Agility – the ability to move quickly. This literal meaning of agility usually applies to people and animals. It’s a trait that we assign to living things. But there’s a new type of agility that is frequently talked about, one that applies to businesses and companies, aptly termed ‘business agility.’
So, what exactly does it mean? Why are more and more businesses pushing towards becoming agile? And why does it matter at all?
These questions have probably invaded your mind at least once, which is likely why you’re reading this in the first place. And we’ll ensure that your questions are answered so that by the end of this post, you’ll have a clear perspective on the importance of business agility, especially in today’s fast-paced, modern, technologically, and digitally powered market.
What is Business Agility?
Just like its literal definition, business agility, in the most basic sense, refers to the ability of a business to move quickly. Or, to word it better, the ability of a business to think, decide, act, and react quickly. That means an agile business should ideally be able to develop and launch its products and services faster, come up with creative ideas and innovations faster, and react to unforeseen and sudden changes faster.
7 Reasons Why Business Agility is Important
“Why do I need to be agile? Wouldn’t it be better to think carefully, plan in detail, and act? It’s probably not a good idea to rush the project.”
It’s common for business owners to have these types of thoughts when they consider the prospect of transitioning towards an agile system. Add to that the fact that we’ve heard proverbs and sayings like “Slow and steady wins the race.” But times have changed. In the past few decades, the internet happened, technology boomed, and now the world has become mostly digital. Just the last ten years alone have been a rollercoaster ride for businesses. Times were always changing, but now, changes happen fast, sometimes even instantly.
So there are just two options for business – adapt to rapid changes, or get left behind those that do. But that’s not all there is to it. Here are seven massive benefits of business agility for businesses in the modern age to give you more context and a better concept.
React better to changes, obstacles, and unpredictable situations
Not everything can be pre-planned or forecasted in business. Sometimes, you need to take risks or adapt to external factors that are not under your organization’s control. But as we already said, market changes can be extremely rapid nowadays, leaving companies with little time to adjust.
The recent Covid pandemic is a prime example, which forced businesses to either shut down temporarily or switch their operations, products, and services to a digital medium. Those that managed to go digital were able to stay afloat or at least cut-down losses. In fact, some even boomed digitally and adapted wonderfully to a remote work culture. Those who didn’t had to be out of service for months faced dire circumstances.
Agility helps businesses react better to these market changes and sudden, unfavorable, uncontrollable factors.
Starting a business is tough, but keeping the business alive for years is even harder. Many businesses fail to make an impact in this constantly changing, and evolving market and have to shut down after a few years. Ironically, some businesses do so exceptionally well in such a short time or boom suddenly. Still, then they aren’t prepared to scale the company and its products or services just as quickly. Among those that remain standing, very few can grow and generate huge revenue, while most barely break even or have to be content with small profits.
But an agile approach can overcome these issues. Agile businesses are better prepared to scale. Agile teams can generate better strategies faster to perform better in the market. So they have higher chances of surviving in the industry for a long time.
Stability over time
Following the previous point, since agile businesses tend to last longer, they also tend to be more agile. When you start a business, you have limited resources and tougher competition. It takes time, often years, for a startup to completely settle down in the market. The business is most unstable in those few initial years as you try to hold your ground, promote your company, and struggle to increase your revenue. But once businesses overcome that phase, they gradually build a decent customer/client base and achieve stability over the course of a few years.
Since agile methodology can help businesses survive in the long run, such companies tend to become more stable over time.
High-quality products and services that reach the market faster
One of the most significant benefits of agile methodology is that it lays down some necessary principles to create high-quality products and services in a shorter time. The agile process breaks down the product development process into smaller portions, often called ‘iterations’ or ‘sprints.’ It focuses on delivering the Minimum Viable Product as quickly as possible and then further updating and improving the product based on feedback from clients and customers.
So when businesses adapt agile processes and frameworks, they can create high-quality products and launch them faster than their non-agile competitors.
Use market disruption to your advantage
When there is some disruption in the market, businesses often resort to contingency plans, attempts to minimize losses or damage control. But with an agile approach, you can actually turn the disruption into an opportunity and use it to your advantage.
Again, let’s consider an example relating to the Covid pandemic. It was a challenging time for many companies, but at the same time, some businesses embraced the remote culture wonderfully. Such businesses quickly adapted to digital technologies, setting up virtual work spaces and employee management software and systems to coordinate all their employees. Not only did such business sail smoothly during the pandemic, but actually benefited from remote operations. They could let go of their office space and reduce expenses in rent. Employees could save time and money since they didn’t need to commute.
Business agility brings about such a mindset that lets businesses and key stakeholders find opportunities amidst obstacles and actually benefit from market disruptions.
Does agility really matter? Maybe 15-20 years ago, the answer would be ‘no.’ But with how quickly technology, industry, and consumer demand have grown in the past few years, speed and agility have become crucial for modern businesses. So you have to keep up with the times. Moving at your own pace is no longer an option.
That is why business agility is important, and the points above further explain that in detail. Even better, there is a whole industry around agile methodology, so if you want your business to become agile, the best approach is to seek professional assistance from reliable, agile coaches and consultants.