Friday, September 14, 2007

Defining Business Agility

There has and continues to be a lot of discussion around Business Agility and following is how I would define Business Agility

Business Agility = Business Alignment + IT Flexibility

Business Alignment: Alignment between the various business units
IT Flexibility: Alignment between Business and IT + ability to rapidly deploy new business capability

My observation has been that business is pretty flexible and has the capability to create a new business model effectively, if required (of course under the right leadership). The real challenges are IT's ability to integrating the new business model with the existing infrastructure. My experience has been that adopting SOA enables IT flexible to adapt to these changing business models.

Business Agility could also be defined as:

Business Agility = Business Intuition + IT * (Business Alignment + Flexibility)

Business Intuition: A common sense approach for aligning the various business unit

Business Agility = Business Intuition + IT * (BPM + SOA)

BPM: for aligning IT with the Business (yes! the business defined the business process but it is the business analyst - typically from IT captures this. Very rarely have I seen business actualy use a BPM tool for modeling business processes)
SOA: for providing flexibility


Ashok Kumar said...

I would also include Businesses Primary driver/focus in the mix such as cost, time to market, compliance etc. I like to use an example where Mercedes and Kia Motors are in the same business i.e. Automobile but the definition of their business agility is very different from each other. SOA approach must be tailored to achieve the primary objective of a given business

Ashok Kumar

robertvitello said...

We usually think of business agility as the alacrity with which a business can respond to market forces. You seem to be developing a formula for measuring how responsive the technology organization can be to the enterprise's business objectives. Certainly agile IT is an important component of an agile business, but the issues related to business agility are different from those that must be considered in building IT agility.


Yogish Pai said...

Robert - I agree that this is targeted for the IT audiences and am currently in the process of coming up with a domain model which includes both business and IT.

Spaceman said...

With business agility are you not talking about an organisation that is able to operate in real-time, in all senses? This is particular pertinent to large organisations as opposed to small ones that are inherently agile.

A critical strategy for enterprises over the next decade includes transforming themselves into Real-Time Enterprises: creating an efficient and dynamic unit from an organisation of many departments and individuals that can respond to customers faster, process requests faster and more efficiently to deliver higher and more profitable customer service. Becoming better able to respond to continuously changing business environment and deploy processes, systems and technology that can be changed quickly. In tangible terms, this can mean:

selling more products;
being more responsive to customer demand;
reducing time to market for new products;
carrying lower inventory;
operating within increasing compliance and regulatory frameworks;
managing risk better;
fewer staff;
lower costs;
and ultimately higher profitability.

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