Data-driven agility

Business agility to established large enterprises is a defence against digital disruption; for the small enterprise, it’s the opportunity to take market share from successful but slow-moving businesses.

With waves of innovation or market adjustments overwhelming more and more industries, the need for fundamental change increases. Acting on these changes or identifying and countering threats will determine success or failure for today’s business.

Of course, identification and acting on opportunities could be seen to fit within existing business processes and methods, but are these existing processes and methods able to deliver in a timely fashion? The engineering derived waterfall management methods are slow and react poorly to frequent or rapid change.

The speed of innovation in today’s terms could be likened to planning a new railway line between two towns, but discovering that it has already been built and providing revenue for your competition before you have even completed your plans. Speed is of the essence. Naturally, cost efficiency is expected along with a working solution or product.

Business agility

So is the answer the agile project management methodology? Partly yes, as it works and it works well.  No doubt some people may counter this, but for those who do, I ask: “Was agile used and restricted by a greater waterfall programme or was the agile team disconnected from the business it was delivering for?” The answer to these problems is to extend the agile ethos beyond its solution delivery use. Herein lies the answer to a multitude of today’s business challenges:

  • Opportunity and threat discovery
  • Keeping pace with digital revolution
  • Making internal or external IT teams cost effective
  • Enabling rapid return on investment.

In the animal world, swiftness to react, ability to change and adapt, and organism efficiency are key elements in evolution. In today’s business, the ability to react, predict, access new markets and agility to change quicker than competitors allow businesses to evolve.

Delivery results are always the basis of success for us as a company and for our customers

Data is an asset

Avoiding any hype around big data, the simple fact is that any business decision made with big implications is best based on sound information. Data that is accessible, timely and of proven quality is crucial to support good decision-making.

Rapid access and delivery of data for analytics, forecasting, planning and performance are needed to support company direction beyond operational management information.

Collaboration is important

Businesses need a method of communicating to teams that deliver the solutions they require to support change. Close proximity and group collaboration need to be structured correctly. Guess what? A team 5,000 miles away usually isn’t the best way of catalysing good communication.

The delivery ethos is vital

Good data, collaboration and agile methods are all good, but ethos and culture that are focused on delivery are vital. It has been said that culture eats strategy for breakfast. Think of this in the context of an IT department or service delivery partner. If deliveries are slow, expensive or always late, it’s almost always the case of the IT department being crippled by outdated procedural control or your delivery partner business model overriding your business requirements. Basically, the ethos is IT governance-based or focused on planning and deploying unnecessarily large teams. Governance is absolutely necessary when it comes to data and security, but when progress is prevented, an agile ethos will quickly identify if the blocker is unnecessary control or actual required governance.

The agile solutions approach

As a company, we have a built-in ethos to help businesses deliver data-driven solutions through guidance and application of our principles on live data-driven business initiatives or through working with IT teams helping them to deploy agile methods on live projects. Delivery results are always the basis of success for us as a company and for our customers.

Our Agile Information Management (AIM) framework helps businesses deploy agility in a number of co-ordinated areas:

  • Use of your data, how you can get the best from it and very importantly how it can be measured for quality and governance applied
  • Rapid architecture selection without endless cycles of trying to predict the direction of technology five years in the future
  • Agile design and delivery teams with the ability to apply continuous innovation and results
  • Efficient specialist resource models focused on results
  • Application of automation for development and machine-learning
  • A collaboration-based agile business framework to apply joint efficiencies to these areas
  • A method of organising and applying the above.

Data-driven business agility – be agile.

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