Six dimensions of the agile enterprise

What leading companies are doing

Thought leadership

Where leaders are winning with enterprise agility

When you think about what allows organizations to adapt quickly to customer or market-driven change, you likely think of integrated IT systems. But that’s not what top agile performers say gives them an edge.

In our latest survey, we asked 646 enterprises from North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific for information on six different dimensions of the agile organization. Our goal was to identify what works to achieve and maintain a highly agile state.

We found that the biggest benefits of agility come primarily from two dimensions that help organizations adapt more quickly in the face of change:

  1. Agile planning and performance management: Top agile companies allocate funds based on rapid and iterative prioritization rather than long-term planning alone.
  2. Talent strategy and planning: These companies also make it a point to focus on individuals who are adaptive to change, risk, and have skills needed for end-to-end ownership of value delivery.

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Test your knowledge: The six dimensions of the agile enterprise

All six dimensions of the agile enterprise reinforce each other to drive a full range of benefits for any business. Here’s a look at all six:

Planning and performance management

Eighty-three percent of top agile performers reported having systems that enabled them to flexibly reallocate resources more frequently than annually. In addition, 78 percent said they had a portfolio management function responsible for prioritizing or reallocating resources to meet business priorities.

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Talent

Highly agile companies make it a point to focus on individuals who are adaptive to change, risk, and new ways of working. Eighty-five percent of top agile performers say they can attract, train, and retain the right talent to maintain agile ways.

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Organization

Business and technology teams are set up to work together to develop products or platforms. Delivery structures are organized around products or end-to-end journeys. Nearly 80 percent of top agile performers said that they have permanent cross-functional, autonomous agile teams.

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Technology enablers

Teams and infrastructure enable rapid development in highly agile organizations. Among top agile performers, 83 percent reported having IT infrastructure (including tools such as cloud services and virtual architecture) that enabled rapid provisioning and scaling.

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Ways of working

In highly agile companies, team members enable one another’s work and efficiently deliver shared, iterative outcomes. Among top agile performers 83 percent reported having teams that evolved continually to meet consumer needs. Seventy-seven percent said that their senior leaders were “strong advocates” of agile ways.

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Risk and compliance

Risk management controls and methodologies support agile delivery. Seventy-six percent of agile top performers reported having updated their controls. Seventy-four percent said that frequent collaboration, testing, and releases had reduced risk levels.

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Matthew Siegel

Principal, Strategy& US

Corey Booth

Principal, Strategy& US

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