Implementing Agility

Implementing Agility

The rapidly changing marketplace force companies to be more flexible. And as the Business & IT function are more and more integrated it means that both functions need to be able to respond to changing business needs. Being agile means being adaptable, managing change, trying to keep pace with technology and consumers’ ever-evolving needs and desires.

General issues that obstruct organizations to implement agility:

  • Application strategies are not dynamic enough to handle changes in technology, the complex nature of business demands and the unique needs of specific industries.
  • IT organizations find it difficult to use application strategies to help the enterprise reach its goals.
  • When systems, applications are poorly managed, they hinder the performance of day-to-day business activities, prevent the solving of business problems, and limit the ability to compete and innovate.

Beside these general issues the following obsticals are often seen:

  • Companies with major IT Debt (legacy)
    In the past IT debt has mostly been defined as a deferred technical expense. In today’s world it has become a competitive disadvantage, as it is often a blocker to react quickly on the changing business needs.
  • Proceduralized companies
    Although organizations tend to be very agile at start-up stage (being small and often set up to be highly responsive to changing circumstances), they can quickly become more and more proceduralized, slow to act and therefore become rigid over time.

How to solve:

  1. No politics, no blaming, this won’t help….just focus on resolving;
  2. Prioritize with a pace layered system/application strategy, don’t let an ERP or CRM system get in the way of differentiating and innovative applications;
  3. Execute with a high level strategy, start executing with high level requirements, knowing that feedback on each innovation iteration will further shape the concepts/ideas;
  4. Identify areas of opportunity, decouple technical solutions, renew value in past technology (IT Debt) with new user interfaces to streamline or automate inefficient business processes;
  5. Harness the exponential pace of technology, utilize new technologies to make your own technology better, faster, smarter and more adaptive.
  6. Never build anything twice, sharing and re-using application/solution components in a central store assures that time spent building solutions is time spent creating new business value – not reinventing the wheel.

Contact Koornneef IT Consultancy to find out how we together can structure your organization to improve alignment with the business and/or speed up innovation and drive toward better business outcomes.

Agility and Bimodel IT

 Agility and Bimodel IT

Innovation projects look significantly different from traditional application development projects. (Gartner has defined a B-model IT strategy, Bimodal IT: How to Be Digitally Agile Without Making a Mess)
By applying a Bimodal IT strategy in your organization it will help to categorize application/systems based on their value to the business, and therefore determining the right resources (or mode) for development and fast-track strategic business innovation projects.

Bimodel characteristics
Mode 1: Development projects related to commodity of core system maintenance, stability or efficiency. These require highly specialized programmers and traditional, slow moving development cycles. There is little need for business involvement.

Mode 2: Development projects that help differentiate or innovate the business. These require a high degree of business involvement, fast turnaround, and frequent update. Mode 2 requires a rapid path (or IT ‘fast lane’) to transform business ideas into applications.

Bimodal IT and three layers

By separating into two modes, IT teams can ensure that they have the right process, people and technology to support business initiatives without impacting long-term maintenance projects.

 

Contact Koornneef IT Consultancy to find out how we together can structure your organization to improve alignment with the business and/or speed up innovation and drive toward better business outcomes.

Establish alignment by creating a common understanding

IT Alignment

Eliminate uncomfortable business conversations by helping the organization understand how technology will be used to differentiate the business and drive innovation.

Business managers are looking for more flexibility, this is shown in the demand for easy-to-use (cloud based) applications that can be quickly deployed to take advantage of market opportunities or to solve business problems. Meanwhile, the IT organization is striving to standardization by managing a limited set of comprehensive application suites to minimize integration issues, maximize security and reduce IT costs. This seems to be a catch 22 and if these perspectives are not aligned, then they won’t help the organization achieve its goals.

Establish alignment by creating a common understanding
Aligning the business & IT organisation will start with creating a common understanding about the different roles IT (applications/systems) in the business process.

IT (applications/systems) role in business process:

  • Commodity: focus on technical standardization, operational/process highly structured, compliance and cost efficiency
  • Core business: focus on aligning with industry-specific capabilities, optimization of support for business processes, excellent service
  • Differentiation: focus on creating competitive advantage, innovative and flexibel solutions, digitization and rapid app(lication) initiatives

Three layers of IT

Based on the common understanding of the role of IT (applications/systems) in the business process the right decisions can be taken to optimal support the business needs. Have we clustered our IT services scope in line with the role of the business? Did we define the right Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)? Is our organization organized correctly to provide the defined support?  Is the IT service/sourcing contract in line with the expected role?

By using this framework in cooperation with the business organization enables IT to be responsive to differentiated business needs. It is also a powerful translation device to address the persistent gap between IT and the business, because it provides a common, business-oriented language to define and communicate the application strategy. To truly engage, this conversation must happen in business terms and be in the context of the organization’s overall strategy.