Agile has become a mainstream form of resilience to achieve more robust, faster, and collaborative outcomes. Gartner’s CIO Agenda 2021 report stated that 69% of board rooms reported acceleration in their digital transformation efforts due to recent workforce and operational disruptions. Many organizations have had to rapidly embark on their digital transformation journey or have been forced to accelerate their existing plans. We have observed that, particularly over recent years, clients have quickly realigned their teams, which have been traditionally focused on their operations, go-to-market, customer experience, people development in a short time towards great alignment with business outcomes.
As many companies recover from this compressed transformational period, executives may wonder how we choose an operating model that can sustain this progress in the long term? How can remote teams be organized so they can continue solving customer problems?
At Infosys Consulting, we believe that creating organizational agility built around customers and employees is critical for sustaining this transformational change. Today, we share three key trends that emphasize these beliefs:
- Future of work is hybrid – Remote work is here to stay. Gone are the days when large centralized shared centers were designed under the notion that functionally similar collocated employees drive business value. Employees started working remotely for an extended period and now would prefer to work in some form of flexible work arrangement in the future. For example, 3 out of 4 US employees prefer flexible work choices, with 1 out of 4 even willing to leave a job that doesn’t allow flexible work options[i]. Hence, organizational structures must be resilient enough to work across any work setting. That is being seen particularly in Australia, where data shows a significant change in mobility and preferences on workers to commute on selected days.
- Achieving stronger business outcomes – Faster decision-making doesn’t mean breaking the business. An agile operating model had become a critical success factor for companies with research throughout 2020-2021 identifying that business units that had fully adopted an agile model before the pandemic outperformed those that didn’t.[ii] Our client interactions have repeatedly demonstrated that agile teams have adapted to the disruption without significantly reducing productivity, whist traditional teams struggled to transition, adjust and reprioritize to the new normal.
- Empowering collaboration – The disruption we have observed demonstrates that breaking down departmental silos and forming squads to achieve specific missions achieved a faster turnaround time than previously estimated and imagined. In addition, cross-functional team structures focused on organizational challenges have demonstrated stronger collaborating, increased focus on outcomes, and a shared mindset for quicker turnaround timelines that previous traditional structures hadn’t. However, these teams were typically built on a project-by-project basis. In the future, we believe that teams will be made on customer and user journeys, solving a set of frictions and problems where the same empowered team will gather information, devise entrepreneurial solutions, deliver them into practice and unlock continuous value.
Let us explain the new mode of operations in the example case of “Bill Dispute Handling for a Telecom Operator”. In a conventional structure, if a Customer Service Lead identifies a need to digitalize the bill dispute process, they would have to interact with Process excellence, Billing, UI/UX & Digital Channels (Web Portal, Mobile App, etc.) teams individually for requirements, business case approval, development, and testing process and timelines. This initiative could easily take 6-12 months from identification to development and implementation. As several clients now emphasize more incredible speed to delivery and value, this illustrates how the structure of an organization can directly impact outcomes.
In the case of an agile team structure, a customer interaction management squad would include team members from all the relevant stakeholders. The squad will jointly identify existing areas for automation and will be empowered to decide the customer interaction journey. The squad will collaborate to iterate and test an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) of the approach on one channel before scaling it across all other digital channels. Because all the stakeholders are working across continually, each iteration and development will cut down the communication gaps and development time compared to the conventional structure of individual skills.
Therefore, recent trends have ultimately fast-tracked transformation for many organizations and challenged traditional structures to adjust operationally. Deriving new capabilities and mindsets towards transformation demonstrate how organizations are resilient to disruption in times of rapid agility and can pivot to meet their objectives.
Principal, Infosys Consulting
Michael joined Infosys Consulting in 2021 as part of the Communications, Media and Entertainment practice in the Asia Pacific Region. He brings over 11 years of experience in emerging industries, digital transformation, industry strategy development, product innovation, development and management. Michael is passionate in working on the next generation of products and business models for a range of clients. Michael holds several degrees and certifications, demonstrating active interest in developing new and emerging capabilities.
Sagar Roongta is a Consultant in the Communications, Media & Entertainment practice at Infosys Consulting. He has 6+ years of experience in projects related to Go-to-Market, Product Lifecycle Management, Digital Marketing, Customer Experience upliftment for clients in Telecom, Consumer Goods, & Automobile industries. He is passionate about building capabilities and tools that help leaders make faster and better decisions.