How can CIOs achieve IT Agility throughout the enterprise

The road to resiliency towards achieving IT Agility simply cannot be executed over a long weekend. Since, it is not one of those “quick Projects”, IT agility requires an entire shift in the company’s ethos and thinking.

The shift in the mindset of the entire organization will ensure that everyone is on board with this change. Creating common ground across hierarchical levels is time-consuming but rewarding. The first step is to develop a specific plan to outline short-term and long-term strategic goals. A solid outlook demonstrating the direction of the organization’s systems will paint a clear picture. If you have a clear vision of where you want your systems to go, it will be much easier to choose the appropriate opportunities that will get you there when they arise.

To begin developing this plan, the company must first consider some of the key factors that are driving the application of agility in the first place:

• Are systems inextricably linked and resistant to change?

• Are deployment timelines hampered by testing complexities and integration dependencies?

Transformation needs to begin with processes

Finding out what is motivating the change will aid in making goals that are specific and relevant. True, becoming more agile may appear to be a lengthy process requiring a complete overhaul of the system, but the overarching goal of every effort should be keeping things as simple as possible.

For the most part, re-purposing well-designed components and systems will be a quick and consistent way to cover the various problem spaces. However, rigidity in IT infrastructure will always be a stumbling block—the digital age cannot wait for traditional approaches to acquiring and provisioning underlying components to support software. Migration to the cloud, infrastructure automation, Continuous Integration (CI) /Continuous Delivery (CD) technologies, and site reliability engineering (SRE) practices can all help developers get the flexibility and self-service capability they need to get the infrastructure they need on demand.

Top 6 learning points for CIO’s when transforming

1) Set a North Star:

According to an end of year (EY) survey, “73% of executives agree that properly integrated goal setting can help companies navigate today’s turbulent environment. Therefore, ensure everyone knows the bigger purpose of the company. The purpose is to set up a “North Star” for navigating rapidly changing problem areas. Finally, developing your corporate’s intranet to reflect your goals in every action, from strategic strategies to day-to-day decisions.

2) Goals and Accountability:

Establish and communicate final goals and set indicators of accountability. Getting there is the most important thing-it’s not the way to get the job done. Agility emphasizes interaction with individuals through processes and tools, thus removing annoying controls that suppress the skills of the person closest to the problem. Gives employees the freedom to be creative in order to achieve their set goals. It tracks all metrics and provides a dashboard to promote transparency.

3) Obliterate bureaucratic decision-making:

Matters can no longer be run up and down the chain of command, as it is simply a waste of resources and time. Excess control is expected to cost U.S. companies $3-trillion/year – that`s 17% of GDP! (HBR). Thus, flatter the organization the better. Ensure your crew is aware the purpose, the goals, and the responsibility metrics…then believe them to perform the goal. Promote inner social media to hurry conversation and enhance transparency.

4) Make your culture right:

The accelerating changes in today’s business disrupt the best management behavior. Build a culture based on trust, self-determination, customer attachment, innovation, data-driven decision making, and informed risk taking. View failure as a learning opportunity and help each individual do their best. Use in-house social media to improve collaboration and connect silos. Enable crowdsourcing to generate innovative ideas. Provides analysis using internal and external

5) Engage you employees in the change:

What is your ability to detect the changes that are coming? Of course, if you can predict future breakthrough opportunities, you will have a great advantage. Use your internal social network to engage your entire employee in investigating hard and soft trends and what they mean for your company. Encourage your employees to take part in advice to the startup community and building networks outside the industry.

6) Minimize fixed costs:

You can increase your agility by discarding anything that does not bring direct value to your bottom line. This means that companies have to seriously consider all fixed costs and make difficult decisions. Start thinking like a startup. Instead of hiring so many full-time employees, take advantage of the gig economy. Consider working with other companies to provide non-core skills … or outsourcing different areas of the company (IT, accounting, marketing, talent, etc.) to your business. Consider also servicing other companies. As a CIO, you can take a pioneering role.

3 Factors In Achieving IT Agility for CIO’s

1. A hybrid cloud is a mixture of local resources, private clouds, and public cloud services such as AWS and Microsoft Azure, which may coordinate and manage workloads among them. Some hybrid clouds are primarily used  for applications, while others also include infrastructure. The advantage of  hybrid clouds is high availability and the ability to handle very high levels of interactivity with little impact on performance.

2.Managing a multi-cloud environment is complex. Managing resource pools of local and various cloud resources is a challenge. Multi-cloud management solutions greatly simplify management by  automating application delivery, managing workloads, and providing a single centralized platform for optimizing the entire infrastructure.

3. Finally, IT agility requires secure global connections. Where security used to be an afterthought in infrastructures and application development, it`s now a critical component. But security and performance is a balancing act. The connections customers use to access your applications must be encrypted to protect sensitive information while maintaining the same flexibility and reliability as the cloud environment itself.

The terminology may be complicated, but these models provide companies with the accuracy to provide business services efficiently and effectively. No matter what you call it, using multiple clouds will not go away. By 2021, Gartner predicts that more than half of the global companies currently using the cloud will pursue an all-in-cloud strategy. It certainly requires a complex ecosystem and corresponding management skills.

Business and IT integration as the ultimate alignment to achieve agility.

Business users need to be directly involved and want to participate in IT and actually have a say, rather than waiting for the tedious process of the entire silo in a demand-oriented model. Collaboration and integration of business and IT in interdisciplinary teams seems inevitable. The introduction of agility makes changes a core feature and reduces the efficiency of bundling activities in task-focused departments or positions. In order to be able to respond quickly, an agile team consisting of all disciplines will be introduced to bring the change from IT ideas to production. The company is responsible for these teams. As a result, IT is being drawn towards the business with the introduction of voluntary interdisciplinary teams.

Agility is an idea, not a switch. IT agility isn’t just about adopting new strategic plans and development methods. To reach your goals and get one step closer to a company’s complete  digital transformation, you need to completely rethink your IT organization. Efforts to get started with agile IT aren’t easy, but many companies see improvements as soon as the process begins. Initial changes free resources. In short, IT can  better support  digital transformation and improve further development. There is a direct link between  agile IT and  the increase in time to value for a company (time from initial request to delivery).

IT agility is  no longer a wave of the future, but it is an urgent task. Are you ready? We support your organization with an overall change program to make your company more flexible and adaptable. We’ve got you covered with online-based research and interviews which can help assess agility in today’s enterprises and define the implications of agility for enterprises. Where do you want to go in the future? Why do you have to change at all? Which external trends and forces are threatening your status quo? 

Matt Parks

Matt Parks

About the Author: President & CEO, Matt has over 20 years building and leading high functioning teams
delivering exceptional results