The road towards resiliency and IT-agility for CIOs.

Globalization, Digitalization, and Automation are transforming the corporate level field. The term ‘Agility’, a term commonly used across organizations of all sizes and industries, has revolutionized the ever-evolving customer and operating environment. Agility translates to quicker repones times.

Nowadays, organizations are even having key agility indicators. In order to measure how quickly they respond to opportunities and threats. In a nutshell, how fast IT delivers required effectiveness and efficiency translates to IT agility. Organizations with higher level of agility have more alignment between business and IT.

How the global pandemic accelerated the need for “IT Agility”?

Organizations had to be agile enough in order to survive the widespread disruptions caused by the pandemic. The ability to scale up or down with fluctuations in demand reinforced CIOs resolve to create an “agility mindset” within their organizations. The world’s most iconic organizations from Dell to IBM and Disney to Microsoft had to speed up their agility during Covid-19.

CIOs had to craft immediate IT strategies to scale resources that would support remote work. Meanwhile, incorporating scalable applications to reallocate excess capacity.  Even though, times are uncertain and definitely challenging, CIOs are the driving force and the face of tomorrow’s innovation engine.

The pandemic was a wakeup call for organizations especially offsetting investing in digital business and long-term resilience with daily operational needs. Indeed, organizational leaders realized the true value of digital channels, products and operations. In the long term, businesses who can most likely shift technology capacity and investments to digital platforms, will be the ones able to mitigate the impact of outbreaks.

Range & Time Agility

Before diving head first in to changing your organizational culture and ripping out ageing servers, let’s look at the two criteria under IT agility and what they are all about.

Before diving head first in to changing your organizational culture and ripping out ageing servers, let’s look at the two criteria under IT agility and what they are all about.

1) Range-Agility

For instance, clearing underutilized hardware, software, or even products and techniques pave a path for in-demand services. This is the core definition of range-agility. i.e., streamlining your processes so it expands your organizational capabilities and services tendered. There are two prime methods to retooling for range agility either internally or externally. If internal, carrying an evaluation of your systems and your capabilities. If external, through partnerships or alliances. Nevertheless, reacting to market changes quickly requires an organization to be ever-ready and equipped. The ability to augment your organization’s services to align with whatever the market dictates represent range agility.

2) Time-Agility

Is it possible for your organization to move from inception to production within the blink of an eye? Or are your subsystems and routines lean and quick? Well, this is just one part of time agility. Whereas, the other half is adjusting, tweaking, and retooling your IT infrastructure quickly.

In an advancing world, trends rise and fall every minute of the day. Therefore, it is of great importance for businesses to market quicker than ever. The more essential it has become today for CIOs to adapt IT systems quick enough to cash in on the ground floor. If you are one of the lucky ones, the higher the chance to get to the right position at the right time.

Time-Agility requires flexibility of IT systems to react to incoming opportunities. Thus, ensuring organizations are equipped to act in smaller windows of opportunity.

How does an organization become agile?

Any organization is not capable of becoming agile overnight. It is essential to understand that change must be implemented as a long-term/iterative process approach. Fist, ensure your organization’s ethos is bent towards effecting change and embracing agility. From that point onwards, having everyone onboard prepared for change is critical. Teams are able to identify specific, realistic goals only when they are assured through deep, explorative conversations of what is driving the desire for change. Thus, an incremental strategy with short-term and long-term goals is key.

Another important aspect to keep in mind for both range and time agility is that implementations should not be limited to only physical (hardware, software, etc.). It should genuinely include project management, portfolio management, enterprise architecture, change management, the rapid adoption of new platforms, and the continuous deployment of platforms.

1) Long-term Strategy is critical

Despite having different approaches to executing plans, the main goal is to remain strategically focused on long-term gains that you can seed now and harvest later. Unfortunately, long-lead opportunities remain unspoken as companies prioritize near-horizon innovation during downturns. But this can be considered a window of opportunity to sprint ahead of competitors especially if there are long-lead investments to be made by the competitor as well after the downturn ends.

2) Strategic Roadmap Review

Having a strategic roadmap review enables you to identify projects with the greatest positive impact and least amount of risk. A well-known approach is an apples-to-apples total cost of ownership exercise for analyzing a project’s relative cost and benefits, comparatively ranking each. You need to be able to re-allocate resources to new projects and be able to kill zombie projects.

3) Established KPI’s

Each project must have clear KPI’s and success metrics. As they will go a long way in bringing the team together to identify barriers to success before, they emerge. Therefore, setting milestones which are reachable within defined time-box periods is important for working in an agile fashion. KPI’s exist so that teams can be accountable for project outcomes, monitoring project TCO and flexible to meet challenges as they arise. In addition, some projects can be experiments or tests, KPIs enable monitoring of project viability, sunk costs, and other factors by categorizing them as go/no-go.

4) Technology-enabled Innovation

During a downturn, investments in strategic upgrades of technology and technology-related processes are common. Since, teams can experiment with tools, fail fast, and measure results quickly from added automation that helps free human resources.

Doing so, increases team productivity as they are able to develop experimentation processes that are more likely to identify failure, hone successes and create business-impacting outcomes faster.

Regardless of whether your organization adopts a DevOps, an agile mindset or another lean approach, always seek to optimize your processes. In turn, optimizing productivity through creation of a safe space to revisit team dynamics and optimize workgroup processes.  This leads to synced teams who are communicating and collaborating healthily while working closely. Establish a lean foundation of been agile, flexible, and open to change. Once your organization keeps this as their true north, you will be able to maintain a spirit and culture of innovation while effectively reacting to change.

Benefits of Increased “IT Agility”


  • Been IT agile accelerates speed to market
  • When you are able to adapt to technologies faster by virtually deploying and managing any application on the cloud or anywhere for that matter, makes you an innovator.
  • Staff can modify, provision, and manage services within minutes through self-service IT. In turn, businesses can provide speedy delivery of services.
  • Protection of data and connections against threats which not only builds customer’s trust but also meets compliance requirements.

In a nutshell, been IT agile means paving the stage for growth and profitability through the ability to deliver applications, meet customer needs, and become more resilient.

Matt Parks

Matt Parks

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