Achieving Business Agility through ConvergenceBy Faisal Hoque | Posted 2010-04-20 Print
Conventional wisdom says large, established companies cannot be agile. That's not the case.
The word “agility” is often used to describe small, nimble startups that are unencumbered by massive corporate hierarchies with multiple procedural layers, legacy products and expectations. People seem to think that only companies that capture the attention of an adoring public – whether the latest social media network, new and improved search engine, or revolutionary newcomer to the scene - are representative of what it means to use agility to create and expand a business.
Conventional wisdom says that the old guard of Corporate America can be neither innovative nor agile. In other words, a multinational conglomerate cannot change once it’s achieved a certain critical mass.
This is far from the truth.
By developing an environment in which strategic exploration and business agility occur, a critical link is built in establishing and sustaining an organization’s strategic position. Agile organizations have the processes and structures that allow them to know what is going on internally and externally, as well as the mechanisms to act on that knowledge rapidly.
To remain competitive, organizations must plan intelligently, make the most efficient use of available resources, and take quick, effective action. However, the key to thriving is being able to identify, understand and respond to accelerating change and disruption as it happens. Companies must find new ways to streamline business activities to eliminate redundancy or costly exceptions, while creating higher value. Leading companies have mastered the ability to reduce costs, despite the fact that the cost of doing business continues to rise, by increasing their ability to respond and adapt to frequently changing business conditions.
Oftentimes, the right response at the right time can be the key to a company gaining an edge over its competition. Previous BTM Research supports this position through findings that identify agility as that ‘right response’, and illustrating that the ability to be agile is the difference between taking advantage of change as opposed to falling victim to it. The findings show that these companies are agile because they have converged their management of business and technology. Organizational constructs, processes, and management behaviors drive business agility, and as a result, lead to improved financial performance.
Traditional business practices of the past did not stress the need for agility and innovation. Such terms were rarely viewed as necessary in the day-to-day operations or success of an organization. But today, business runs quite differently than it did in the landscape of the past. Boundaries no longer exist – we now play on a global field, where unforeseen changes, not only in the marketplace but also in your competitors, can spring up at any time. Both agility and innovation are necessary to the growth and survival of an organization. Constant change is the new dynamic of the global economy, and makes agility even more necessary than at any point in business history.
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