In 2023, businesses recognize the need to be resilient. With the global disruptions we’ve faced over the last few years, and continuing disruptions and instabilities, the need for organizational resilience has never been clearer.

By building resiliency, organizations can adapt to changing circumstances, maintain stability and minimize damage from unexpected events. This, in turn, can improve business continuity, reduce risk and enhance the organization’s ability to sustain its operations over the long term.

Executives understand that their ability to be strong leaders is largely determined by their ability to navigate disruption. But do executives and company leaders know how to become more resilient?

While everyone else is talking about resiliency, SAS decided to study it.

The Resiliency Rules study

In our study of what makes an organization resilient, we interviewed executives worldwide. In the first phase of our research, our team talked one-on-one with leaders in Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, UK and US.

Next, we created a custom survey to get additional executive input. Over 2,000 senior executives working full time within various industries completed the survey.

The report uncovered a key theme among executives: 97% believe resiliency is important for success, but less than half feel that their organizations are resilient.

Notably, however, executives reported high confidence about shrinking the resiliency gap – if they have appropriate guidance and resources.

So to help close the gap, we would like to provide some guidelines. Based on the results of our research, we compiled five key rules to guide executives.

Here are The Resiliency Rules for any organization:

  1. Curiosity: Encourage exploration.
  2. Data culture and literacy: Instill analytics everywhere.
  3. Equity and responsibility: Ensure fairness.
  4. Innovation: Create a better world.
  5. Speed and agility: Respond with quick shifts.

I encourage you to read the full report to dive into each rule. There’s helpful research and tips on implementing the rules in your organization. I’ll focus on my favorite tradition: speed and agility.

I’ll share why speed and agility are important to my work as an executive, as well as some of my thoughts on improving speed and agility with data and analytics.

Why speed and agility are crucial for resilience

In my work, speed and agility have been crucial to enabling resilience in the Analytics R&D department.

Today’s organizations are fast-paced and constantly evolving. Speed, agility and innovation are crucial for success in the tech industry. Without cultivating speed and agility, it’s easy to fall behind.

There are three main reasons to focus on increasing speed and agility in your organization.

First, you’ll improve customer satisfaction. Customers today expect rapid responses and fast delivery of products and services. An organization that can deliver on these expectations is more likely to gain customer loyalty and trust, ultimately leading to increased sales and revenue.

Second, you’ll increase efficiency. An agile organization can quickly adapt its processes and operations to maximize efficiency and reduce waste. This can lead to cost savings, increased productivity and improved profitability.

Third, speed and agility improve talent retention. Talented and ambitious employees are often drawn to organizations that offer fast-paced, dynamic work environments. An agile organization that values innovation, creativity and flexibility is more likely to attract and retain top talent.

Finally, an agile organization is better positioned to innovate. Executives who participated in our survey marked innovation as the top area of their organizations that needs help and investment. By fostering a culture of experimentation, risk-taking and continuous learning, an organization can generate new ideas and stay ahead of the curve. This can result in new products, services and business models.

Becoming more resilient with data and analytics

Of the executives surveyed, 68% reported that the primary way they’re working to increase speed and agility in their organizations is through data and analytics. While I might be a bit biased as the Vice President of Analytics R&D at an analytics company, I think this is the right move. For any executive working to make their organization more resilient with analytics, there are a few key things I’d like to share.

In my experience, when you’re aiming to implement analytics to make your business more agile, the most important thing is to start with a specific business question in mind. What information are you missing right now? What data will help you make better decisions?

The next question to ask is about data availability and applicability of data. Do I have the right data available today to address the business question?

Once you know what you’re trying to solve and if you have the data to solve it, you’ll need a tool to help make it happen. An integrated AI platform is critical to your business strategy. When evaluating integrated AI platforms, you want to find one that will help you focus on the problem rather than something that will become an expensive computer science project.

One of the key things to consider is the level of automation available and the speed of the modeling engines in your AI platform. In the cloud computing world, speed and performance equate to money. Since you pay for cloud space by use, having a faster AI platform that uses less cloud space will help control costs and increase revenue. This is why my team at SAS invests so much in improving the run times of our modeling engines. We believe it will result in tangible savings for our customers.

Finally, if you want your AI platform to increase speed and agility in your organization, it’s crucial that it integrates with your operational system. Some people refer to this as ModelOps, and it is a key functionality you should seek. Otherwise, more technology may inadvertently hinder your speed instead of improving it.

Analytics can dramatically improve the speed and agility of your organization. With a straightforward question, the right data and the right analytics tool, your organization can make important decisions accurately the first time. By saving time and being able to plan more accurately, you’ll set up your organization for an exponential increase in resiliency.

The Resiliency Index

In the face of ongoing business disruptions, an emphasis on resiliency is no longer optional for executives. We must intentionally and strategically prepare our organizations for handling disruption.

While predicting every disruption is impossible, creating a culture of resiliency in your organization is possible. Then when issues inevitably arise, you’ll be better prepared to navigate them.

If you’re an executive or leader, the Resiliency Rules report will help you consider various ways to create a culture of resilience.

Additionally, if you’re unsure where you or your organization stand with resilience currently, I encourage you to use our free Resiliency Index. Answer a few self-evaluation questions to find out your current level of resilience. It should only take about five minutes, and we’ll give customized suggestions for increasing resiliency in your organization.

As the Resiliency Rules report states, “If you’re not changing, you’re not growing.” Amidst a rapidly changing economic and business landscape, resiliency is the key to growing a successful organization.

I hope these resources are helpful for you as you work to increase resiliency in your organization and prepare to outpace tomorrow.


About Author

Udo Sglavo

Vice President, Applied AI and Modeling R&D, SAS

Udo leads Applied Artificial Intelligence and Modeling Research and Development at SAS. With a 25-year track record of fostering technology innovation and excellence, Udo heads a team of expert developers and data scientists dedicated to pioneering cutting-edge software and leveraging advanced models to transform the way the world works. By imagining and building the next generation of AI-driven models and software solutions, Udo helps organizations harness the power of data and analytics to solve their toughest  business challenges and outpace the world around them.​ Udo’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of what AI can achieve has earned him recognition as a global thought leader shaping the future of technology. In addition, Udo has written three publications and holds four patents in advanced analytics.

1 Comment

  1. In my experience model runtime has an exponential effect on productivity. If a model takes more than a minute or two, the user faces a world of distractions (answer an "important" email, grab a coffee, re-orient to a report). Lower runtime * more iterations= fewer rabbit holes = exponentially better team performance.

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