The value of agility in business is clear, but to achieve this, you must take the right approach.

An agile business is able to anticipate market shifts and make operational changes quickly. It can create opportunities, change where appropriate, and deliver value to its customer faster. It’s a company that shares data through enterprise-wide systems integration. A major component of the agile business is modernized technology. This provides data visibility and analysis, which develops sharp reflexes and yields smart decisions across every functional area of the organization.

The people factor in an agile business

While technology plays a significant role, the systems you use are simply tools for building an agile company. They are not what drives agility. The drivers are your people and processes. Even the best technology can’t overcome a weak team and poor processes. A nail gun is faster than a hammer, but merely using it doesn’t make you a master carpenter.

Yes, this is a 180-degree change in thinking from just a few years ago when technology was the very foundation of business operations. At that time software was notoriously inflexible, which wasn’t a problem for standard processes. But every business has proprietary processes that traditional software solutions do not handle well, leaving them with few options.

When such business processes fall into the category of “must keep” a company faces the following choices:

  1. Change the processes to fit the functionality of their current software
  2. Customize their software so they can keep the processes as is
  3. Execute the processes outside of their core systems

None of these options are optimal, yet until recently, companies have been forced to pick what they deem to be the lesser of the evils.

Process and agility

This requirement to make do with a less than optimal technology environment is no longer the case. Companies can now employ process-driven technology, an environment where technology is fit to the processes, rather than the opposite. This one advancement is giving companies the ability to establish and sustain competitive advantage.

The key to an agile business

The speed at which a company can change its processes to take advantage of shifts in the market is a measure of its agility. Companies that make the 180-degree turn, shifting theirs to a well-rounded environment maximizing people, processes, and technology, will not only be in a position to optimize processes today but will assure that they are agile enough to continue to drive the most value from them regardless of how or when the market shifts in the future. Today’s ERP software is ready. You need to ensure your people and process are ready as well.

David Warford

As co-Founder and Managing Partner at KnowledgePath Consulting, Inc. David applies his 30+ years of experience in the technology industry, exceptional leadership skills, and his commitment to honesty and transparency to ensuring client success. He drives customer relationships that span the globe in numerous industries and product categories.