The State of Business Agility 2018
Annual survey shows that businesses readily understand the benefits of agile, but that scaling to the enterprise poses challenges.
Every year, we survey leaders across a variety of industries to get a pulse on business agility trends in the enterprise. And each year, we hear similar feedback around the need to respond more quickly to ever-changing opportunities and the desire to gain the necessary knowledge to sense and respond to market change, while ensuring that employees and customers stay engaged.
However, as many practitioners know, that knowledge does not necessarily equate to understanding when it comes to agile practices and mindset. While everyone seems to be talking about agile, businesses are struggling when it comes to implementing or scaling agile across their organization. As a result, some are turning their backs on agility in fear of the investment not panning out long-term.
We scratched our heads with this year’s survey results, especially when we saw what on the surface seemed to be a reversing trend. Sound surprising? Or hit a little too close to home? Check out some of the key trends we identified in this year’s State of Business Agility survey.
Businesses want to be agile and understand the benefits…
Not surprisingly, 73 percent of respondents view agile as a desired state. In fact, 82 percent said it would give them the ability to respond more quickly to new opportunities. The biggest challenges people think they can overcome with agility are related to collaborating and delivering the right products at the right time.
…but they’re still struggling to scale to the enterprise
That being said, businesses struggle with the disparity between different departments’ level of agility. Specifically, we are talking about business groups outside of software and product development. While 46 percent say agile teams exist and 34 percent say entire departments in their organizations are agile, outside of IT and software delivery, these numbers drop significantly. Less than a quarter of respondents consider other departments in their organization to be agile. This is due in part to the constant evolution of business agility as referenced in a previous post.
Waterfall is still a thing (unfortunately)
Businesses are shying away from investing in agile solutions instead reverting back to waterfall planning and development strategies. Only 9 percent of those surveyed said their entire enterprise is moving consistently towards agile and 11 percent of respondents said they are still using waterfall planning and development practices. This isn’t entirely surprising when you consider where we are on the innovation curve. Agile in systems delivery has crossed the chasm into the mainstream, where the audience tends to be risk averse. By the same token, this cross- over is creating new demand for enterprise-wide agility.
What does this mean for business agility? Is agile dead?
No – it’s not. But that doesn’t mean it won’t continue to evolve and change shape. While the business agility market is still immature, it’s making strides in areas outside of IT and development. It comes as no surprise that there’s an inverse relationship between company size and agile adoption (larger organizations tend to struggle more with agile adoption, which is a topic worthy of its own blog post).
What’s important to realize is that it takes time and an adaptive or experimental approach. Adopting, implementing and scaling agile practices across an enterprise is no small feat. Each business comes with its own unique set of challenges, which means that no two approaches are the same. Luckily, we’re here to help when it comes to providing the expertise, services and technology needed to take the next steps in business agility.
Want to learn more? Check out our State of Business Agility eBook for the full scoop.