What does that mean?
From our perspective, it means your business has the ability to change quickly when competitive pressures, new opportunities, or other factors demand it. Business agility speaks to your company’s ability to change the structure, business model, capabilities, skills, competencies, elements of your IT environment, or all of the above quickly enough that you maximize the benefit or minimize the impact that a given situation is presenting. Many companies understand this conceptually but still struggle with operationalizing and planning for change.
Here are some key practices to implement to get on the path to business agility:
- The company leadership must fully embrace the idea that elements of their business will change.
- Recognize that everything is part of the enterprise and interdependent. It isn’t sufficient to create business solutions by narrowing project scope into siloes or have an exclusive focus on the delivery of individual solutions.
- Some changes are small and tactical, some are large, longer-term, strategic, and transformational. Don’t sacrifice long-term at the altar of the short-term. Stay balanced.
- There is more to agility than doing things fast – you must proactively plan and architect your business to enable further change and adapt quickly.
- Identify the foundational elements of your business – the big rocks. The interdependencies between the moving parts must be understood and documented in order to evaluate the impact of potential change to assets, processes, information, data, solutions, technology, etc.
- Having some idea of the range of potential change provides guardrails. It is critical to understand internal and external trends in business, industry, skills, and technology and their potential impact across a multi-year planning horizon
- Identify those scenarios that might drive some elements to change and the degrees of change needed to prepare for them.
- Identify the existing obstacles to change and develop a plan for remediation.
Overall, this represents 3 core concepts for Business Agility:
- Understand what you have, its health, and viability (where you are)
- Understand the range of probable near, medium, and long-term change and its implications (what might need to change)
- Prepare an adaptive, core foundation that not only inoculates you against potential change but also provides opens paths to the future (remove inhibitors to change and install enablers)
For further analysis, complete the Business Agility Test that we developed in partnership with IT Ally, and schedule a time to discuss your results with you.