Why modern businesses need to embrace agile across their organizations

New survey highlights how businesses compete in the 21st century.

In the early 90s, the term “modern business practices” frequently meant implementing ‘Just-in-Time’ delivery systems. Around the turn of the century, it meant developing and fine-tuning an online presence and then attracting customers to it. A few years later it meant automating your salesforce, embracing mobile and leveraging social media. That’s the thing about modern business practices – in order to be “modern,” they continuously evolve.

Today, when I think of modern business practices, I think about three key components, all of which deliver a solid a competitive advantage:

1) Having comprehensive visibility across your business.

2) Transforming that visibility into real-time data to make intelligent decisions about how the business should use its limited resources.

3) Streamlining the business so that products are developed and delivered to market faster.

I believe it’s fair to say that implementing modern business practices today basically translates into implementing what’s commonly referred to as “business agility.” 

Why are these organizations striving for business agility? Because they’re looking for improved quality, faster delivery of value, reduced development costs and increased customer satisfaction. In fact, a new survey just released by CA Technologies, “Business Agility throughout the Enterprise,” respondents expect Business Agility to deliver:

  • Better competitive advantage (54 percent of respondents)
  • Higher customer satisfaction and retention (65 percent of respondents)
  • Increased employee productivity and retention (58 percent of respondents)
  • Reduced costs (57 percent of respondents)
  • Faster time to act on new opportunities (84 percent of respondents)

 

Why business agility now?

Agility enables the right people to access the right information at the right time. Business agility is recognized and appreciated for the benefits it can provide. As organizations continue to incorporate agile methodologies and practices across the enterprise, they will see marked improvements in their business. Improved business agility was cited by respondents as key to reducing fire-drills (51%), improving process efficiency (47%) and increasing cross functional visibility (47%). Additional benefits in collaboration, customer impact and experience, and alignment across planning and investment were also identified in the survey.

Business agility is more than buzzwords

Once an organization has decided to start their agile journey they do not need to go it alone. We have seen many “agile” teams do great things in companies but if they are working in silos they cannot truly impact the business. If the goal is to simply placate senior management with agile talking points for the next board meeting, then buy a tool, install it and move on. But if you want to be impactful – if you want to transform your business – look first for a partner with the experience and know-how that can assist you in leveraging agile technologies to their fullest potential across your entire organization.

That may sound cliché, but I can assure you that buying and implementing a tool at best leads to mediocrity and at worst ends in failure. Look for a provider that has demonstrated success in agile implementations inside companies similar to your own. A partner that can coach your organization on how to transform initiatives with agile-led efficiency and assist every step of the way, with technology, consulting, education and training.

 

All agile solutions are not created equal

Once you have the right partner to guide you and leverage agile for a serious competitive advantage – even against those competitors already using some degree of agile — then look for key product features that correspond to the modern business practices described above:

 

  • Does this solution provide the 360-degree visibility necessary to understand exactly where each initiative stands — both on its own and in relation to other initiatives?
  • Does this solution provide real-time data to make intelligent, insightful decisions about how the business should use limited resources?
  • Does this solution streamline the business so products are developed and delivered to market faster?

 

If the solution doesn’t offer 360-degree visibility into your initiatives, and through that visibility, deliver truly advantageous business intelligence, you’re talking to the wrong partner. If the solution is built around processes rather than people, again – wrong partner. You need something people will willingly use because they see the value in it.

Success in the modern world requires that companies quickly sense and respond to change addressing market disruption and customer needs, and do so at scale. This will enable organizations to speed up performance and beat their competition in the 21st century and beyond.

To learn more about the findings of this survey, visit “The State of Business Agility.


As the Head of Product Marketing for Agile Central at CA Technologies, Marla brings more…

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