In the face of the fourth industrial revolution – otherwise known as the industrial internet of things (IIoT) – service-led businesses must adopt more agile processes if they want to thrive. But what exactly do we mean by agile?
“The essence of Agile movement, whether in new product development, new service offerings, software applications, or project management, rests on two foundational goals: delivering valuable products to customers and creating working environments in which people look forward to coming to work each day.” Jim Highsmith, Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products
Agile working removes the need for the traditional rigid office set-up by bringing people, processes, and technology together. The result is more flexible working patterns, processes, and environments. And, while this theory isn’t new – modern technological advancements are making agile working easier than ever.
Done right, the benefits of agile working are compelling. Here’s just a few of them:
- Increased competitiveness. With a focus on performance over ‘presenteeism’ (being seen to be in the office), agile working encourages innovation; which in turn leads to a more competitive edge
- Maximised efficiencies and productivity. Flexible and mobile ways of working give employees freedom. And, by trusting them to do their jobs in the most efficient manner, you create a more productive (and happier) workforce
- Reduced costs. Agile working requires businesses to streamline their procedures. This inevitably leads to the removal of inefficient tech, processes, staff, and real estate
- Better collaboration and connectivity. With the right technology in place, agile working leads to enhanced communication and shared access to real-time information. From anywhere in the world, on any device.
However, even where a company is willing, it can be difficult to get buy-in from everyone involved. So, what can you do to help your business make the switch?
Start with these three simple steps:
STEP ONE: Use a joined up approach
Rather than cobbling different applications together, develop a joined-up strategy and then use a service manager solution to make large-scale improvements to your organisation. This method will lead to improvements in interoperability and help your IT team to better prepare for the IIoT; no matter what’s around the corner.
STEP TWO: Think beyond the office
What your employees do is more important than where they are. Not everybody works best tied to a desk all day.
It can be difficult to trust employees to perform where you can’t see them, but according to experts, this reliance on “presenteeism is the biggest threat to UK workplace productivity” and could lead to increases in stress-related absence.
However, before switching to a more agile, flexible approach, you must make sure that everyone has instant access to everything they need to do their jobs. So, invest in a cloud-based hosted desktop solution that lets your people access the files and programs they need. No matter where they are.
“We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they [are] at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.” Richard Branson, Founder, and Chairman of Virgin Group
STEP THREE: Futureproof your technology by moving to the cloud
With advances in technology moving fast, it can be difficult to predict what you might need to run your business in the upcoming years. Rather than trying to guess your infrastructure needs, switch to software-as-a-service (SaaS).
With robust encryption now available, the cloud gives you secure access to enterprise-level tech tools for one affordable monthly cost. But more than this, it also grows with your businesses, so you can add extra functionality as and when required.
Of course, agile working requires more than the right technology. But, by putting this a place’ and demonstrating the value that it adds to your business, it becomes easier to ensure buy-in from your stakeholders, and take the agile working philosophy to the next level.
A total workforce and business management solution for service, maintenance, and installation organisations, at Key Computers we can help you to develop agile practices that increase your efficiency, optimise your workforce, and boost your sales.
To find out more about how we can help your business to become more agile, speak to a member of our team on 01942 261 671 or email email@example.com to find out more.
 Sir Cary Cooper, keynote speech, CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition.