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Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2014: The Agile Enterprise

Organizations Need to Rethink How They Approach Software Development

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By: Roger Hughlett

October 6, 2014 | Analysts

Traditional approaches to business information technology -- from budgeting to project management to maintenance -- just won't work in the future, according to Bill Swanton, VP Distinguished Analyst at Gartner Research. If a business is going to succeed, an organization needs to be agile when it comes to putting enterprise software to work.

Swanton shared a working list of basic principles that are driving what Gartner analysts have labeled Agile Enterprise. It's a working list because, as Swanton told an audience at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, he and his fellow researchers are still tracking down best practices in the still relatively new approach to business technology – at least not on an enterprise scale, according to Swanton.

“Agile has proven itself at the team level,” Swanton said. “Now it is ready to go to the enterprise.”

The key principles to the Agile Enterprise are declarative statements from the perspective of an organization that is embracing Agile Enterprise. Within each of these principles you may find affirmation, reminders and advice that I’m sure will prove useful to any enterprise.

Key Principles of the Agile Enterprise

We believe business agility comes from frequent focused collaboration and open communications between all the stakeholders and at all levels.

We understand that our success is greatly influenced by our shared experience, behavior and culture, so we invest in our people environment to give the best outcomes.

We frame our future vision of desired outcomes on the evolution of business capabilities and the demonstrable value they provide to the end customer.

We believe that self-managing high-performing teams working together, aligned to business capability are the basic unit of delivery.

We expect uncertainty and accept reasonable change by using adaptive practices and effective situational awareness.

We link the evolution of business capability and outcomes we desire to fund over time using adaptable investment mechanism.

We deliver consistent and demonstrable enterprise business value through self-coordinated, incremental release trains.

We believe that agile architecture is based on the properties of emergence and self- organization, and that must fit together and be sustainable.

Books – and most certainly a lot of research papers – will be written about these principles as they continue to evolve and mature. Swanton readily admits there are likely other guiding principles out there that he has yet to uncover, but he’s looking.

The philosophy behind Agile Enterprise is not unlike the shift that is taking place within the Case Management and Business Process Management space now. No longer are systems only designed around rigid processes. Today, more and more forward-thinking enterprises are approaching specific operations and tasks in a more agile manner.
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Unlike other more rigid BPM solutions that commence development by first applying process to less structured case-like operations, development with MicroPact’s entellitrak® platform begins with a Data-First™ orientation. By putting the data at the forefront, entellitrak is better able to deliver case management solutions that are better able to move both unstructured and structured cases through a process and to an appropriate end.

A guiding principle behind entellitrak could be: We believe enterprises should be able to quickly develop solutions to meet the ever-changing needs of customers.

About the Author

Roger Hughlett was a member of the Marketing Team with MicroPact from 2013 - 2015.