And the alternative? You simply stand by and watch as your competitors sail past.
Will your business respond with inertia or agility?
Historically, there are plenty of examples of businesses caught in the headlights of change. The book retail industry alone has shelf-loads of classic case studies on business inertia or agility.
Amazon radically disrupted the standard bricks and mortar approach to bookselling, by demonstrating the advantages of selling over the web. The company then went on to leverage customer data to deepen its advantage. Meanwhile, many competitors were simply unable to respond to the changes that resulted. They watched in shock and then despair as Amazon changed the game, before closing their doors in defeat.
Change can come from the most and least obvious places. It can be due to the introduction of a new regulatory environment. It can be as a result of a shift in consumer preferences. Or, as in the case of book retailers, the turning point can be the introduction of new technologies.
Former Intel chief, Andy Grove, called such moments a Strategic Inflection Point. He described it as “a time in the life of business when its fundamentals are about to change. That change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end.”
There are no crystal balls to help you spot a strategic inflection point. But agility is the ability to build competitive advantage into the fabric of your business and ready you for the next disruptive change.
How can you build agility into the fabric of your business?
Many businesses are looking to a new breed of offshoring for the answer. Known as “managed operations”, this pioneering approach to offshoring supports businesses and gives them the control and resources they need to take agility to a new level.
The managed operations model provides much of what is common to all modern agile businesses:
A managed operation accommodates the scaling up or down of operations, with reduced cost impact. The operational flexibility of this new offshoring option means the business always works at its most efficient and resourceful level. If demand slows, the provider can scale down the operations swiftly, without the cost of unused office space and assets.
This operational flexibility also arms the business to respond to potential growth opportunities. Managed operations providers offer the capacity and scale to help clients grow much faster than they could do alone. They can rapidly hire extra people with the right skills, and can provide access to the desks and technology required to get up and running fast.
Access a new talent pool
Access to new talent pools is often cited as a reason for slow response to change. In answer to this, managed operations provide access to talent that cannot be found or easily retained at home. And, as demonstrated by a managed operations provider in the Philippines, it can simultaneously reduce overhead costs by up to 70% or more.
24/7 customer-focused service
Today’s consumers want exceptional service, on demand. This leaves businesses facing the challenge of how to provide this service without sacrificing quality of the customer experience. A managed operation can be tailored to help businesses provide ‘customer focused’ 24/7 service.
Reap the advantages of new technology
Modern cloud technology allows businesses to take advantage of an offshore operation, where both the on-shore and offshore teams run on the same technology environment. Armed with cloud-based technology, your workforce is able to support the anytime, anywhere approach and act swiftly in the face of change. This also allows head office processes, such as data processing, admin and IT support, to be extended to offshore locations and managed seamlessly.
Get ready for change
In a world where every business is alert for the next disruptive change, it’s the business that builds agility into its capabilities that will reap the competitive advantage.
The new breed of offshoring – managed operations – provides businesses with the key aspects of agility whilst allowing the business to retain control.
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