Four ways to provide Saudi companies with “resilience” during a year of instability

Various concepts were raised in the years before the Corona pandemic, where the word “easy change” was commonly mentioned in all business technology conferences. We had an imperative need to realize this simplified concept of the process of change to be compatible with the changing world by its very nature. We can say that “change is the sure thing”.

Today, all the speakers who previously emphasized the importance of adaptability and agility in meeting challenges are proven right, or at least more correct. It makes sense that companies have enough capacity to change because we live in a world that is as unpredictable as before. Factors such as the pandemic, pandemics, geopolitical conflict, trade wars, supplier confusion and chaos, climate change, the future of the planet and how to deal with sustainability issues remain strong challenges for business. Yes, these are very big challenges.

I prefer to use the term “agility”, which is close to the term “soft change” but more accurate, and I can identify four specific areas that provide maximum flexibility for corporate solutions that will support and motivate their businesses to survive and thrive.

Flexible subscription licenses

With a few exceptions, there was a clear unanimous trend towards a subscription licensing system as the preferred method of payment for the provision of software services. Enterprise software solutions used to be semi-uniform to one-size-fits-all: you as a user pay the subscription fee upfront for overcapacity solutions and then pay for the same capacity in exchange for annual maintenance support. The result: poor value for the buyer, no correlation between use and price paid, and a policy to limit use of the same product that makes it difficult to move away from the current supplier. But with a subscription system, you now pay for each service requested: based on consumption rate and without any penalties for limitation or overuse. This system provides considerable value to the CFO of the company and also the ability to experiment with ideas and projects with minimal risk because they can be quickly disposed of or closed depending on the risk ratio.

Cloud Computing Infrastructure Flexibility

It makes sense to align the operations of IT environments with today’s unpredictable environment and hybrid business system. It started before the pandemic, and we have already seen a clear acceleration in the use of public and private cloud computing applications. This is partly because cloud computing solutions support remote working mechanisms, as well as collaboration with Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and remote support. Cloud computing services usually run parallel to the subscription prices, the benefits of which we have already discussed. Similarly, some companies use cloud computing platforms with the goal of escalating promotions or other offers based on real-time analytics that help identify opportunities and initiate quick actions. It’s a good bet that using hybrid cloud computing approaches that cover the foundations of whatever the future of business is in the short to medium term will be the best solution. Cloud computing solutions are quick to set up, easy to internationalize and expand, and can also be removed easily. It is the perfect example of IT architecture that meets business needs.

Flexibility of the workforce

For many, if not most, companies operating in the knowledge economy will continue to take a hybrid computing approach even as the pandemic becomes somewhat less dire and urgent. However, it is difficult to know exactly how this happened. Some companies are seeing an increase in the number of employees working in offices a few days a week (mostly Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays), but we don’t know what work patterns will emerge. There are challenges to this, but there are also opportunities because we have a once-in-a-lifetime advantage to build a new world of business systems. We need people working from places where they feel comfortable, motivated and balanced and we need to find new ways to unleash their productive collaboration. This will include new employee behaviors, updated designs for new offices and knowledge management for new teamwork systems. All this can motivate us to feel freer work, away from the existing systems and the daily commute to work, which may suddenly seem irrational or unnecessary.

Administrative leadership flexibility

Corporate managers have always had to lead change and create the desired culture of business growth and development, but today it is in some ways more difficult than it used to be. A CEO cannot just say, “This is our vision for next year,” let alone the next five years. Instead of selling a fixed vision, they should share the experiences and knowledge of adapting to change. It is not easy to promote it, but it is necessary that everyone knows that the change will be in the lifestyle for some time. Retailers don’t know there is a demand for returns to complete their high street shopping, and hospitality companies can’t be sure what their audience wants. We all need to be humble and listen to the fallout of what the coronavirus pandemic has done to us and what it has driven to change human behavior. Leaders will have to plan, of course, but they will also have to live with the need to frequently correct course. There are a few in different fields that exhibit the behavior of “break resistance”, whether intentional or not. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote in his book “Against Breakage”: “Trauma is useful for some issues and things. It can flourish and grow when exposed to fluctuations, randomness, turbulence and pressure. It is like an adventurous case in love with uncertainty and walk the ropes… The resistance to breaking goes beyond flexibility. Or strength. The desire to resist is the resistance to shock and keep it the same; the resistance to breaking improves.”

And so we all look to the future, only confident that, as the mathematician John Allen Paulus wrote, “uncertainty is the proof of the existence of certainty.” This is a fact we feel today, and it is as it was in the time of Heraclitus. But as long as we are sufficiently able to adapt and be flexible with our situations, we will be done with it.

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