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Byline: Brad Newton, DocuSign, VP APAC

We’re in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, marked by extraordinary technological advances. For businesses it can sometimes feel like a bumpy road, but you really can do more than just hold on for the ride.

Through economic downturn, industry upheaval, changing customer preferences or technological transformation, businesses that proactively evolve with movement in the market are the ones that not only survive, but thrive.

When the only constant is change, agility is a business’s best asset for sustainability.

What agility means to business and why it’s important

Say you’ve identified a new business opportunity or a change in process that will add to your bottom line, improve productivity, or boost staff and customer satisfaction; your first instinct is to seize it before the competition does, right? Of course it is. It’s Business 101. However, the ability to adjust your processes and systems to meet new (or more) requirements is the difference between success and failure. If a business is weighed down by outdated systems and processes, its chances of acting immediately or delivering on its promises can be significantly impacted.

The importance of agility can be seen more concretely in the recent actions of fast-food giant McDonalds. When consumers began moving away from super-sizing and towards healthier food, revenues began to take a nose-dive. To address this issue and reconnect with its market, McDonalds shook things up by revamping its menu with healthy menu options. To appeal to more young people, it also implemented touch-screen ordering systems in select outlets. According to a market study by Technavio, McDonalds is likely to achieve a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 10% by 2020.

Workflow automation gets people talking (and businesses moving)

Many businesses aim to be agile but get swamped by day-to-day responsibilities. They might only have time to look at the big picture once a year. Being agile requires the headspace to look around you and see what’s happening. To do this, you must have a seamless operation and a level of efficiency that provides time to consider new ways of doing things. This is where cloud workflow automation comes into its own.

Cloud workflow automation tools help businesses manage tasks with greater efficiency, increase communication via alerts, and safely retain data for reporting purposes. Data can be accessed any time by anyone with the requisite permissions, including remotely. These tools also allow greater transparency and compliance – critical functions in a world where complex regulations and legislation are being introduced with unprecedented speed.

A good example of the power of cloud software to streamline your business is DocuSign’s newly launched Agreement Cloud. DocuSign Agreement Cloud allows people to prepare, sign, action and manage agreements online. Businesses can now work faster with less risk, lower costs, and better customer and employee experiences.

Cloud software trumps legacy systems

When it comes to agility, many organisations are still trying to wring every last drop from their existing ERP software. Unfortunately, these legacy systems were built for what business needed at the time, not what it expects now. Years and years of add-ons, internal customisations and disparate programming mean information sometimes falls through the cracks, staff processes like rostering can be inequitable, and changes in one part of the system can have a negative impact on another. In other words, they’re clunky and difficult to maintain. New, streamlined cloud solutions will minimise – if not eliminate – much of your IT maintenance requirements.

Build agility into your business culture

As the business and technology landscapes evolve, companies must always remember that human beings are at the heart of their success. It’s important to ensure the health of your corporate culture and guide teams to be on the look-out for ways to keep up and move the business forward.

If new cloud technology is implemented, good training and ongoing support will help the change-management process.

When all is said and done, agility isn’t just a business philosophy; it requires planning to ensure it permeates culture, workflow and infrastructure, but the payoff is longevity.

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Loren Webb

Loren Webb

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