I dedicated a recent blog post on the definition of the word “agility,” and for good reason. Finding ways for your business, and the analytics it runs on, to become and remain agile, even at global scale, is no small task; but the payoff is huge in terms of gaining competitive advantage in existing markets and leveraging new ones. I’ve written a lot on the Sentient Enterprise journey to become more agile over time, but some of you have asked to learn more on how to assess a company’s current level of agility. It’s an important question, since an accurate picture of where you are today is also your starting point for making things better tomorrow. So here are a few tips I’d like to share for working up a good baseline assessment on agility.
Conduct an Independent Agility Audit
I’ve written before on the importance of asking the right questions so you can pinpoint where the hurdles and opportunities lie. A “warts and all” checklist that looks at how you handle data, product development, funding, project management and other operations is a crucial first step in getting your organization primed for an agility makeover.
As you might guess, however, the navel gazing usually doesn’t go well when it’s done solely from within the company. That’s why I recommend you invest in an agility audit by an outside party – with no biases or political ties to your company – to help establish an independent, baseline assessment of how agile your analytics operations and processes currently are. The audit should be thorough and company-wide, with resulting collateral like presentations, trainings and a road map for change that includes future steps toward agility.
Build a Realistic “Hit List” of Existing Needs and Short Term Wins
Regardless of whether you do it yourself or get outside help, make sure to work up an itemized and prioritized backlog of current issues and tasks that need addressing. Your list should include some early wins – changes that can be made quickly and fairly easily – along with areas in need of more far reaching transitions that may require months or even years to implement. This process can help you uncover and socialize the practices and areas where your company is agile, and highlight those areas where agility lags.