Attaining IT Agility Requires Better Visibility

Now more than ever, digital transformation is linked with the very survival of organizations. On average, companies that have undergone digital transformation are 26 percent more profitable than their competitors and have a 12 percent higher market valuation.

For IT, digital transformation should have one key objective: agility.  Harnessing the power of data to drive quicker and better decisions requires comprehensive visibility across your people, process, projects, and technology.

A commitment to IT agility today makes it possible to adapt today and innovate for tomorrow. The path to agile IT innovation requires organizations to overcomes several challenges, all of which can be conquered using IT intelligence.

What is IT agility?

Simply put, IT agility is a measurement of how quickly IT  can respond to business opportunities and threats. Done right, IT agility will transform your IT department into a “dynamic, value-creating, and flexible” part of the business.

Here, it’s important to distinguish between agility and using the agile methodology. “Agile” is an approach to project management and software development that provides tools and techniques for achieving agility. Using agile methodology is one part of achieving IT agility, but it is just one element of it.

True IT agility means that you need to be agile across all aspects of the IT organization, from strategic planning, tactical demand management, build, to operations.

What are the advantages of IT Agility?

  • Higher-quality work. High-performing organizations spend 21 percent less time on unplanned work and rework, as well as 44 percent more time on new work.
  • Greater productivity. Eighty-one percent of companies say that becoming agile has raised their team morale and quickened their delivery speed and time to market.
  • Improved IT processes. Becoming agile tends to reduce your downtime and decrease your failure rates. Forty-nine percent of organizations using agile and DevOps found that they had less application downtime and lower associated costs.
  • Better organizational health. Consulting firm McKinsey & Company found in a survey that all of the companies described as “agile” (only 12 percent of the businesses surveyed) had better organizational health scores than the 80 percent of companies described as slow or average.

The four benefits above only scratch the surface of going agile. Other benefits of business agility include the ability to manage changing priorities, improved visibility and predictability for company projects, alignment of business and IT objectives, and reduction of costs and risks.

How do you measure IT Agility?

Even for those companies that have already gone agile, there still remains a great deal of room for improvement. Only 12 percent of companies using agile report that they have a high level of competency with agile practices across the organization.

With that in mind, how do you measure progress on your journey to IT agility?

  • Service Delivery speed. This goes beyond simply meeting or beating SLA for existing services or how fast you can roll out new services. Although 76 percent of companies agree that service delivery speed is very important, only 24 percent of them would rate their current capabilities in this area as “very good.”
  • Resource efficiency. The effectiveness of IT projects can be measured by the ROI that you achieve. On average, organizations waste $97 million due to poor project performance for every $1 billion that they invest.
  • Change success rate. Being agile means that you roll out changes to applications and infrastructure frequently and reliably. Poor IT performers can have a change failure rate of between 31 and 45 percent, with the end result being long lead times for even small changes.

Analytics blind spots. Many businesses lack visibility into what’s going on within their IT environments, making it impossible to be proactive. For example, a full third of companies have to learn about service interruptions from their customers.

Obstacles on the path to IT agility

Organizations often find that becoming agile isn’t as easy as they expected. Below, we’ll discuss some of the most common challenges that companies face on the road to IT agility.

Internal resistance

Organizational culture can be a critical factor for the success of adopting and scaling agile. Sixty-three percent of businesses practicing agile report that their company culture has had elements that are at odds with the core agile values.

To fix this issue, change your behavior. Institute internal coaches and executive sponsorship, and track your project methodologies with analytics that can help you understand where things can go wrong.

Lack of experience with agile methods

Despite the growing buzz around agile, companies who use it are still a minority. Only 39 percent of organizations say that they use agile methodology “always” or “often.”

Forty-seven percent of companies cite their lack of previous experience with agile methods as a challenge. Even if you have certain agile experts on your team, the organization as a whole likely isn’t experienced with agile.

To fix this issue, train everyone in the organization to use agile so that different teams are working with the same mindset and vocabulary. Leverage analytics to trace issues back to insufficient education, and then adjust your onboarding and training programs accordingly.

Lack of visibility

Different parts of the organization have different needs and objectives. Not only does this keep people in the dark about their colleagues’ motivations, it makes business and IT alignment a significantly greater challenge.

Data-driven IT business analytics solutions such as a system of intelligence can collate, organize, and analyze information from across the organization, giving you more visibility and helping you make better decisions.

Final thoughts

Want to learn more about how your company can achieve IT agility? Jumpstart your journey to becoming an agile organization with our latest eBook, “Visibility to Drive Digital Transformation: Why IT Needs a System of Intelligence.

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