Saturday, December 17, 2011

Business Agility and Technology

            Agility is nothing but the ability to rapidly adapt to any change. In this rapidly changing world, the rate of change is accelerating. So if a business does not adapt, there is a high chance that it would die. Apart from just surviving, business agility is also required for gaining a competitive advantage.
            It takes a lot for a business to become agile. One of the ways is to gain efficiency through technology. One of the most classic example of the same is Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart’s IT department has enabled it to integrate its distributed network to a centralized system.  This way they are able to track the necessities of diverse locations as well as better management of integration and interaction of the external and internal resources.

Following are some steps that can help an organization to improvise on their IT growth:

Leadership in technology:
            The initiative of the technology advancement should lie with a person who has the exposure to all the organization rather than the department. This can prove devastating for any organization. The technology mentor must be a person who can incorporate both experiences – businesses as well as technologies.

Think Beyond:
            There is a difference between achieving stability and achieving agility. Most organizations optimize by automating. This helps in standardizing the systems but not in gaining agility. For that the organizations need to be proactive in designing and implementing according to the expected trends. It helps in not just gaining a competitive edge but also in becoming a leader in the market. Technology should penetrate in the organization. Also, a balance is required between the technologies, which provide stability and the ones, which provide agility. The investment decisions should be strategic and futuristic.

           Investing in technology is for sure a strategic move but if the communication between IT and business units breaks, it opens up a gate for other innovative players to enter into the market with a rapid pace. So, to make the most of technology, the business-IT relationship must evolve. Business people often don’t know what they want and IT team at the same time struggles in documenting the business needs. This is where visualization comes into picture. It works across all verticals. At the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, developers embarked on an ambitions five-year project to build their own custom electronic medical record (EMR) system. With former nurses trained to act as business analysts, the center uses iRise to visualize clinician applications, cutting application development time in half. With its goal to make cancer history, M.D. Anderson’s CIO, Dr. Lynn Vogel, Ph.D. says the center sees technology as a way to get there faster.[1] 3D visualization tools should be used to speed up the tasks, lower the risks and improve the quality.

            Apart from concentrating on the technology and relationship between IT and businesses, organizations must also promote innovation at the grass root level. Every employee of the company should be responsible for thinking about the innovative ideas. Google has come up with many ground-breaking ideas through its famous 20% “innovation time off”.

            Also, its not longer enough to simply move forward. The management of the organization should also accelerate the rate of change in accordance to the changing market dynamics.          
Business agility is the new success formula and they should inculcate this formula at the correct pace in order to thrive.



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