by Evan Leybourn
Business Agility is a complex topic; from organisation design, adaptive leadership, governance & strategy to agile practices outside IT - it means something different to different organisations. One of the reasons we put on the Business Agility 2017 conference was to explore these topics and bring together leading organisations from around the world. In the leadup to the conference, we're going to showcase some of the companies who are supporting us and explore what business agility means to them.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Jason Bloomberg from Intellyx. Intellyx is the first and only industry analysis, advisory, and training firm focused on agile digital transformation. Intellyx works with enterprise digital professionals to cut through technology buzzwords and connect the dots between the customer and the technology – to provide the vision, the business case, and the architecture for agile digital transformation initiatives.
Let's start at the beginning. What does business agility mean to you?
At Intellyx, we define business agility as the ability to deal quickly and efficiently with change and to leverage change for competitive advantage. Business agility breaks down into three core priorities: responsiveness and resilience, which are the tactical, reactive drivers, and the strategic, proactive driver of innovativeness.
Why is it important that business operates in an agile way?
Businesses must be agile because change is ubiquitous, chaotic, and accelerating. Traditional change management approaches fall short of helping organizations deal with the change facing them today. Instead, they must make change itself a core competency.
What have been some of the biggest benefits you've seen? What has been the response from your clients or customers?
Both responsiveness and resilience lead to broad business benefits, but innovativeness drives the most strategic benefits of all – not simply incremental innovation, but those rare disruptive innovations that define markets.
What are the top 3 indicators that show an organisation is ready to take agile outside IT?
This question is inherently ambiguous – “Agile” in the sense of Agile software methodologies, or “agile” in the sense of business agility? The two are only tenuously connected. Taking Agile as a software development methodology outside IT would suggest we’re turning it into more than a software development methodology. If so, then what does it become?
So what does it become?
Agile is already well on its way to being a set of business practices that extend well beyond software development. After all, being customer-focused, taking an iterative approach in the face of change, and being proactive about quality are good ideas all around. However, it probably doesn’t make sense to keep Agile as a distinct methodology or approach. Over time, Agile will mix with Lean principles, DevOps principles, and other innovative approaches to become something new and different.
What do you see are the biggest obstacles companies face in being agile?
People don’t like change. Given a choice, people would rather keep doing things the same way they always have.
Why should someone come to Business Agility 2017?
I am hoping the audience will gain some critical clarity on the contrast and relationship between Agile and agile!
Anything else that you want to include?
If we realize that the enterprise is a complex adaptive system, then we can consider business agility to be an emergent property of such a system – a property of the system as a whole but not of any component subsystem. The question for any executive looking to make change a core competency in their organization then becomes: what changes must we make among the enterprise’s subsystems (people and technology) to achieve business agility – in other words, how do we make our organizations better able to deal with change and to leverage change for competitive advantage?
Intellyx is the Industry Analyst Partner for the Business Agility Conference in New York City on 23-24 February 2017. Jason Bloomberg himself will be the host and leader for the Innovation Topic. Come and speak to Jason and learn from his insights at the conference. Buy your ticket here.