Yes, agility is still critical to business success, says IDC


Business agility: A businesswoman climbs stairs while talking on her cellphone.

IDC recently surveyed nearly 2,000 IT and business executives on their maturity as it relates to organizational agility. Although the vast majority identified agility as a critical business capability in a digital economy, less than 15% identified as extremely agile.

5 key pillars of agility

Core to the research, sponsored by ServiceNow, was a maturity model that identified five key pillars of agility:

  • Leadership—This relates to the level of support from senior executives for an agile-led strategy. According to the survey, extremely agile organizations were 2.8 times more likely to proactively identify workflows that require more agility and to allocate resources for better outcomes.

  • Structure—The organizational framework should be conducive to agility. Agile leaders were 2.2 times more likely to enable teams to be spontaneously created by employees.

  • Portfolio—The products and services on offer from the organization should be easily adaptable to market conditions. The extremely agile were 4.5 times more likely to adapt very quickly.

  • Process—This is at the heart of making agility actionable. The leaders were 3.2 times more likely to have processes that are fully digital.

  • Architecture—This dimension relates to the ability of the technology estate to support agile efforts. Leaders were 6.8 times more likely to use DevOps and custom software development practices.


Benefits of an agile organization

Higher levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty translate to superior revenue growth and market share gains. Higher levels of employee engagement and the ability to bring new products or services to market fast deliver higher levels of profitability. Agility brings "option value"—the ability to have the option to meet a challenge faster or exploit a competitive advantage more fully.

As I said, process management is what makes agility actionable. The capability centers on workflow automation that can cut across functional boundaries. This capability is enabled by a single workflow platform—a "platform of platforms" that brings diverse data and business logic together. The extremely agile were 3.8 times more likely to have an integrated digital platform with intelligent systems at its core.

I invite you to view the full IDC agility InfoBrief to get more details from the survey results. More importantly, you can take the maturity survey to assess your organization's relative agile maturity. This activity would be a great start to the journey to agility and the ensuing organizational benefits.

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