Shaping the Future with Business Agility

This article was co-authored by Jim Tremlett, Delisa Brownley, and Ryan Keawekane.

Agility, once the domain of product development organizations and IT, has moved out of this realm and into business overall as companies face an ever more uncertain world. The same rules of customer focus, small teams, and flexible organizations are being adopted by whole enterprises and driving toward a future with greater resilience, flexible systems, and more human-centricity including a focus on the customer.

This trend is reflected in the proliferation of business agility services, well established entities like Scaled Agile and Scrum Alliance adopting a focus on business agility outcomes, and the establishment of industry organizations such as the Business Agility Institute (BAI).

“The Business Agility Institute is a highly valued partner of Accenture | SolulutionsIQ, and the leading guide for enterprises to understand trends in and the most effective approaches to business agility. The importance and influence of BAI is growing rapidly and will only accelerate as enterprises embrace the unpredictability of their markets and the increasing rate of change in industries generally. The speed of organizational adaptability, in response to competitive and environmental pressures, is the only lasting measure of competitive advantage, and BAI charts the path to that competency.”

Evan Campbell – Managing Director and CTO, Accenture | SolutionsIQ

The Business Agility Institute was launched in 2018 with the Business Agility Conference and has since surveyed the industry each year to compile a composite “voice of the customer”: the Business Agility Report.

The Business Agility Report survey gives you the opportunity to gauge your organization’s ability to demonstrate agility in their leadership, strategy, people management,  and more as you see it.

Share Your Business Agility Journey

The 2020 Business Agility Report is collecting surveys right now – we invite you to speak up! The survey, which takes about 15 minutes, is a snapshot of where you are in your personal business agility journey and how you view your organization, whether you are an employee, consultant, or client. Upon completion of the report, you will receive your results and can compare them to the benchmark data.

Already took the survey previously? We invite you to take it again, so you can plot your growth year over year.

Take the survey

Business Agility Report Over the Years

The following table shows the key findings from the first two years of the Business Agility Report. You will notice a maturing of the findings over that two-year span.

Findings of the 2018 Business Agility Report

The 2018 Business Agility Report found that most organizations rate their current fluency in business agility relatively low but have enthusiasm and hope for the future.

Many respondents reported that they are struggling with transforming entrenched culture and processes, in particular developing new funding models and transforming HR, Finance, and other supporting functions.

Findings of the 2019 Business Agility Report

The most exciting results in the 2019 Business Agility Report was the discovery that organizations who report higher ratings in the three key areas also report higher overall business agility and associated benefits:

  • Funding Models: Adaptive funding models and associated governance processes allow organizations to quickly and easily invest in new products or services as soon as market opportunities arise and, just as quickly, stop or change work that isn’t delivering the expected business value.
  • Value Streams: By designing flexible work processes that are both efficient and customer-centric, value streams allow organizations to tightly integrate teams from across the organization in service of maximizing value creation for the customer.
  • Relentless Improvement: By encouraging a culture of learning and experimentation to thrive, organizations can continuously improve both what they do and how they do it – reducing costs, improving efficiency, and delivering greater value to customers.

Understanding How Your Organization Compares to the Industry

Upon completing the survey, you will immediately get your results. How might you use that insight?

As we coach organizations on the use of metrics over the years, they often want to understand how they compare to industry standards. By taking the survey for the Business Agility Report, you can get that sense for yourself and your organization.

Here are one of the author’s (Jim Tremlett’s) results after taking the 2020 survey. Note that the results are compared with the growing respondent pool. You can see that Jim’s results (green) are higher than the benchmark (yellow) in AgilityHealth-defined areas like Workforce, Growth Mindset, Structural Agility, and Process Agility, and lower than the benchmark in the areas One Team and Partners. This caused the author to consider why that might be. The survey results are the beginning of an internal business agility journey, not the end.


The Business Agility Report survey results are the beginning of an internal business agility journey, not the end.

Building a Growth Plan

Achieving business agility is a journey, not a destination. Assessments, by themselves, are interesting but not influential. It is when they are coupled with growth plans that they help an organization change to achieve desired goals, whether that be growth, market resilience, or customer/client loyalty. With transformational work such as that required for business agility, individuals must radiate the status of the organization regularly. While many organizations have established means for doing this in a vacuum or in step with the industry using traditional yardsticks, we recommend annually checking in on the growth by participating in the yearly Business Agility Report survey. It provides a means of checking in regularly (the survey does not close) and is corroborated and continuously improved to represent how business agility is today and how it is changing into the future. Based on the feedback, organizations often pick one or two areas in which to grow and build a growth plan to do so.

AgilityHealth, the organization whose radar powers the business agility survey, has a set of more granular assessments and radars that facilitate the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle in the annual growth initiatives. As AgilityHealth’s premier partner, we value these assessment radars because it makes visible and real the many ways that individuals and teams in an organization can grow. There are agile radars that you may expect, for example, for Team Health (including a new one to help you track remote work health), but there are also radars to track the agility of health at the program and even portfolio levels.

Together these radars and assessments provide a clearer picture of where you are as an organization from varied perspectives. What you do with that information is up to your organization.

“Every response to the Business Agility Report survey helps build a more complete picture of the state of “applied” business agility. The path towards business agility is a difficult one and the report provides an insightful summary of the key challenges facing many organizations and patterns for overcoming them. It’s a great reminder that you are not alone on the journey, and learning from those who are further along can help make the way forward smoother and more successful.”

Jason Novack – Business Agility Practice Lead for Accenture | SolutionsIQ

Uncertainty fuels fear, but as they say knowledge is power and 15 minutes will empower you with the trends and gaps your business may need to address. What will you empower your company to do with this insight?

Take the survey