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Dimensions of Business Agility

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  • 0:04 What Is Business Agility?
  • 0:54 Market Dimensions
  • 2:22 Organizational Dimensions
  • 3:59 Process-Focused Dimensions
  • 4:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Nathan Hurwitz

Dr. Nathan Hurwitz is a tenured Associate Professor in Theatre and has three books in print, two textbooks and a coffee table book.

This lesson is designed for front-line managers, and identifies and describes the dimensions of business agility, including market dimensions, organizational dimensions and process-focused dimensions.

What Is Business Agility?

Agility in business offers a streamlined operational model that encourages creativity and flexibility. In an agile environment, layers of management between executive and project manager are thinned down. Managers charge teams with tasks and allow the teams to decide how to accomplish them.

Agile environments embrace failure as an essential tool for learning. Being open to change at every step of the way is essential. Some adherents to agility claim it is more of a philosophy than a business model.

Agility started in the software industry and was adopted by forward-thinking teams across the full spectrum of businesses. More recently, full-organization agility has become highly desirable, as entire businesses and organizations have transitioned to the agile environment.

Market Dimensions

The dimension of shifting markets demand agility from today's businesses. Change is the only constant; everything seems to be changing faster and faster. In particular, the needs, demands, and whims of the market are changing more rapidly than ever. Some reports claim that up to 70% of corporations that appeared on the Fortune 1000 list ten years ago are no longer in existence. The ability to adjust to the changes in the market is imperative to continued organizational growth.

In a traditional model, making shifts in business can seem like turning a large vessel at sea. Changes in direction happen very slowly and only over a comparatively long period. Agility, however, allows a business to shift quickly and efficiently in response to market demand. For example, bus manufacturers with an agile R&D process can deliver a newer, energy-efficient line of buses to a major urban customer faster than a more traditional business.

Not only does agility carry the required flexibility to keep up with changes in the market, but it can also allow an organization to get ahead of those changes by anticipating shifting market trends. Forbes has identified several important measurable areas that quantify and define the success of an organization's agility. The two key measurable areas are market responsiveness and channel integration. Companies can use analyses of these two key pieces of information to measure agile success in the market dimension.

Organizational Dimensions

The success of implementing organizational agility, which is essentially just how agile an organization is, depends on succeeding in five key areas:

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