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Businesses of tomorrow will be fleet-footed, ready to exploit connectivity to the full and above all fearless of change. What steps can enterprises take to be future-ready today?

To ensure their long-term survival and prosperity, multinational corporations (MNCs) need to become what we define as a ‘Ready Business’, which means having the flexibility and responsiveness to react to events that we cannot foresee today. From economic crises to disruptive technologies, successful MNCs need to deploy strategies which will enable them to be able to adapt quickly to change and stay ahead of the competition.

To gain a better understanding of how prepared businesses across the world are, Vodafone commissioned a report, interviewing 1,037 business and IT decision-makers, to find out the state of readiness of global businesses.

By comparing the behaviours and attitudes of the most and least Ready Businesses, four important lessons emerge.

Be a rich communicator

Our research suggests that the most Ready Businesses are more committed to listening to their customers and adapting their behaviours to drive better customer relationships and outcomes. In fact these businesses are twice as likely as the other groups to believe that it is critical to deal with customers on a more individual and interactive basis. 46% of the most Ready Businesses believe that multi-channel interaction with customers is critical, compared with 28% of other businesses.

Value employees and partners

Ready Businesses are more likely to place greater value on their people and partners. They adopt an open and collaborative approach to running their business and 69% consider their internal talent as very important, compared with just 37% from the other groups.

Technology is the enabler of business agility, efficiency and transformation and 50% of the most Ready Businesses recognise the importance of finding the right technology and total communications partners to drive this. Only 15% of other organisations place the same value on establishing strategic partnerships.

Exploit connectivity to the full

Ready Businesses exploit connectivity to the full. They appear to be both more aware of, and more focused on, the potential of modern IT and communications. These businesses are more than twice as likely to recognise the significance of exploiting M2M communications as an enabler of new business models.

They are also twice as likely to consider it critical to exploit mobile technology in order to optimise the way people work. This is critical in a world where the millennial workforce expects to be able to work more flexibility.

Be open-minded about meeting technology needs

The most Ready Businesses are more open-minded about meeting their technology needs and appear to be more inclined to embrace new ways of thinking about IT. They were three times as likely as the other groups to believe that hosted or managed services are very important for their business (34% v 10%). They were also quicker to seek advice from specialist communications providers.

Our report also reinforces the importance of IT as a determinant of readiness. 92% of the most Ready Businesses feel fully confident about the readiness of their IT organisation to handle changing business needs, compared with only 30% of the other groups.

The disparity between the most and least Ready Businesses should cause concern for the least ready groups if they are to avoid getting left behind. Only by analysing and learning lessons from the most Ready Businesses can we ensure that our global economy is prepared to deal with whatever comes its way.

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