Change is inevitable. It’s not always welcome, sometimes scary, and never without risk. However, change can also represent opportunity. For enterprises across the world, how they react and respond to change can mean the difference between thriving and merely surviving.
It’s often said that change doesn’t happen overnight. The larger the organization, and the more complex the processes involved, the truer this becomes. The thing is, there’s nothing wrong with gradual change. It’s the very definition of evolution. Businesses need to stop thinking of change as an ‘event’ and start thinking in terms of an ongoing process.
Organizational agility has become a primary objective for many businesses. It’s agility that allows us to adapt quickly to change – either to minimise the negative impact or maximise the benefits and opportunities.
The phrase “innovate or die” is attributed to Peter Drucker; a consultant and educator who made a significant contribution to contemporary business management ideology. It’s just one of a number of memorable quotes that are concerned with the concept of change and how businesses handle it.
While it sounds a little dramatic, it’s not far from the truth. The news headlines have been littered with tales of companies, many of them long-established, who have withered and died on the vine because of their inability to change. From Blockbuster Video to Kodak and, most recently in the UK, travel firm Thomas Cook.
Innovation seems, on the surface of things, to be a much more immediate process. In reality, innovation can also take time and I’d argue that without evolution, innovation becomes much more challenging.
This is a concept that users of ERP software will be very familiar with. Take JD Edwards EnterpriseOne for example. A lot of users are keen to make the most of the new features and functionality available from the latest ESUs. To innovate, if you will. However, in order to do so, they must first have moved to the latest release (9.2) i.e. they need to have evolved.
Digital Transformation involves more than just a change in technology, it requires a cultural change too. Technology has the habit of accelerating change, so ‘digital enterprises’ need to become more comfortable with the concept of managing change as a strategy.
From an ERP software perspective, staying code-current provides an environment that fosters innovation. Whether the objective is cost efficiency, customer experience excellence or process automation, organizations need to learn to embrace change, not fear it. “We’ve been doing it the same way for years” is not a differentiator, it’s a warning sign. Drucker had something to say here too “there is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all”.
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