Blog Feed Post

Business Agility: The Digital Age Imperative

Over the last few years, most business executives had a startling revelation: everything is changing.

The business world has, of course, been in a continuous state of evolution. The way we do business today looks starkly different than how we did business in 1990, let alone 1950 or earlier. Still, while the mechanics of how we work and the tools and the technology we use may have changed, the fundamentals of the way organizations operate has remained mostly static.

The transition to the digital age, however, promises to turn everything upside down — and the evidence of that eventuality is now clear and obvious. As this realization dawns on executives, they now seek capabilities that will help them cope with the uncertainty and disruption that the digital age has wrought.

Determining which capabilities and strategies will help organizations survive disruption and thrive in the digital age, however, is difficult when everything is in a continuous state of change. This uncertainty is why the most important capability is business agility.

Understanding Agility

The problem with saying that an organization must build agility as a capability is that it sounds obvious, but is non-prescriptive. How do you actually go about creating business agility?

At Intellyx, we believe that business agility is the combination of the ability to innovate, the ability to adapt and the ability to respond to shifts in the market. These three characteristics intersect and address both structural and cultural elements that an organization must address to create agility.

An organization must develop all three characteristics. Focusing on only one or developing one out of proportion to the others will lead to organizational dysfunction rather than agility. The development of these three characteristics, however, requires that organizations break through their natural inertia and shift their culture to one that embraces continual change.

This shift, however, is often extremely difficult and becomes the great inhibitor of business agility. Organizations must, therefore, identify ways to break through this inertia and compel their teams to explore new ways of operating.

As I explained in a recent white paper entitled, The Innovation Map: How to Create Disruptive Innovation in a Complex Digital World, one of the most important ways of doing this is by unabashedly exposing the inner workings of the organization’s operating model.

In the paper, I showed that it is not a lack of creativity that stifles innovation, but rather fear, vagueness, and ambiguity. When employees do not understand how things work in their entirety, they hesitate to step forward and expose themselves by suggesting new ideas or by even asking the hard questions.

I further explained that by clearly and openly exposing the underlying operating business processes and operating model of the organization, in combination with a clear executive mandate to challenge the status quo, organizations can alleviate this fear and ambiguity and open the door to creativity and innovation.

Innovation: The Difference Between Disruptor or Disrupted

All three agility characteristics are equally important. When it comes to innovation, however, the real challenge is that organizations fall short of its true meaning and instead settle for only incremental and evolutionary change that creates no advantage.

The ability to innovate is critical because it is often the difference between being the disruptor or the disrupted. Every organization is now in a race to create some form of competitive advantage to thrive in the post-industrial age economy. The most sustainable way of achieving that goal is via a business or technical innovation that creates a defensible barrier to competition.

The need to move beyond incremental improvement and to create real innovation is why the elimination of fear and ambiguity is so critical. The more uncertain and fearful the employees, the less likely they are to imagine entirely new ways of operating or completely new solutions. But failing to do so will inhibit the very innovation that is necessary to move the organization forward.

The Intellyx Take

Business agility is the new business imperative. The transition into the digital age has thrust every industry into a time in which not only do the old rules no longer apply, but in which things such as size and physical assets transform from strengths to liabilities.

Business executives are realizing that they must transform their organizations from the inside out and create a culture of innovation to stave off disruption and remain relevant in the digital age.

Doing so will demand an upending of almost every aspect of the business and operating model. The executives that will be the most successful in leading this effort will be those who unflinchingly expose the reality of their current state, dare their organizations to challenge everything and give them the freedom to imagine a new future.

For more on this topic, watch the on-demand webinar Delivering Innovation in a Complex Digital World

Copyright © Intellyx LLC. Promapp is an Intellyx client. Intellyx retains full editorial control over the content of this paper.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise. As president of Intellyx, Mr. Bloomberg brings his years of thought leadership in the areas of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, and Service-Oriented Architecture to a global clientele of business executives, architects, software vendors, and Cloud service providers looking to achieve technology-enabled business agility across their organizations and for their customers. His latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution (John Wiley & Sons, 2013), sets the stage for Mr. Bloomberg’s groundbreaking Agile Architecture vision.

Mr. Bloomberg is perhaps best known for his twelve years at ZapThink, where he created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) SOA course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, the leading SOA advisory and analysis firm, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011. He now runs the successor to the LZA program, the Bloomberg Agile Architecture Course, around the world.

Mr. Bloomberg is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer. He has published over 500 articles, spoken at over 300 conferences, Webinars, and other events, and has been quoted in the press over 1,400 times as the leading expert on agile approaches to architecture in the enterprise.

Mr. Bloomberg’s previous book, Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, 2006, coauthored with Ron Schmelzer), is recognized as the leading business book on Service Orientation. He also co-authored the books XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996).

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting).

Latest Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
Companies are harnessing data in ways we once associated with science fiction. Analysts have access to a plethora of visualization and reporting tools, but considering the vast amount of data businesses collect and limitations of CPUs, end users are forced to design their structures and systems with limitations. Until now. As the cloud toolkit to analyze data has evolved, GPUs have stepped in to massively parallel SQL, visualization and machine learning.
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...