The Characteristics of an Agile Enterprise

BrandPost By Dilshad Simons
Apr 26, 2018
Enterprise Applications

It’s all about software-based products and services created and delivered with speed, quality, and efficiencyrn

Every company wants to be an agile business, able to quickly take advantage of opportunities and stay ahead of customer demands. But for most, this requires fundamental changes in thinking and processes.

For most, agility goes hand in hand with digital transformation and the ability to quickly develop new products and services to meet changing customer needs and get a jump on competitors in pursuing new opportunities.

As they seek to become fleet of foot and more digital, enterprises must create and deliver products and services with speed, quality, and efficiency.

“Every company is now a software company,” writes Andy Oram at O’Reilly Media. “Digital transformation allows even large enterprises to adapt to changes in markets and customers at lightning speed, responding with new products, new processes, and new business models.” But, he adds, “digital transformation doesn’t just require new technology; it requires a new, more agile mindset.”

Organization-wide efforts essential

A 2017 Gatepoint Research survey found that 84% of respondents believe that the capability to respond more quickly to new opportunities will give them a distinct advantage, but only one in 10 executives said they are leveraging the benefits of agile across their whole organization to achieve speed and responsiveness. 

To win in this new environment means delivering value faster than the competition. It’s not enough to implement agile software development in pockets across the enterprise and expect that will fundamentally transform a company.

“The highest level of business agility requires organizing people around the creation of successful outcomes,” asserts CA’s Marla Schimke. “This means connecting agility throughout your organization by breaking down internal silos and forming value-focused teams.”

Neither is agile transformation just a matter of adopting agile technology and methodologies. The agile mindset is just as important in HR and marketing as it is in IT and product development to achieve success as a digital business.

Essential for survival

“Digital transformation has become essential for businesses to survive today,” writes Michael Brenner, the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. “When you really look at it, digital transformation isn’t just another change initiative. It’s the gate that every business must pass through to reach a viable future. You have to digitally transform in order to fit through that gate, evolve from caterpillar to butterfly, from grounded traditional marketing team to unfolding wings in order move through the digital ether.”

Business agility is a company’s way to sense and respond to change proactively and with confidence to deliver business value—faster than the competition—and as a matter of everyday business. “If you want to avoid being disrupted, make sure you’re the disruptor—and the way to become a disruptor is embracing new ways of defining business, enabled by technology (in that order),” advises independent analyst and commentator Joe McKendrick.

An organization in which only a few teams have mastered agile development is unlikely to realize the full benefits of business agility. To thrive as an agile business, it must tie execution to business strategy, develop plans for coordinated scaling, and complete adaptive planning. Only by fully adopting the characteristics of an agile business can businesses hope to compete effectively.

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