Maintaining the status quo or doing nothing is no longer an option. The financial world has changed, how we all do business and how we communicate have changed. The expectations of service levels have increased, and yet customer or clients now expect lower fees or some form of added value.
Well-established businesses such as Marks & Spencer, W H Smith and especially law firms have had to adapt to the constant change and challenges to the market place and threats from completely new forms of competitors. Whilst long serving senior staff may have “seen it all before”, they may not be alive to the new challenges, many of which are brought about by new technologies.
Businesses therefore need to know how to transform themselves, not merely “change a bit at the edges”. This starts with a true commitment at the top and often involves a restructuring or change of senior personnel, to bring in new blood and new experiences of a different market place or sector. This can be by way of consultancy advice but usually needs a full time commitment to ensure the transformation is embedded, and that a change of culture takes place.
There will often be a restructuring of IT, HR, Finance, customer service, and revenue management in order to develop a new integrated business model and improved financial and operational performance. Unless this is undertaken by people highly skilled in change communication and stakeholder management then any change programme may be lengthy and costly or possibly fail altogether. It is essential that staff are fully engaged in the change programme and that enhanced training and development programmes are implemented.
Strategic cost management programmes and contract realignment and renegotiations will achieve significant cost savings for IT services (managed networks, outsourcing), licences, hardware, and the management of third party vendors through proper procurement, whilst managed large capital investment programmes including business case development, and return on capital and risk appraisal will ensure that all future expenditure is wisely spent.
This may all seem very daunting but it is simply a matter of planning and ensuring that there is clear performance measurement and management, cost management and risks and asset management to provide the security for the business (and its stakeholders) to survive and thrive in the future.