‘Agility’ can boost UK plc profits, says Gartner

More ‘agile’ businesses can respond better to tough economic times and increase workforce productivity, according to ‘An Agile Age’ by analyst Gartner and BT.

The report, which interviewed senior business and technology executives at 250 companies in the UK, said investments in “agile” technologies would result in a 4.8% increase in employee productivity, adding £4.3bn to UK Plc profits.

And nine out of ten of the executives interviewed said IT will play a ‘vital’ role in improving agility.

Chris Boyd, director at Gartner, said ‘agile’ technologies include those that give better visibility of the supply chain and increased access to information for suppliers and customers.

‘It is about looking into the supply chain and making it more efficient, and there is a very strong focus on customer relationship management,’ he said.

‘Extended channels, including wireless access and mobility, allow more connectivity with the enterprise and the ability to collaborate. It is about the ability for customers to access your business when they want and how they want.’

The finance sector is the leading area through things like automating cheque and mortgage application processing, according to the report.

‘It frees up staff and allows them to reduce the cost base,’ said Boyd.

The report cites EasyJet and Tesco as leading examples of ‘agile’ organisations.

‘By re-engineering the distribution chain and pushing sales online, EasyJet cuts out the costs of sales intermediaries. The airline further reduces costs by issuing e-tickets over email, thereby avoiding the need to issue, distribute, process and reconcile millions of tickets each year,’ it said.

Improvements with customer information at Tesco has reduced lost sales on promotions by 33% and reduced promotion overhead and waste by 30%, according to the report, while wireless technologies have also increased the productivity of warehouse staff and improved accuracy of warehouse to store deliveries.

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