If you ask any business leader whether they’d prefer that their organization be thought of as ‘slow moving’ or ‘agile’, most would respond with ‘agile’ as their preference. Those that don’t respond in the affirmative toward agility are most likely running a dying business or are just out of sync with their industry and their organization.
While everyone most likely knows what agility means, let me take as second to define the term and set the stage for the discussion. One of the most common definitions of agility is “nimbleness” or “the power of moving quickly and easily.”
With that definition in mind, think about your own business. Is your business agile? Are you nimble? Does your CEO or top leadership talk about agility or push for an agile mindset in everything you do? If not, you might want to start talking to your leadership team about the importance of agility for businesses today.
I’m not going to dive into why businesses must be agile today. I’ll leave that to the likes of Forrester, McKinsey and others. I will only say that I truly believe that every organization must incorporate the idea of ‘agility’ into their culture to be successful long-term. There’s just too much disruption happening in every industry to not be willing and able to quickly and efficiently make decisions and change direction to meet these disruptive forces.
At the heart of every organization’s move to be a more agile business is the IT group. In order for the organization to be agile, the IT group must approach everything they do with agility at the front of their minds.
In order to make decisions quickly, all areas and levels of the business needs access to data and information about the business in ways that makes it easy to consume and use. For many companies, this concept requires a change in thinking from the ‘old’ way of only allowing data to be accessible via specialized IT analysts to allowing access to just about anyone in the organization.
In addition to information accessibility, an agile business needs agility within the data center, which has always been a complex and structured environment. I’ve written about the Agile Data Center previously but I’ll reiterate that building agile data center doesn’t mean a complete rebuild with new systems or new people but it does require a changing of the mindset. Processes need to be rebuilt to remove slow moving (and often bureaucratic) thinking and replace them with agile client-focused processes that help the business move quickly and effectively.
An agile business requires an IT group that is just as agile as the business. Agility hasn’t always been the forte of CIO’s and IT groups in the past but the future of the IT group depends on the ability to transform into an efficient, nimble part of the business.