The Agile Context- Surrounding Customers with Digital Breakthroughs
For the last ten years, the idea of “Digital Transformation” has animated business and technology circles around the world. The notion is simple- replacing analog and inefficient products and processes with digital products and processes will usher in a new era of agility, performance, and engagement. The idea is a powerful one and has taken root everywhere it has gone. Of course, as with all such grand notions, execution matters and on that score, the jury is still out. I argue that the reason that a vast divergence exists between idea and execution is the matter of context. Put simply, specifics matter and static, parachutist solutions don’t meet the needs of complex organizations, whether SMBs or Enterprises. For the sake of phraseology, we’ll coin the term “Agile Context” to point us on the right path.
Its worth at the outset to recite a few truisms: First, IT and Business are approaching a singularity. Most modern organizations have an IT-based chassis; second, speed of engagement, of action and reaction, is critical to success in a complex, competitive world; third, data access, assimilation and the resultant actions are the lifeblood of any organization.
These three factors suggest strongly that the idea of Digital Transformation cannot be seen as an outside “thing” to be grudgingly taken in but, instead, must be seen as a massive overhaul of even the elemental parts of the organization. Put simply, it is not sensible to think of an organization as made up of modern, IT-drenched pieces and analog, “traditional” pieces. Machines work when the gears are locked and in harmony. These three factors also suggest that the speed with which an organization can imbibe and act on timely and contextual data is the speed with which they’ll be successful. Or not.
All of this points to agility as the watchword. How can we take calcified processes and cultures and reinvigorate them? How can we loosen outdated methods and rip them from their core? How can we allow employees to work and act with autonomy as they conduct the work that makes the organization productive? How can we truly create a digital nerve-center on which everything the organization does is based?
This is the challenge before us. The Agile Context is the methodology that must be understood to embark on this journey.
Key to this is the idea of constant transformation. The phrase might seem redundant, but it implies this idea that Digital Transformation has to be a self-correcting and self-amending endeavor. After all, there is a virtual guarantee that today’s agility will be tomorrow’s slothfulness. A great Digital Transformation journey has to be self-guessing. A great Digital Transformation journey must itself not become a dogma, just as the “traditional” ways became. Again, key to this is the constant invocation of The Agile Context.
The hundreds of customer journeys we’ve helped craft and curate have taught us a deeply humbling lesson- the only frameworks that work are dynamic; they will render their own findings obsolete in ten years. The Agile Context therefore must be incorporated into the organizational body as if it were simply part of its skeleton.
Digital breakthroughs happen every day. New vistas are opened, and new ideas and processes birthed. The road to making them successful runs through The Agile Context.