5 Bottlenecks to Business Agility, and How to Avoid Them

BrandPost By Smartsheet
May 16, 2018
IT Leadership

A work execution platform can help unstick the sticky spots—and help create a truly agile organization.

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Credit: Shutterstock

Let’s imagine that your organization is made out of clay. Can you re-shape it to respond to changing business needs, or has it hardened into a state where any change causes it to crack or break? Agility is essential for quickly responding to changes coming from both inside and outside the organization. Without agility, you’re stuck with rigid skills, tools, and processes that will likely break — not flex and transform — when pressure is applied. Unfortunately, many businesses still fall short of being agile because of logistical, technical, or human shortcomings.

Here’s how a work execution platform—designed to plan, capture, manage, automate, and report on work—can address five key bottlenecks that often prevent IT and business leaders from creating organizational agility.

Bottleneck #1:  Ineffectively managed “unstructured” work—According to Gartner, approximately 60% of today’s work is unstructured: ad hoc, one-off tasks that require interpretation, sound judgement, and expertise. Historically, this type of work has been managed using a combination of email, spreadsheets, whiteboards, phone calls, and in-person meetings. Applications such as ticketing, ERP, or CRM systems have also come into play, but they’re far too rigid for managing unstructured work. A work execution platform solves by this by increasing real-time collaboration across the organization, eliminating information silos that slow decision-making, and y providing more control and visibility into the work being done.

Bottleneck #2: Low-code tools—To maximize agility, business users need technology solutions they can configure and modify on their own. Yet today, many enterprise systems still require IT to implement and manage. Even tools that focus on the business user typically require some coding knowledge to incorporate business logic for workflows, integrate data from third-party systems, and adapt to changing business needs. What’s more, these “low code” tools are not accessible to the vast majority of knowledge workers. A work execution platform allows any business user who identifies a trouble spot to create powerful solutions—like automated workflows—without writing a single line of code, creating complex formulas, or asking for help from IT.

Bottleneck #3:  Data overload—Big data has ushered in an era of  decision-making based on hard data and advanced analytics. But it’s also given many companies too much data—or the wrong data at any given time. Work execution platforms can provide data dashboards designed to channel data directly to the business leads who make the decisions. And with an automated feed of real-time data, business leaders can automatically receive up-to-date and error-free data.

Bottleneck #4:  Complex processes—Business Process Management (BPM) solutions have traditionally been used to help tame complex processes, but in many cases, they are a costly and unwieldy solution that smacks of overkill. With a work execution platform, you can automate many of those same processes, without concern for the additional complexity of a full-blown BPM solution. And employees can take a more surgical and informed approach toward automating some of the more repetitive and transactional tasks, freeing up more of their time to focus on the work that matters.

Bottleneck #5: Inability to scale projects and processes—Traditional work-tracking and management tools like spreadsheets were never designed for truly collaborative work. As a result, when a project scales, users lose control of and visibility into the work being done. Project tracking becomes a complex endeavor, collaboration becomes far more onerous =, and agility and innovation are lost in the mix. A work management platform provides a centralized location to work collectively, share digital content deliverables, and  automate business processes. Processes and projects can remain agile and not break as they scale.

Finally, don’t forget the human element. You can have the tools, team, and processes in place, but realizing their potential often means stepping out of the way. Read more: Want to increase Team Throughput? Stop Being the Bottleneck