More than half of Fortune 500 CEOs are struggling to keep up in this age of rapid technological change and uncertainty. But if they want their organization—no matter its size or industry—to adapt and thrive, they must take an unflinchingly comprehensive look at how they run their businesses and develop their products and services.
Enter business agility.
Business agility is a way of working that emphasizes iterative planning and delivery, with the customer at the center of every decision. With roots in product and software development, business agility aims to meet business objectives and deliver value early and often.
In a nutshell: business agility enables organizations to better respond to change and manage uncertainty.
It’s about more than technology. It involves looking across the entire organization, from business to technology, funding to real estate. For this reason, it’s designed to be viewed as a transformation—a series of incremental changes, made over time, to result in long-lasting effects. This approach makes it more scalable for large enterprises.
Making business agility—a concept from the startup world—work for large enterprises is challenging. Enterprises are different from startups: they often operate in a highly complex environment, are governed by a multitude of regulations, and are often burdened by complex legacy systems and organizational structures.
Make no mistake: business agility is not easy to implement and it doesn’t happen overnight. That said, when executed correctly, it’s proven to deliver significant value even during times of continuous change.
What it means
Business agility is the ability of a business to deliver improved customer experiences at scale and with speed. To achieve this, businesses need to learn, think, behave, and operate differently.
Our framework is the result of years of experience supporting global enterprises across various industries achieve speed at scale.
While clients have transformed the way their IT functions operate with agility, other corporate functions are doing it too. Sales, Marketing, and Risk have started adopting agile principles, values, and practices. Although this departmental approach to agility is creating business benefits, the results can be better. We call this focus on departmental cost and efficiency over the needs of the customer inside-out thinking.
Business agility flips this around. It challenges traditional management models to deliver the customer’s unmet needs and operates under the principle that growth and profitability are the consequences of better customer experiences. We call this outside-in thinking.
The business agility framework
Deloitte’s business agility framework consists of three components:
- Constructs that frame the underlying business context
- Principles that define how businesses chose to operate
- Domains that outline the specific areas of the business that need to change