Áine Logan, Associate Director, Business Consulting

Aine Logan
Aine Logan

“The whole way that we do business, that we live and that we have grown accustomed to in the industrial age, will have to be changed. We will have to leave that behind us in the next 30 years and we have to come to completely new value chains.” Chancellor Angela Merkel (World Economic Forum, DAVOS, 24 Jan 2020).

I would imagine this quote resonates with many of us, not least local businesses and financial institutions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The market landscape has been evolving at pace over the past ten years or so.

This pace of change marks a challenge for every business. Driven by evolving customer expectations and a developing regulatory and competitive landscape, change management has become a constant feature for businesses. This poses a question: How do organisations create bandwidth to implement necessary required changes, whilst building capacity for the ‘non-essential’ innovations that will add true value and create a competitive edge?

Every business needs to keep moving forward. That includes being responsive to customer needs and adapting to a digital world. As new technology emerges, customer expectation has grown to include digital access to goods and services, on a round-the-clock basis. Anecdotal evidence suggests the COVID-19 pandemic expedited this online transition by almost eight years.

The full macro-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are still emerging, and as economic supports begin to fade away, business budgets may come under pressure to ‘do more with less’. Businesses must use their finite resources effectively to get the right skills in place to exploit and access emerging opportunities to enable cost savings and valuation creation activity.

The environmental, sustainability, and political landscape will continue to influence how businesses operate in the future. As the demand for change increases, businesses are under increasing pressure to keep up. Resources are limited, and with many prescribed change programmes, organisations find themselves under pressure to initiate non-essential changes.

Going forward there will be a major operational shift across organisations’ value chains, work patterns and supply chains, to name but a few, which have all been impacted over the past year. Streamlined, effective operations, underpinned by robust, future-looking technology and digital tools will prove vital for an effective transition as we emerge from the pandemic.

Businesses must ask themselves: How do we survive in a way that is personal, timely, and of value? How do we simplify our operational activities to stay ahead of change and develop sustainable enterprises? What change must we deployed first to stay in the game?

To address these questions, organisations must first consider how they manage and keep up with the pace of change, and how true innovation can set them apart. Once understood, change agendas can be prioritised effectively to develop a sustainable, future-looking work environment.

For further information or advice, Áine Logan can be contacted at

Grant Thornton (NI) LLP specialises in audit, tax and advisory services.