Implications of an Agile Culture
Recently, I met with many industry analysts, customers, and press at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo. In numerous conversations, I was asked about the organizational implications of changing company culture and how this relates to digital business transformation. As you create a culture of agility (see previous blog), what organizational changes will a more aware, informed, and responsive culture imply (and necessitate)?
To begin, your approach to talent will be more dynamic. You will need to change how you acquire, manage, and retain the types of people required to succeed. Today, this talent isn’t found through traditional channels. Recently, Procter & Gamble received nearly 1 million applications for just 2000 positions. This resume overload is already causing many companies to embrace new models for talent acquisition that depend upon platforms and machine intelligence.
After making the best hire, digitization involves transforming how talent is allocated, a particularly difficult challenge for companies with large distributed workforces. Innovators are leveraging analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to better understand what each person can contribute and how best to team them with others to quickly and effectively solve specific business challenges.
An agile culture also fundamentally changes what it means to be a manager. Rather than overseeing the work of part- and full-time company employees, digital managers must orchestrate a regularly changing mix of contributors who come together as needed. This requires the ability to manage different types of workers, including contractors and vendors with varying skill sets for shorter durations, often tapping into pools of human and technological capital from elsewhere in the business.
Externally, being agile means you will have greater visibility into your company’s supply chain, as well as better situational awareness about the things that impact it. This involves connecting, processing, and analyzing distributed data where it is generated, which Cisco is helping companies do with our Edge Analytics Fabric. With greater intelligence from these capabilities, your traditional supply chain will evolve into a flexible, orchestrated, and more automated ecosystem of companies that can come together and part ways as needed, increasingly on an opportunity-by-opportunity basis.
All of these changes must be underpinned by agile business processes that enable companies to execute faster, even adapting to real-time events and context shifts. In short, agility isn’t just a software development or supply chain discipline—it needs to permeate your resources, business processes, and operating model. As you develop an agile culture, your company will begin to experience the real benefit of digitization—fundamentally changing how you deliver value to customers.
This is only possible when management welcomes and prioritizes change. In my next blog, I will expand on this issue of embracing change and introduce a key transformation concept I call “actionable accountability.”
Keywords: agile, culture, partner, ecosystem, business process, organization, silos, cross-functional, talent, management, collaboration, digital business transformation, hyperawareness, informed decision-making, fast execution