Business Agility with IT

Much of the IT industry seems to be jumping on the agile software bandwagon (or maybe that should be the Agile software bandwagon). At Black Pepper we recognise the value of most, if not all of the tools in the agilista's kit bag, As you can probably see from our other blogs we're pretty fanatical when it comes to build pipeline, test automation and light management tools, but I guess that's another story.

The point is though that all this agile IT is pretty useless if it doesn't help the business. As a result we should be aiming for Business Agility rather than agile IT. And if agile IT can be a term that is used to mean just about anything you want it to, then business agility is just as easy to spin to whatever message you want.

In fact if you go searching for Business Agility you'll just as likely get stuff on enterprise visibility & streamline provisioning, ESBs, SOA and perversely ERP, plus one company that is called Business Agility, but seems to sell Microsoft software solutions. All of these seem to be somewhat missing the point.

So let's start with a definition, we think...

Business Agility describes how quickly and cost effectively a business can adapt in response to a changing business environment.

It's probably not perfect but good enough to help us think what it might mean. Speed and change are clearly key components, but cost effectiveness is critical. And how can we be cost effective if we can't guarantee predictability, have our sourcing strategy sorted out and stop wasting money on low value, high cost activities. And that's irrespective of whether we are an HR team or and IT team.

Looking at IT it boils down to a few key areas : 1. being able to handle change, whilst remaining cost effective and predictable 2. by becoming a trusted contributor of ideas and services to the business 3. by giving the business back control of its projects so that it can react best 4. by demonstrating how investment in IT is reducing cost, increasing quality and innovating

Great - so now we have a better vocabulary to describe why things feel broken and "what more for less" really looks like. Fixing this all is a tall order maybe, but all eminently do-able. The answers have something to do with the agile IT buzzwords, but not everything !

Anyway - take a look at our Business Agility with IT white paper if you like or contact us directly - we'd love to start a dialogue.

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