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Disruptive technologies are creating threats as well as opportunities for businesses. This guide to developing a state of business readiness will enable your business to prosper in an uncertain environment.

To thrive in this uncertain world, businesses need to be flexible, responsive and connected. To help ensure your business is prepared for this new, more connected world, here are some top tips that will help put your organisation on the path to becoming a Ready Business – a business with the power to succeed today whilst always being prepared for tomorrow.

1. Create a positive, customer-centric culture

While many of the challenges businesses face – dealing with increasing volumes of data, connecting disparate workforces, and managing demands for BYOD – have arisen due to the emergence of new technology, CEOs should not be so quick to prescribe a purely technological solution. These issues need to be addressed at a fundamental organisational, as well as technological level. And successfully navigating new technological demands begins with the right culture and management style.

Ready Businesses enthusiastically encourage new ideas. Fostering an environment that has a positive attitude to change and is unafraid of embracing new ways of working is essential if your business is going to succeed in tackling business challenges head-on.

Despite the rapid changes taking place, safeguarding the basic principles of doing good business is vital. No amount of new technology will ever replace the importance of listening to customers and taking their views seriously. A Ready Business takes a customer-centric approach and uses technology as part of a strategy to meet its customers’ goals.

2. Create flexible, reactive policies

Outdated policies and inflexible processes can be the biggest inhibitors to change within a business. Removing these barriers is a key step towards becoming a Ready Business. Regularly stress-testing your current policies and processes to ensure they are capable of delivering an agile, responsive and efficient business is critical.

Your policies should encourage employees to work together for common goals and your processes should ensure that your workforce is sufficiently adaptable to handle new and exceptional requirements. More flexible policies and processes will also help to empower employees and enable greater cross-functional coordination between departments and groups, encouraging staff to think differently now they are no longer constrained by processes that are not fit-for-purpose.

3. Fix the IT and comms fundamentals

It’s now time to address the technological change required in a Ready Business. Technology is constantly evolving, so the IT and communications facilities installed just a year or two ago may already be falling behind competitors in terms of flexibility and responsiveness.

In the best Ready Businesses, IT and communications strategies are aligned with business strategies. CEOs should work closely with their CIOs to ensure that their systems are delivering in key areas, such as effective management of security and access, information management and protection and monitoring of service levels. Your business will need to cope with ever-increasing data requirements and the security and governance associated with data. It will need to respond to unforeseen vulnerabilities and security threats. And it will need visibility, control and management of resources to inform future IT and communications strategies.

Ready Business should also look to leverage modern integrated communications and exploit the advantages that hosted or managed services have to offer.

4. Choose the right solutions

Keeping up with the pace of technological change isn’t easy. Constantly evolving products and services promise a vast array of benefits, but companies must first understand how these address core business needs before adopting new technologies. Will they help unlock the value of business information? Will they support flexible working and improve employee productivity? And are they going to enable better multi-channel customer engagement?

Any new solution brought into your business should, as a priority, help to increase workforce productivity, improve customer relationships and support collaboration with colleagues, suppliers and partners – the core tenets of a Ready Business.

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