Organizations have one common goal, to deliver higher returns to shareholders. To achieve this, they need to keep up with evolving customer needs and preferences. They also need to satisfy changing employee expectations. In this case, an enterprise looking to scale up needs to move quickly and easily in response to internal or external threats, challenges, and changes in the overall market.
Surviving and thriving in the modern economy will require companies to adapt to the increasing developments in technology and market demands. For this to work, a company will have to seize opportunities and speed up its business process, which can be achieved by engaging and empowering its employees.
Enterprise Agility not only works for companies in the IT and software development industry, but agile organizations from other sectors can also draw inspiration from the core values and principles of agile.
Preparing for Enterprise Agility is the best solution for organisations looking to compete and win in today’s world successfully. It seems through an organisation’s operating model and identifying areas where value can be unlocked. The Agile transformation, though a significant undertaking, yields excellent benefits such as:
- Productivity gains
- Rapid decision-making
- Reduced costs or Cost saving
- Operational performance
- Employee engagement
- Better financial performance
- Boosted customer satisfaction
What is Enterprise Agility?
Enterprise agility allows an organisation to adjust its forecasts and targets quickly and efficiently.
A few organisations have achieved full enterprise Agility. Most companies, depending on the competitive pressure they are facing, will pursue different outcomes. Some will aim to improve customer satisfaction, and others will try and develop employee engagement, while most of them will work towards reduced costs.
By applying Agile principles, small and large companies can identify and unlock value across the entire organisation. It is all about creating a new image for your company to productivity and more robust performance. To achieve and increase enterprise agility, companies need to change five dimensions in their operating-model, and these are:
Here, you will be dealing with the allocation of responsibilities and how workflows in your organisation. In terms of Structure, Preparing for Enterprise Agility demands that you develop a flexible network of empowered employees or teams.
Your team members or employees need to operate in one language, ensuring that they work together with high standards of expertise, transparency, and accountability. There should be a sense of proper alignment and collaboration throughout the entire organization that can benefit you across any potential market conditions.
The organisational structure should consist of a network of small cross-functional team levels of empowered employees with access to information, tools, and mechanisms to continue performing in a changing environment. Besides creating conducive work surroundings, companies can also empower individuals and teams by pushing decision-making downwards.
The quality of communication in an enterprise diminishes with the size of your employees. Your company’s strategic management goals should include breaking down your workforce into a collection of smaller teams (5-11 individuals).
As much as your employees need to be directed and managed, they will be highly engaged and deliver exceptional results if given clear responsibility and authority. This requires creating a working environment that allows them to be at their best. A high-trust environment attracts high-performing talent and enables individuals to achieve their full capabilities.
This dimension of your operating model focuses on your employee’s mindset. In the end, you should come up with a dynamic model that ignites passion in them. To positively influence employee engagement and satisfaction, you must focus on the three aspects of human motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
Autonomy can be achieved by creating small, cross-functional teams. On the other hand, mastery involves the application of knowledge across a wide range of situations. Purpose can be achieved through Concrete tools such as goals, missions, key performance indicators and objectives, and key results (OKRs).
Most Companies have achieved enterprise agility by fostering an ownership mentality and real-time accountability in employees. You will need a workforce that sees your vision, mission, and goals the way you see them. The Employee mentality and company culture can affect the health of your organisation.
Individuals who believe that they are paid to work until five or when there is something in it for them do not run Agile organisation is not run by individuals. It requires a workforce that sees the bigger picture. Employees with an ownership mentality understand that they only win or get rewarded when the company thrives. This calls for a paradigm shift in the ways they think and behave.
Preparing Enterprise Agility is a project on its own. Therefore you will need to work with an Agile team. This cross-functional team usually comprises experts from various fields of work with broad and diverse skills.
Working with highly skilled professionals will ensure that the product development through to end product meets the customer’s expectations and preferences. For agility to take root in an enterprise, there is a need to adapt to change in behaviours and culture—both inside and outside the company. There is also a need for Employee Engagement and Inclusion to ensure that your operations run smoothly.
Transforming the workforce requires a need to address talent and leadership gaps. Going the agile way of changing your workforce requires the anticipation of critical skills that are of great importance in the future.
It is not only about work ethic, responsiveness, teamwork, and how you organise and control your employees. The idea is to create a cohesive community without having to force rules and processes down their throat. Employees should collaborate well across functions.
This methodology involves transforming your business process to foster rapid decision-making and learning cycles. A company can assess its current operations management
Changing your workplace culture to achieve enterprise Agility requires that you do away with working practices that hinder adaptation. On the other hand, you need to embed working cultures that allow your company to change with the rapidly changing world.
For companies to start moving, they need to go beyond traditional transformation. Such organizations should fully embrace an agile mindset. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it easy for multiple organizations to achieve remote working. This sudden change has made them attractive to a diverse workforce, including the younger talent.
According to McKinsey, the health of an entire organization is determined by its management practices and outcomes. Agile companies score high in this type of performance metrics and measures.
Practices that blend well with the agile approach include:
- Creating outcome-oriented job descriptions — focusing on outcome, customer impact and individual roles, and responsibilities
- Investing in customer or user feedback loop— requires taking qualitative and quantitative customer research, conducting usability testing, analysing user behaviour, collecting user feedback, and running experiments to build superior user experience and design
- Creating more generalist and fewer specialists—employee rotation to foster understanding of others’ roles. This helps in role clarity.
- Merging Co-creation and Perfectionist mindset—focusing on craftsmanship and attention to detail while ensuring that customer needs are met.
- Creating a more consensus-oriented work environment.
- Reducing waste—allocating time and resources to activities that add customer value.
The most successful organisations fully understand that work is changing. With organizational agility, they also see the need for developing the workforce and maximising their full potential. This type of change should take place in a new environment, one that promotes the agile shift.
Therefore, preparing for Enterprise Agility to achieve business goals largely depend on how you redesign your workplace. There is also a need to integrate customers and other stakeholders into your operations management plan.
Technology can be a handy tool in achieving Enterprise Agility. It can transform your business process and systems to become faster, more convenient, and more efficient. It involves the integration of IT into the entire enterprise business model.
The advent of digital transformation and cloud technology has helped many businesses achieve flexibility and continuous improvement. Technological advancements that impact business management and operations management foster communication and interaction between employees, prospects, and customers.
Achieving enterprise agility requires that you analyse how trends impact the way work is done in your organisation. The Digital and Automation revolution should be used to foster simplicity, flexibility, and speed to respond to changes and challenges.
Besides operating models, organisations can also drive change that matters with data- and tech-enabled approaches. To remain competitive, there is a need to invest in innovation and technology to reduce operating costs and be up to date with market trends.
In a digital world, technology and innovation are best combined with operations management to boost an organisation’s performance. Companies can exploit digital capabilities by automating routine or repetitive tasks, creating room for productive human intervention. The digital solution applied in the management of operation frees more time, hence reducing unnecessary workloads.
Developing digital products and services is a way organization can achieve good customer experience and reducing costly manual processing. Redesigning the customer journey requires digitalising complex, manual processes to avoid wasting time for consumers, employees, and other stakeholders. Capturing the digital opportunity for operations management uncovers new ways for better performance.
If you are planning for enterprise Agility, then you need to redefine your value proposition. A strategy should close the gap between the current business management trajectory and its aspirations. Reducing such traditional dependencies can help gain a competitive advantage for your team overall.
When it comes to strategy, the leadership team has a significant task of ensuring that all organisation members share a common purpose, vision, and decision; some call it the “North Star”. This enterprise Agility dimension involves senior and top-management teams, who are expected to meet regularly and create a strategy within the surrounding constraints.
Enterprise Agility requires restructuring your strategic management goals to one that aligns budget and values. It comes as a result of shaping your workplace culture to foster change and drive productivity. The strategic management process should aim to keep costs low with best practices while maintaining quality standards.
Senior-management teams need to develop strategies that can beat the competition. There is also a need to evolve how strategic decisions are made. It involves increasing more time for your strategy journey. For some companies, they may need to integrate their financial-planning processes with the strategic-management process.
Strategy development does not end with making decisions. The parties involved need to commit themselves to the new direction. Making directional changes requires installing a rigorous and ongoing strategic management process that can also resolve outstanding critical issues and, at the same time, respond to fundamental environmental changes.
Commitment and discipline are required when converting strategies into actions incorporated into the business management and operations management plans. The leadership team should spend as much time on building strategies as on operating the business.
Customer satisfaction as a Strategy
When planning for Enterprise Agility, customer-centricity should be a priority. Customers should be placed at the core of your business. It entails providing a positive experience at every stage of the customer’s journey. Besides offering good support services, big brands are more focused on creating a culture around customers and their needs or preference.
Focusing on the customer requires collecting a wealth of data about them. Customer data should help you understand their interests, engagement, and buying behaviour. It would be best if you got an insight into what your customer needs and wants. There is also a need for a platform where customers can freely share their perspectives, views, opinions, and thoughts.
It is more about reading and responding to customer feedback, reviews, testimonials, or comments to gather more information for decision-making. Agile organisations rely on data obtained from the customer to employee communication networks or channels to identify problems as soon as they appear. There should also be a major shift in the organisation’s structure and culture for this to work.
Preparing for Enterprise Agility: Conclusion
Scaling a business aims to generate more revenue with low costs, but you may need Enterprise Agility to remain relevant in the market. Most organisations share the same goals, threats, and challenges; hence they all compete for limited opportunities and resources.
An agile organisation can respond fast to external forces making sure that business operations remain uninterrupted. The value of agility is captured by continuous experimentation and customisation. The conventional wisdom behind achieving Enterprise Agility is to improve the whole as supposed to the parts that link together business units and functions. An end-to-end operating model transformation enhances customer service, ensures continuous improvement, and increases capacity while reducing costs.