As people have wished me Happy New Year almost everyone remarked that they hoped it would be a much better year. 2020 was challenging without doubt. However, many organisations made changes and brought forward strategy to improve their chances of success and we saw many remarkable examples of innovation, transformation and agility in strategy.

2021 has started with a further lockdown and, in the UK & Europe, the dawning of Brexit. Leaders have been presented with major challenges already and its only the 5th of January! I’ve read a lot of articles and spoken with many Clients and there are some recurring themes in the areas they are most focussed on. Its going to be a tricky balance of delighting customers through a great experience, cost control, investing in digital transformation and harvesting and using data wherever possible to aid decision-making. At the same time keeping employees happy during a very trying period.

Many companies were already on their digital transformation journey and others started theirs in 2020, but a lot of organisations had to pause their investment. Dirk Martin, CEO of Serviceware noted “Finding the right level of digital transformation by improving service levels while reducing costs will be critical to enable enterprises to grow in challenging times”

Being flexible during such extraordinary times is essential. These really are fast moving and uncertain times. Rob walker, Director at Coeus Consulting remarked “Focusing on demand and being flexible to adjust your strategic aims, during constant periods of uncertainty, should be a key priority for business leaders. You need to be able to adapt to market conditions quicker and make sure you take your people with you,”

Interestingly research firm Forrester believes that those organisations that that invested in cloud-first and platform strategies “could grow their firms up to 3.5 times faster than the average of their peers”. Those companies that invested in a data strategy will now be benefiting from quality data to make more accurate and effective decisions.

Its going to be another interesting year and Leaders will be juggling and balancing many different areas of their business. Ronnie Wilson of Serviceware sums it all up “Cost reduction, market development, innovation, leadership and the application of digital will be crucial”