of the results by exporting the data
This should allow her to move forward with actionable ideas in the fraction of the time it would have taken to do this non-digitally.