As Covid-19 continues to spread across the globe we’ve seen how many companies have had to act quickly by launching crisis management plans and transitioning to a virtual workplace almost overnight. But in times of crisis, like the one we find ourselves in today, what is it that gives some companies the ability to adapt quickly to ensure their survival? The answer: Business Agility Defined as the ability to rapidly respond to change, be it adapting products and services to changing customer needs or adjusting to changes within the business operating environment, it’s the “X factor” that sets a company apart from their competitors. And while some companies are generally more agile than others, we’ve seen how the covid-19 pandemic has required even greater agility than ever before. Research has shown that companies who are typically more agile place a high importance on: Customer-centricity – i.e. Having an in-depth understanding of your customers’ needs & ensuring that these are top of mind in everything you do.Cross-functional team dynamics – i.e. Building strong interrelationships between various teams across various functions to promote collective problem solving and task execution. But further to this, other considerations that promote business agility are: Understanding your employee needsThe health & safety of your employees go hand in hand with your ability to continue any form of business operations. We’ve already seen how companies have relooked at their office policies to support social distancing to minimise the risk of covid-19 infection, and how work-from-home policies and employee support are now receiving a lot of attention. Now more than ever, employee flexibility is key, both flexibility in how people can get the job done as well as flexibility around company expectations, rules and regulations. Focusing on emotional agilityDifferent people process stressful scenarios in different ways. Some will easily be able to keep a positive outlook, while others will be overcome with fear and uncertainty. As an organisation, your role is to provide as much emotional stability at possible. This is achieved by focusing your energy on drafting action plans, stimulating idea generation, and providing communication channels to not only share updates and information with your customers and employees but also to give them the opportunity to engage, share their fears and gain access to advice and emotional support. Promoting a culture of innovation & failing fastCompanies are facing some really tough questions right now: How can we reorganise ourselves to continue day-to-day operations? How do we keep doing what we’re doing in a world that’s likely never going to be the same again? What other opportunities are there to keep meeting our customers’ needs? Companies who promote innovation and are quick to try new things already have a leg up. This is because they’re used to having to think outside of the box. They also understand that ideas don’t always work and that this is OK. Crisis situations require lots of new ideas and tons of bravery. It’s the only way to establish your company’s “new normal”, whatever that may look like. If you have any ideas on topics you’d like us to cover on this blog, please leave a comment below. We may not be able to control what’s happening in the world right now, but we can continue to share knowledge and ideas to help each other through this challenging time.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown that’s currently in place, many companies have shifted to remote working as a way of ensuring business continuity. Even though remote working has been a rising trend over the past couple of years, with more and more companies offering it as an option to their employees, the change has come as somewhat of a large-scale avalanche that not everyone was equally prepared for. Some have adjusted better than others, but in general we’ve observed an overarching concern from companies around being able to ensure productivity of remote workers in an effective way. Having insight into what our clients have been doing to manage remote working during this crisis, we’ve been able to formulate the following list of tips to help you refine your remote working strategy: Set some ground rules With remote working, a clear communication strategy becomes even more important than ever before. As part of your ground rules you have to define how and how regularly you’re expected to communicate not only with your team members, but also management. You also have to be clear around your expectations regarding working hours and/or deliverables. Remote working comes with many challenges and distractions, and in general we should try to support a bit more flexibility, but if you still need people to be accessible and available between 8am and 5pm, you have to specify this upfront. Leverage different technology options for communication Email alone is unfortunately not going to cut it. You have to leverage other technologies to support instant chat and online collaboration. For many larger organisations MS Teams has become the collaboration platform of choice, others still make use of tools like Skype for Business and SharePoint, but there are also a variety of great “freemium” options (i.e. products with both free and paid premium options) like Slack and Yammer. At Analyze we’ve actually been making use of Yammer for quite some time and it’s become a great way to ensure that our consultants, who are typically spread across our various client sites in both Johannesburg and Cape Town, are able to stay connected with company news and happenings. Regular team check-ins are key Many organisations have implemented a daily “health check” of sorts to check-in on each other and discuss company changes that have an impact on the employees. For more specific team deliveries, most teams are adopting the daily stand-up which is a concept well known to anyone working within an Agile delivery context. It’s a way to regularly check-in with your team members, discuss what their goals are for the day and also see where you can help a co-worker with something they’re struggling with. Still make time for those one-on-ones As much as team interactions are important, one-on-ones should not be overlooked. It’s a chance for employees (and managers alike) to discuss issues they may not feel comfortable discussing within a group. It’s also where career guidance and developmental discussions take place, something which must continue to ensure that career goals stay on track. Don’t forget about the importance of social interaction Even though we can’t meet up in person, we as humans still need social interaction opportunities that allow us to connect and talk about something other than work. It’s how we build a rapport with each other, how we’re able to provide mental and emotional support during a very challenging time, and also just an opportunity to let off some steam. Whether it’s a 5min, daily, weekly or monthly connect, it’s important to create a space for people to learn more about each other, even if it’s sharing what their home work environment looks like via video chat or taking part in a general knowledge quiz, now’s the time to get creative and find new ways to interact. At Analyze, we understand that this is a very challenging time for most. Projects are being put on hold, businesses are having to reinvent themselves and budgets are tighter than ever. If you have any ideas on topics you’d like us to cover here on the blog to support knowledge sharing and discussion, please do leave a comment below.
The right implementation strategy is an essential component to being able to claim project success. Your project team could have spent months, even years, building what’s perceived to be the perfect product, service or process, but if it’s not implemented correctly, you could just be looking at wasted effort at the end of the day.
The cyber environment is becoming increasingly complex as the exponential surge of data continues. By 2020, Cisco estimates that approximately 99% of devices (50 billion) will be connected to the Internet. Currently, only 1% of devices are connected. This calls for an increasing importance placed on the security and privacy of user information.
Every business that uses a corporate network, or an online system is vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Hackers can significantly disrupt daily business operations by introducing malicious code into their business environment.
Strategic problem solving is a critical skill needed by the leadership within any organisation. It is distinctly different from day-to-day problem solving in that you need to apply a longer-term lens to identify future problems a business may face with the goal to come up with an action plan to effectively avoid these problematic situations.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer the stuff only movie plots are made of, today it has become a key component of computer science research & development which is providing very real solutions for changing the way companies do business. Facebook, Netflix, Google, Tesla Motors and Apple are only some of the big companies out there who have embraced AI with great success. But what does AI mean for those companies who may not be in the position to transform their entire business or invest…
Systems and networks are only as strong as their weakest links. Humans have long been identified as the leading cause of network breaches. With “5 new cyber threat samples being identified every second in Q1 of 2018” (McAfee), the human factor cannot and should not be underestimated…
All companies have a vision, strategy and set of values that define their organisation and their way of working. The differentiating factor, when it comes to customer experience, is whether the values of the organisation are apparent in every interaction you have with them. The beauty of being a smaller consulting firm is that we have a culture that lives and breathes ou
With the traditional Waterfall Development Model, the requirements for software are clear and well-defined in advance. The definition of the product itself is also stable. Developers program the software, after which, the operational teams handle its implementation. But the world of IT is changing fast. Requirements change very often, and software must be developed at an ever-increasing pace…