Organisations must adapt and change with the times or perish

Sunday December 03 2023

An employer showing her employee a business plan. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK


In the ever-evolving landscape of business and organisations, processes play a pivotal role in ensuring efficiency, compliance, and effectiveness. However, these processes are not immune to becoming outdated or inefficient over time. If processes were developed to address the reality of a time, when the reality changes and the processes don’t change, irrelevance is knocking at the door.

To highlight the importance of regularly auditing and updating processes, let’s explore some real-life case studies where outdated processes proved to be a hindrance and the necessity for a process audit became evident.

A few years ago, a financial institution had implemented a stringent process for cash withdrawals. To withdraw money, customers had to navigate a labyrinth of approvals involving approximately 20 signatories. While this level of caution and governance may seem prudent on the surface, it had significant downsides.

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Initially, this process was introduced to mitigate the risk of fraudulent transactions and ensure accountability. However, as time passed, the organisation failed to reassess the relevance of this stringent approach.

The business landscape had changed, and technology had evolved to provide more secure and efficient means of transaction verification.
The need for a process audit became evident when customers began complaining about the time-consuming and inconvenient cash withdrawal process. Moreover, it became clear that the organisation was losing potential customers to competitors who offered faster and more convenient services.


Upon conducting a thorough process audit, the organisation identified several flaws in the existing system.

Many of the signatories were redundant, and the process was overly complex, causing delays and customer dissatisfaction.

Subsequently, the institution streamlined its cash withdrawal process, reducing the number of required signatories and leveraging modern authentication methods. This not only improved customer satisfaction but also allowed the organisation to reallocate resources to more value-added activities.

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In the world of regulatory compliance, a financial institution had developed a meticulous process for customer due diligence to prevent money laundering and fraud. The process involved extensive documentation, repeated verifications, and a manual review of customer data.

Over time, the regulatory landscape evolved, and new technologies emerged to enhance compliance measures. However, the organisation continued to rely on its outdated process, believing it to be foolproof. It wasn’t until they faced significant fines and penalties due to regulatory violations that they realised the urgent need for a process audit.

The case studies presented here demonstrate that failing to regularly audit and update processes can result in inefficiencies, loss of customers, and even legal consequences. To stay competitive and compliant, organisations must continuously assess the appropriateness of their processes and adapt them to evolving circumstances.

After all, the success of any organisation hinges on its ability to navigate change and ensure that its processes remain fit for purpose.

Wale Akinyemi is the founder of the Street University. Email [email protected]