Enterprise Agility: The What, Why and How
Enterprise agility is the latest buzzword doing the rounds in the business world.
The concept of “agile” started with software development and the need for flexible processes but has now taken a much broader form. Many big businesses are trying to be more flexible to change and become more prepared for adapting to the changing market conditions. More and more businesses are striving to undergo a successful agile transformation and for good reason — it delivers solid results.
According to Accenture’s research, truly agile enterprises perform better financially:
Now, if that’s not a reason to go agile, we don’t know what is.
Still, if you need more convincing, consider this:
Agile enterprises not only perform well financially, but also have more motivated employees, satisfied customers, and streamlined processes than regular businesses.
So, if you have not yet considered going agile, it is high time that you think about it.
But, what exactly is enterprise agility and how do you achieve it?
That’s exactly what we’ll cover in this post. You’ll learn:
- What enterprise agility is,
- Why it is vital,
- And how to make your business agile.
Excited to find out more?
Let’s dive right in!
What Is Enterprise Agility?
In simple terms, enterprise agility refers to an organization’s ability to adapt to sudden changes.
The business environment is dynamic and there are things that are beyond anyone’s control. The COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, is a brilliant example of an unforeseen change that no one was prepared for.
Agile enterprises, however, are capable of adapting to the new environment and can deal with changes effectively. They do well in such situations as:
- Market entry of a disruptive competitor with an innovative product or service.
- An abrupt shift in market conditions due to unforeseen events, like a pandemic.
- The rapid adoption of new and innovative technologies that change the way you do business, etc.
Agile enterprises react to these and similar events quickly and efficiently so that they maintain operation stability, keep following their strategic purposes without a fail, and never waste any valuable resources. As a result, they become able to easily attain their various performance objectives and goals, be that superior customer service, increase in sales, a boost in brand awareness, etc.
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Why Is Enterprise Agility Important?
The first and most important reason why you should strive for enterprise agility is that it prepares you for the worst. No matter how the market conditions change, a flexible and agile enterprise can deal with it and come out a winner.
McKinsey conducted a study to find three main benefits of enterprise agility — employee engagement, operational performance, and customer satisfaction. Let’s discuss each of these, one by one:
1. Employee engagement
An agile enterprise has:
- A clear vision, values, and purpose
- Empowered and well-trained employees
- A clear understanding of its target customers
- Non-hierarchical and flexible team structures
Employees that work for such organizations have a clear sense of purpose and understanding of the impact of their work.
Needless to say, such employees are more motivated to do their best as they feel connected to the company and its values. This helps improve productivity and overall business performance.
2. Operational performance
Enterprise agility is also crucial for improving operational performance as prepared and agile organizations show better work results on a day-to-day basis as well.
Agile enterprises perform effectively because they have:
- Well-defined and streamlined processes
- Empowered and motivated employees
- All necessary productivity tools to improve performance
- And more!
3. Customer satisfaction
Agile enterprises not only understand their customers’ needs better, but are also capable of adapting to their changing needs and preferences.
Such enterprises listen to what customers say and change their products, services, and communications accordingly. As a result, they manage to take customer relationships to another level.
How Can You Achieve Enterprise Agility?
Now that you understand why enterprise agility is important, let’s discuss how you can make your organization agile.
For that, you have to make changes across four main areas:
Agile organizations need to have a well-developed sense of purpose and core values. However, they should be flexible enough to change their strategic direction based on current needs.
To achieve enterprise agility you should:
- Define your core values and communicate them frequently to your employees.
- Have a clear vision and purpose, but keep optimizing your short-term goals.
- Clearly define your target customer segment and understand their interests and preferences.
One of the aspects that makes an organization agile is the flexibility of its teams.
Thus, to make your enterprise agile, empower your employees to take on new and exciting challenges. Do not encourage fixed roles and routines. Instead, set the stage for innovation and new ideas.
Also, streamline your decision-making and decentralize it to quickly take action, instead of waiting forever for approvals. The key here is to trust your employees to take on additional responsibilities and make quick decisions when needed.
Technology is one of the most important factors for undergoing an agile transformation.
Therefore, be sure to adapt new technology and tools that make your processes more efficient and help your employees perform better.
Here are some examples of technology that can help you be more responsive and adaptable to changes.
- Artificial intelligence | AI-based tools can enable quick data collection and analysis to fuel business strategy. AI chatbots can help deliver omnichannel, seamless customer experiences round the clock through live chat.
- Marketing automation | There are numerous marketing automation tools that can make your marketing more targeted and efficient. Automated email marketing, for example, can help you send personalized emails to people based on certain triggers.
- Other technologies | From machine learning to process automation, there are a lot of technologies that you can use to optimize your business processes.
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Agile enterprises have streamlined and efficient processes that lead to overall productivity gains and cost-effectiveness.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Find the best ways to perform tasks and set well-defined processes.
- Make sure that everyone understands their role and accountability.
- Automate routine tasks to free up time for more important tasks.
- Use cross-functional teams and use collaboration software to get the best results.
While everyone should understand the processes and their individual responsibilities, there should be scope for continuous improvement.
Foster a culture of growth and innovation to keep optimizing your processes with time.
Ready to Embrace Enterprise Agility?
Enterprise ability is no longer “good to have,” but is becoming a necessity given the ever-changing market conditions. It prepares businesses to deal with the continually changing business environment and take any unexpected challenges head-on.
Before you start your agile transformation, conduct an agile audit to see where you stand and how much you need to do. Then, use this post as your guide to achieving enterprise ability and undergoing successful agile transformation:
- Empower your employees,
- Fine-tune your strategy,
- And improve your processes.
Besides, foster a culture of innovation and creativity in your company to make it more prepared for unforeseen circumstances.
Ready to go for an agile transformation? Get started on it right now!