Agile frameworks can help COOs weather the pandemic’s next stage

A three-step primer for pulling off a digital transformation

This 3-step primer can help COOs improve their agile frameworks and business agility.

Editor’s note: A version of this story originally published on LinkedIn.

The pandemic has forced business leaders to focus more than ever on results. For the COO, as the leader responsible for balancing efficiencies and growth, advancing agile frameworks should be top of mind.

While agility is often considered inherent to certain companies—think, Spotify, Amazon, or Adobe–becoming agile is not always intuitive. Now, new research creates a framework COOs should consider.

An IDC white paper sponsored by ServiceNow measured companies for signs of agility based on their capabilities, processes, and priorities. The report reveals the key traits of an agile organization since the onset of COVID that beginners could emulate.

The study showed that agile businesses:

  • Focus more on leadership and agile frameworks
  • Recover quickly and take full advantage of a crisis
  • Prioritize time to market over “perfection” for new solutions
  • Have digitized or automated more processes

How can you get there?

1. Organizations must focus on transforming their technology stack, reducing complexity and digitizing workflows for enterprise operations.

This cuts across three main types of processes: internal IT support, customer-facing, and employee-facing. By connecting these processes together to create the connected enterprise, organizations are able to create the digital blueprint or digital twin of their organization, which gives them the transparency and visibility needed at the enterprise level to respond and adapt to changes rapidly.

2. Even with all the tools in place, if you don’t fully implement the culture, understanding, and communication, nothing will stay consistent or connected.

People play a critical part in any agile transformation. It sounds obvious, but we have to focus on them, our people, rather than just looking at roles or headcounts. We have to coach them to be leaders, not just managers. This kind of thinking must come from the C-suite.

3. Reorganizing how you work and operate is much more effective than restructuring it. That may seem like a distinction without a difference, but it isn’t.

If you think about how you deliver your business strategy, it involves many different functions: marketing, PR, sales, business development, R&D, and legal, among others. They’re part of the same value stream and therefore need to refrain from working to their own insular KPIs based on drivers related to their own goals.

Agile businesses organize all departments and teams around common goals with common KPIs to drive the business model in delivering the products or services to their customers. Each department brings their own expertise and specialist skills to delivering these goals, but the organization is focused and united on delivering the agreed outcomes.

A great first step is simply accepting the need for change. With the right support, culture, and tools, businesses can launch themselves into their more agile futures.

Read more about how to debunk myths in your organization about what actually builds agility.


COO Center

Insights and resources for business leaders