Agile or Fragile?

Leverage your digital platform to meet demand in times of need

It’s been a divisive year, to say the least…

Where did the time go? What did you do with it? Where do we go from here?

No one can quite agree on what might come next, how long ‘this’ will go on for, or what the future may look like. But there’s one thing we all can agree on – digital is where it’s at. We have been around for a long time and we’ve been paying attention. What have we learnt? Now is the time for you to step up and be brave. Reassess the goals of your business, and make sure you’re focussing on the customer, in everything you do.

Consumers are rapidly changing and keeping up with them is becoming more and more difficult. Service first, excellence, and a user-centred approach are the core components needed to navigate the challenges ahead. It isn’t about weathering the storm, but about achieving the operational agility that will let you accelerate through it.

 

Disaster breeds innovation.

When lockdown hit and we were faced with the sudden shortage of food (and toilet paper…), our client Brakes, one of the country’s leading food wholesalers, stepped up to support the people. Bringing together their best digital minds, and with the support of our teams here at KPS, they launched a D2C e-commerce site on SAP Commerce Cloud in just nine days, with all the ‘back end’ operations in place (click and collect, delivery options) bringing over 6,000 of their restaurant-quality products directly to consumers.

Sometimes small groups of devoted individuals (like at Brakes) spot an urgent need, re-evaluate priorities, and re-focus. At speed. This speed of decision making is a by-product of crisis, breaking with those pesky bureaucratic procedures in order to keep the pace needed for innovation. 

But, once the imminent danger is gone, do you go back to the ‘old’ plan? The ‘old’ ways of working? We think not. 

Empower your ‘deliverers of digital’ that live and breathe the values of innovation, and who focus relentlessly on improving customer experience. This goes a long way to discovering agile organically – and maintaining it. The end goal should always be to make the customer’s experience as enjoyable as possible. Shorten delivery times, encourage reviews and harness them, really pay attention and act on them. Agility requires a mindset where your team members fulfil a ‘part of the customer journey’, not a ‘departmental role’. 

Why not create teams charged solely with generating innovations? A flexible approach such as this promotes operational agility, keeping the cadence of innovation high. Agile enterprises are always concerned with speed, not just during global pandemics. 

We commonly see this measured by examining the time between noticing a problem rear its head, or an eye-catching opportunity appear, and the delivery of a solution. With the solution found, there are two main factors that determine the speed of the innovation – how long you work on it and the time spent twiddling your thumbs waiting for others. According to Harvard Business Review, most teams spend between 15-20% of their time working on innovation, and the rest waiting. Breaking projects down into batches helps you to get feedback quicker and respond faster to changing demands. Make things smaller. It helps.

Approaching the future in such a way is brilliant for maintaining your agility. Capitalising on the innovation you’ve discovered by using a systematic approach could help you to increase the rate it goes live. Assess the impact, monitor the KPIs, evaluate and then continue innovating. You already know the process. 

Choosing the right technology partner to help with this pace of change is your next step. Your customer deserves the best and you expect no less. Being ruthless is your prerogative and to connect with today’s savvy digital consumers, this means choosing services that put them first. Getting a 360 view of the customer lets this take place and is fast becoming a necessity for e-commerce enabled sites. If you want to keep up with the competition – or beat them – that is.

 

Transparency should be the norm – for you and for your customers.

Creating a unified customer experience is a huge step towards getting that competitive edge. Our clients Jewson and Dreams brought us on board to help understand, develop and optimise the customer journey. We delivered a truly agile working environment, made possible by transparent relationships backed by excellent service.

Knowing your customer better than ever allows you to be even pickier with your ecosystem. Having an e-commerce stack that promotes a best-of-breed approach lets you tailor your omni-channel solution to the best fit for your consumers. Anything that doesn’t work? Bin it and move on to the next potential solution. This is nothing new. Designing e-commerce around ideal omni-channel experiences always results in better commercial performance. The only way to keep up with the demand of the customers is to remain agile and adaptive.

The new normal might be daunting, but one thing is clear – it’s proving great for innovation. If you’re agile enough to keep up. Agile, or fragile. Which one are you?

20
The amount of time, according to Harvard Business Review, teams spend on innovation
80
The amount of time innovation teams spend waiting on others