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Employees strategize a shift in operations during Covid-19.

Operational Agility: Shifts in Operating Models During COVID-19

The benefits of operational agility became clear early on during the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses that adopted agile operations on a flexible operating model were better able to adjust during the upheaval.

We’ve now had time to examine better what businesses did to shift their strategies and how they were able to sustain change. The importance of operational agility remains a key component of long-term growth.

The Need for Operational Agility

The pandemic highlighted a need to adapt to unforeseen situations. Digital transformation was significant as organizations had to create new workspaces remotely with a flexible approach. 

Organizations that resisted change in their operational models faltered. Even companies that made minor adjustments in the right direction had difficulty sustaining the crucial flexibility needed to survive these global challenges. 

One takeaway has become clear: Operational agility and all that comes with it is the key to long-term solvency. While we may not experience another event like the COVID-19 pandemic, companies that adapted are better prepared to thrive under the most challenging conditions.

Successful Changes to Operating Models

A few common threads have come to light in organizations that seemed more prepared to tackle pandemic-related obstacles.

Digitized Operations

Companies that had embraced the digital transformation ahead of the pandemic were better equipped to handle remote workforces and internal processes than their counterparts.

Digitization allowed companies to automate workflows and adjust as needed. They found ways to use AI for operational agility where they required clear, creative solutions. Digital processes also made it easier to analyze incoming data and address demand shifts across supply chains as the remote workforce exploded.

Responsive systems allowed IT leaders at organizations to respond efficiently and effectively as needs change throughout the pandemic.

Dual-Track Transformation 

As we already described, digital transformation and modernization efforts have been vital to remain solvent throughout the pandemic. The most successful operations, however, had focused on dual-track change even before COVID-19.

This kind of operating model took a two-pronged approach, with projects working concurrently, addressing long-term goals and more rapid innovations addressing current needs. The pandemic revealed how important it is to have teams working on a vision to allow a business to respond to future opportunities and present obstacles.

Rapid-Cycle Innovation

Organizations that embraced rapid-cycle innovation better equipped themselves to provide quick wins when challenges came from all directions. A focus on innovation is all the more critical when businesses have to face rapid, necessary change.

Rapid-cycle innovation is also an ongoing process that requires buy-in from company leaders down. It’s essential to identify a point person or team that allows for a more focused effort once society normalizes. 

Low-Code Tools

Organizations that had broad access to low-code tools could expand their efforts to allow for more seamless transitions between work and home during the pandemic.

Low-code tools are cloud-based tools that one can customize to a company’s needs. An organization’s developers can certainly run higher-end models, but employees can run these tools in-house once the frameworks are in place.

These tools empower those outside the IT sector to access operations when the usual processes have been upended. In the pandemic, these kinds of devices allowed for a more efficient remote workforce with the bonus of lowered operating costs and better responsiveness to customers.

As with any digital efforts, it is essential to continually assess whether tools meet expectations and address any security concerns that may arise with remote work.

A Focus on Continuity

Businesses that managed to navigate disruptions successfully have focused on workflow continuity. Productivity will always be necessary, rapid-response time to a need for resiliency — and whether a company’s current operations promote agility — has become even more critical. 

Supply chains experienced more upheaval than most businesses.

The pandemic highlighted the need for improvements in managing shortages of necessary supplies and staff, mainly when the situation is of global concern.

Operational agility is an ongoing process.

Even the most successful companies that fully embraced the digital transformation in COVID-19 should stay on their toes, commit to resiliency and change, and seek support for long-term growth. 

Embrace Agile Operations with Trinity

Fully embracing operational agility is not an easy undertaking. With decades of experience in custom solutions, Trinity can help your business grow and adapt no matter the obstacles. Build a pathway today for intelligent solutions that will set you up for success and embrace change to set you up for the future.

Scott Burday