How to make your business 'fit for the future'

Get ‘fit for the future’ and make sustainability a priority; your future success depends on it

Attitudes towards sustainability have changed dramatically over the past few years. With climate change becoming increasingly evident, businesses have been forced to acknowledge their role and reduce their impact on the environment without passing the costs onto their customers.

Vodafone has conducted in-depth research into Fit for the Future (FFTF) organisations — those that have withstood the pressure of disruptive technology, global crises, and unruly market conditions to flourish and outperform their peers over the past two years.As the demand for sustainable practises from consumers and investors grows, FFTF businesses are responding by adopting practises that keeps the environment in mind. And they're seeing the benefits.In fact, the research shows that 82% of businesses agree sustainability is a strategic goal, and more than half believe environmental sustainability will provide lots of opportunities to differentiate from competitors. Proving that sustainability goals are not only beneficial for the planet but are also better for business.

Unlocking value from sustainability

As a result of a study examining how financial performance is related to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices, an organisation has a 36% greater probability of outperforming its competitors financially if it has an FFTF score that’s higher by 10 pointsFFTF scores are calculated based on a number of elements, including how well the organisation is positioned to anticipate and adapt to change, and how well it deals with uncertainty in order to achieve sustainable growth. Higher FFTF scores are also associated with more positive ESG practices.By measuring and monitoring the relationship between their ESG goals and practises and their financial performance, organisations can improve their ability to compete in today's fast-paced environment. As such, they can strengthen their commitment to ESG principles, as well as create an environment where employees are more motivated to focus on achieving competitive advantage through innovation.

Delivering a superior customer experience

Digital technology is the engine that drives this economy, and businesses that fail to grasp its opportunities risk being left behind. Many enterprises have already started capitalising on these opportunities and are reaping the benefits from doing so.75% of organisations say their customers expect digital interaction anytime, anywhere, and 44% say mobile sites help increase sales. Customers are also putting pressure on brands to be sustainable. In fact, more than two thirds (69%) of businesses claim their customers expect them to take an ethical stance on social issues.With a large demand for digital services and sustainability, it comes as no surprise that FFTF organisations are leading the pack in these areas. 39% of FFTF businesses agree that being sustainable is absolutely necessary for the organisation to operate.This is compared to just 21% of all other businesses that said the same thing. On top of this, 51% of FFTF businesses plan on increasing their spend on ESG and corporate social responsibility in the next year. This shows FFTF organisations are not only more aware of their customers’ expectations, but that they are also highly committed to meeting them

FFTF businesses are taking a leadership position in the marketplace

Fit for the Future businesses are more confident in their ability to use technology, they’re quicker to respond to upcoming trends and faster to market than their competitors, and this includes monitoring their carbon footprint. But how can an FFTF business be defined?

A positive attitude towards change

Change is an opportunity, and they are looking forward to the future.

An open mind toward new technologies

Technology is an integral part of their business strategy.

Plans for implementing technology

Several roadmaps are in place that outline how technology can revolutionise their business practices.

A detailed strategy

Documented, specific, funded, and measured business strategies are in place for the future.

Aware of emerging trends

The company strives to understand the factors that shape its business. They also receive assistance from key thought leaders.

Ability to adapt

Their ability to respond quickly to upcoming trends or challenges allows them to be quicker to market than other businesses.

Become future-ready

The pandemic brought a lot of uncertainty to the world. But it also created an opportunity for businesses to rethink their approach to digital transformation and become more future-fit. With the characteristics mentioned above, FFTF businesses were more than prepared when it came to the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, changing employee expectations, increased competition and talent shortages.

Researchers surveyed more than 2,000 global businesses and found that 89% of future-ready firms had a clear digital transformation roadmap, compared to 60% of businesses in general

This means that business leaders are now taking a strategic approach to transforming their organisations—they’re prioritising digital investments through a long-term business plan that includes a defined set of goals and objectives. Due to their proactive approach, they can adapt quickly as new opportunities arise or unexpected challenges present themselves – becoming Fit for the Future.

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