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Why Agile is a Strong Method For Business Digital Transformation
Global technology is constantly evolving and as a result this leaves businesses with an important choice: undergo digital transformation, or risk extinction.
Digital transformation is a process of digitizing operations and systems and reshaping the way businesses operate. Organizations must be willing to integrate technology into every aspect of their operation, and find innovative new solutions in order to survive. Overhauling current systems is no simple task, and as technology keeps progressing, the obstacles that you face change as well.
This article explores how Agile has emerged as a strong methodology for driving successful digital transformations. We’ll examine its underlying principles, and how they can empower you and your teams to stay light on your feet as you approach each challenge in the digital age.
What is digital transformation?
Simply put, digital transformation is the process of upgrading existing business models and processes in order to adapt and thrive. As technology advances, it’s important for businesses to keep up.
Integrating digital technology into all areas of a business is a challenge. You’re looking at a large and complex transformation, spanning all departments, systems, and workflows across an entire enterprise. On this scale, transformations often go wrong due to factors like old systems, fragmented data stored in different silos, or issues arising from outdated technology. You’ll need a database warehouse to organize and stay on top of data during the transition.
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Digitally transforming a business involves upgrading legacy systems and manual processes to digital equivalents, automating tasks, and driving productivity. But it’s more than this.
Successful firms do not view digital transformation as the enemy: they see it as an ally. Leaning into the change, they continually strive toward innovation and adapt to market demand over and over again.
A strong methodology is needed for success. We would recommend an approach which prioritizes adaptability over rigidity, as digital transformations require flexibility. Enter: Agile Project Management.
What is Agile?
Agility is defined as the ability to move quickly and easily. The same idea underpins the Agile methodology.
Agile is a collaborative approach to project management, with roots in the software development industry.
Before agile came to be, the waterfall model was considered the gold standard for software development. This traditional approach involved extensive upfront documentation before making any action.
In a business, speed and flexibility are crucial. The rigidity of the waterfall method meant that making changes was a slow and expensive process.
The waterfall method has been largely left behind, as its rigidity meant changes were often slow and expensive to enact.
An alternative was proposed in 2001 with the agile manifesto. A group of software developers advocated for a new framework which would allow for constant changes and revisions, rather than strict adherence to a plan.
The manifesto laid out four key principles of the agile methodology:
These principles have grown in popularity in the decades since, being adopted by various industries to reshape their company culture and realize business goals.
Benefits of Agile in digital transformation
Agile offers several advantages which make it a strong method for digital transformation. Think of traditional approaches as a straight forward flowchart from which you are not allowed to deviate. In contrast, Agile workflows are more like a loop, with room for adjusting to feedback each time around.
1. Agile allows for experimentation
With traditional approaches to digital transformation, it seems like failure is punished. You must come up with a single solution and stick to it.
But, in a fast-paced world of ever evolving technologies, this approach does not make sense. Further tech advances will disrupt the best laid plans. When you’re working to Agile guidelines, these disruptions do not have to be obstacles - they can be starting points for new ideas.
Agile is about experimenting, trying, failing, and improving. Mistakes are inevitable in the process of digital transformation. Embrace the opportunities for innovation - whether that means branching out into domain ae, or revolutionizing your approach to data storage, or something else entirely.
2. Agile is responsive to customer feedback
Agile is a customer-centric process, which matters because customer service is crucial in any digital transformation. With agile, working products are delivered to customers in short time frames. Then, the customers give feedback on the features. This feedback is key to informing business decisions in the immediate future.
As a result, you can ensure that your digital transformations are actually in line with your customers’ needs and preferences. Moreover, having access to strategy resources that align with customer feedback can provide valuable insights into shaping your digital transformation roadmap.
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3. Agile teams are more productive
Agile values cross-functional collaboration and communication between departments - resulting in a more cohesive work effort across the whole organization. When everyone knows what they’re working towards and what their allocated tasks are, it is easier to pull off large, complex projects.
When undertaking a task like digital transformation, a driven and effective team like this is essential. While you shouldn’t micromanage, do make sure that everyone is on the same page about the big picture. Big data visualization tools can be helpful here, helping to align everyone effectively. These tools can provide clear and intuitive insights, making complex data more understandable and aiding informed decision-making throughout the digital transformation journey.
4. Agile workplaces are more flexible
The traditional waterfall model is notoriously inflexible. Once the decision-makers have set the plan, there’s little room for back peddling. Employees must meet top-down requirements and forced deadlines.
In contrast, Agile divides processes into smaller increments. Large tasks like digital transformation are broken down into manageable increments and allocated to suitable teams and employees. Team members must discuss and agree on new goals going forward. With a data streaming tool, you can automate this process, building pipelines and streamlining the workload using the tools your employees already know.
Agile proves itself to be a strong and effective methodology for business transformations due to its adaptive nature, emphasis on collaboration, and flexibility. By adopting this model, your business can drive innovation, better meet customer demand, and position itself for success in a competitive and ever-changing landscape.
Remember, it’s not just a straightforward methodology. Handling digital transformations, with Agile’s guiding principles in mind, requires a significant shift in your organization’s culture. You cannot simply follow Agile: you, yourself, must be agile.