Agile Business Transformation—External Factors

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The external influencing factors an ABT include customer relationship, business partners, government and regulatory requirements, and the sociocultural environment in which the business exists. These factors are discussed next.


Customer Relationship
ABT impacts the customer relationships of the organization. Through agility, the organization becomes more flexible in its offerings (customer centric). This, in turn, enables the customers to configure their own requirements from the organization. With agility, customers can also be invited to participate in business decision making in terms of product design and service expectation. The transforming organization needs to ensure that it aligns its Agile changes with its customers. For example, if an organization changes the way in which it offers a product, the customers need to be made aware of those changes. An Agile bank offering customers the ability to put together their accounts in different formats that suit them will have to educate and align the customers to such offering. The demographics of the customer also need to be considered in adopting Agility. For example, an elderly population of customers who are dealing with their superannuation accounts may not want all the agility and flexibility that a bank is offering. These customers need to be treated differently from the ones who are comfortable in exclusively dealing online with the organization.


Business Partners
Collaboration and agility are closely related. This collaborative–Agile nature of an organization was discussed in detail in Chapter 6. Adopting Agile, especially in its composite format across the organization, implies a definite impact on the business partners of the organization. For example, the relationship of the organization and its business partners will expand on the basis of the Agile values of trust and honesty. This has relevance to the way in which an organization communicates physically and technically. For example, production schedules of an organization can be exposed to a supplier electronically to reduce inventory. An organization adopting Agile can hardly ever do so in isolation. Business partners are affected by the transformation and, therefore, they need to be taken into confidence in the very early stages of Agile transformation (Sherringham and Unhelkar, 2010b).
Through the communications aspect of information and communication technology (ICT), businesses are invariably dependent on and sensitive to changes in the applications and behavior of their business partners. This is because any change in any business process of an organization has immediate ramifications for the processes of the business partners. Starting right from the ubiquitous spreadsheet used by a small business through to the comprehensive enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions used by large corporations and multinationals, sharing of information with business partners through ICT plays a core role in business decision making. Partners influence every aspect of an organization's marketing, management, growth, and expansion. These business partners demand services, implement new technologies, and upgrade their own business processes as a result of Agile adoption by an organization. Sharing of information with these partners can not only avoid issues relating to process mismatches with them but the partners can themselves provide assistance in enabling a comprehensive Agile transformation (especially if they have adopted the Agile values themselves).


Government Regulatory Factors
Adopting agility at the organizational level requires careful consideration of the legal and regulatory requirements that are usually external to the organization. While Agility promotes collaboration and open communication, there may still be the need to document the interactions from a legal viewpoint. Understanding the regulatory requirements, ongoing changes to legislations across multiple collaborative partners and their regions, and the impact of these legal requirements on the organization are crucial factors in organizational adoption of Agility. Interactions of the organization (especially large and global organizations) with governmental structures may have to be documented in detail—facilitating traceability and audit. Irrespective of the desire of the organization to be Agile, some of these government–business interactions cannot be Agile in the pure sense. A combination of Agile values and corresponding formal documentation is required in dealing with this factor during transformation.


Sociocultural Environment
The sociocultural environment in which the organization exists and operates is immediately affected when Agility is adopted by the organization. Similar to the consideration to the demographics of customers, the social environment of an organization requires due consideration in terms of its acceptability of Agility. For example, a business that deals with selling goods online to a teenage audience will find it relevant to investigate the social media (Albright, 2012) frequented by these potential customers. Agility at the business level will change the way in which goods are sold online. Collaborative Agile, in particular, will expand the reach of the organization to beyond its geographical boundaries. In such cases, a proper study of the sociocultural environment and the way it will be affected by Agility is required as a part of ABT.

Taken from : The Art of Agile Practice: A Composite Approach for Projects and Organizations

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