Agile business transformations and how they capture your customers' attention.

Posted on 29 Jun 2021

Agility is the number one differentiator between one-time wonders and consistent winners – the difference between Andy Roddick and Roger Federer if you will. Winners keep re-inventing themselves, they keep coming back, there is no keeping them out of the race. They won’t rest till they win, every time they want to compete. And they are hungry.

What is agility?

In simple words, agility is the ability to bounce back as a better version of oneself. In Seth Godin’s words (paraphrasing): Marketing is the process of creating better versions of your customers. Connecting the two, agility can be the act of using marketing to create a better version of a brand.

Agile marketing 

If you feel the word marketing is one dimensional, it is probably because you are not considering the technological component. For instance, you might not be introduced to the assortment of benefits that a full marketing technology (Mar-Tech) stack can offer. With the intervention of AI and data driven Mar-Tech, Marketing becomes a better version of itself: Agile Marketing!

Theoretical vs Practical versions of Agility

While the earlier definitions were all correct in their own right, the practical version of agility is even simpler: being customer centric. That’s the long and short of it! If your marketing is customer centric, you will ensure that you meet the expectations of your customer. And how will you do that? By employing the full marketing technology stack, by investing in AI based, data driven, agile marketing as opposed to the age-old conventional version of it. The same applies to Operations, Sales, Human Resource Management, whichever function you are an integral part of!

Implementing agility in your organization 

There are two types of agility that any organization needs to implement:
1. Enterprise agility
2. Team agility

The Agility Cluster if you can call it that is represented below: (chart courtesy: Deloitte)

Enterprise Agility  

Any transformation at an enterprise level requires a three-pronged approach:

1. Organizational design

Increased accountability is EXACTLY what the doctor ordered! It doesn’t matter if you are a day old or a decade old, increase in accountability is directly proportional to the growth in revenue and subsequently, the growth of the brand.

A flat organizational structure would provide you the leeway to delegate responsibilities and increase accountability. If the Maslow’s Hierarchy chart (yes, yes, it’s OLD!) is any indication, self-actualization is the best reward and accountability is the modern version of self-actualization.

2. Operating model and alignment

The Agile Operational Model is implemented in 3 stages:
a. End to end integration of technology across all functions
b. Need based scaling whenever one or more function requires it
c. Developing business use cases to serve your customer better

3. Agile Dev-Ops Model

The Dev-Ops agile model is also implemented in 3 stages:
a. Productizing knowledge and distributing to every function to build capabilities
b. Automating workflow
c. Integration of Dev and Ops functions

Team Agility

Agile teams are capable of handling change and any challenges that arise due to factors that are usually not under control. You build agile teams by

1. Training

Contextualized training which is very close to real-world scenarios is extremely important to shape a team which can be agile to match the enterprise agility created through models discussed earlier.

2. Team process and practices

This is again a 3-point program:

a. Scrum adoption
b. Setting agile standards
c. Need based agile engineering

3. Coaching

-Appoint hands-on agile coaches
-Identify impediments and agile transformation leaders
-Have frequent ‘coach the coach’ programs

The main focus areas for the holistic agile development programs:

1. Marketing
2. Business
3. Servicing
4. Business Operations

You should have three capsules or stages of implementation:

1. Basic agility – completion of one of the team/enterprise agile models proposed
2. Business agility – completion of both the agile models proposed
3. Scaled agility – starting the second cycle of implementation based on changes or growth required

The agile way forward

The agile way forward is to be always on the lookout for a better solution for your customer. In other words, to iterate and never be content with an existing solution even if it is yours.