In a world of constant disruption, what is true organisational agility and resilience in everyday practice?
Scott Drummonds, Vice President APJ Solutions Consulting at ServiceNow, tackled these two often misunderstood concepts in the context of COVID-19 financial and operational challenges of 2020.
Drummonds discussed real-world examples of "building agility and unlocking productivity through people, technology and processes," at Innovation@Work Asia, an event of The Economist Impact group.
"Agility is, by my definition, the ability of your business to change directions quickly. Resilience is, again by my definition, your ability to keep going in the same direction through all kinds of barriers and obstacles."
These two attributes, he said, buoyed companies "fluidly" amid the wave of disruptions in the past 18 months.
An example Drummonds cited was Standard Chartered, which used its HR service delivery platform to help employees shift to a hybrid work environment. As a result, the bank attained an 84% workforce engagement rate, supporting 38,000 employees in a distributed set-up at the height of the pandemic.
Standard Chartered confronted the challenge of operating a complex HR environment for multiple stakeholders and different compliance measures across regions where the teams operate. With the use of a "flexible, scalable and highly automated" HR service delivery channel, however, the bank's people leaders saved a further 9,000 work hours in just one month thanks to the availability of resources through their HR portal.
As Drummonds pointed out, Standard Chartered had long been using the HR portal for years. "But when the pandemic hit, this portal became a tool, a weapon in the war of agility," he said.
Another case study Drummonds presented was that of Lloyds Banking Group responding to UK regulators' pressure in 2019 to build an operational system that could withstand a host of threats – not the least of which was the abrupt shift to working remotely while ensuring business continuity amid the pandemic.
Lloyds' model for operational resilience included four pillars: technology, people, facilities and suppliers. A critical element to the bank's success was the use of a singular "platform of platforms" for digital transformation.