Changing technology and services practices is not enough if people are not open to changing their mindset.
Since 1760, when the earliest records of the Industrial Revolution in England were registered, organizations have consistently evolved their processes. Back then, the biggest step was the transition to new manufacturing processes: the start of machine production instead of handmade methods, chemicals manufacturing, new iron production processes, greater efficiency of water energy, among other transformations. In spite of its importance, this revolution would take decades to spread across the European continent and abroad to reach the United States; which would be unthinkable today.
From the second half of the twentieth century, with the arrival of the digital age- the so-called Third Industrial Revolution- electronics, information technology and telecommunications delivered unprecedented technological advances.
Despite the impression this occurred in the distant past, we are talking about a little over 50 years ago. But this impression is fully justified by the paradigm breach caused by the emergence of the fourth industrial revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, about two years ago. Robots integrated into cyberphysical systems, a convergence of digital, physical and biological technologies are responsible for this radical transformation.
For experts, industry 4.0 is not an extension of the third industrial revolution, rather the arrival of a new and different revolution. The speed of advancements, and the reach and impact on systems are unprecedented and are disrupting all industries around the world.
Klaus Schwab, author of the “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” stated in 2016, ‘‘A technological revolution is just around the corner, and it will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.”
Due to the great technological advance in such a short time, it is natural for executives to feel they are in some kind of labyrinth with many paths leading to success or a dead end. Due to several options that overlap- internet of things, artificial intelligence, cloud, etc.- time is the main factor in adapting to this new world order.
The key issue is not just about adopting the newest and most cutting-edge technology. It is necessary to create a way of seeing the world, with its commercial and personal relations, since the success of any transformation still largely depends on human actions.
Therefore, Business Agility represents an organization’s ability to quickly adapt to market changes — internally and externally — by quickly responding with flexibility to customer demands. In addition to adaptation, we must lead these changes productively and economically, without compromising quality and seeking to maintain a competitive advantage.
Therefore, an agile company adopts the agile philosophy and values of transforming people, culture, structure and technology, and is always customer-centered, responds quickly and effectively to the opportunities and internal and external threats, whether they are commercial, legal, technological, social, moral or political.
In practice, a single recipe is not adaptable for different situations. First, raising awareness that Business Agility is not merely a matter of Information Technology is important. The organization’s transformation of any size must be organic and involve the whole company including departments such as HR, finance, purchase, customer service, etc. Basically, transformation is based on three pillars: the definition of priority, who delivers, and who helps think in a different, innovative way. Therefore, you need to learn how to think differently.
It is not enough to change practices, technologies and services if people are not motivated to change their mindset. This is only possible with company leaders who are involved. This is also the first difficulty to overcome, engaging all executives, followed by defining which problems should be transformed.
Defining small deliverables to measure results is helpful with this challenge, because convincing becomes possible when you can show small gains from partnerships within the organization, with results that encourage everyone to grow. As I mentioned previously, you have to try since no ready model exists.