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Business Agility: how to achieve flexibility in the technology driving your business processes

Bram Keijers, 06 juli 2022

It sounds simple: business consultants outline the customer process, functional consultants decide which data is required and integration consultants create the integration artefacts and then the implementation is successful. But what about changing requirements, data and systems? What to do when the operation requires scaling up of resources? Here at Acorel we use our mindset on business, functional and technical level to ensure agility throughout processes. This results in trust in processes and IT, which in turn enables people to focus on the correct things.

Think! Do! Act!

Nowadays it’s a rarity to deliver a complete and sound businesses process and implementation in one go. Although more and more project methodologies like Agile and continuous development are emerging, it is still required to get our mindsets in this mode. This is where the think-do-act mindset comes in. This mindset consist of three parts:

If you get the project onboard with this mindset essentially you create a second round of optimization while managing expectations. In essence, you are setting the mode to allow for innovation.

Know what you don’t know about your business processes

Upon creating or outlining a business process the thinking part includes the sad flow as well: what to do when a part of the process fails? Its hard to talk about this because it is highlighting a negative aspect, but important to catch the exceptions and improve the quality.
Another part is to know what you don’t know about the business process: do we expect it to scale up, will more parties/systems be evolved? What would we change in these situations? This already shows a better picture of what is possible.

Use your mind when doing

When implementing we keep in mind that processes change. We prepare ourselves to achieve flexibility, even when we are unsure whether it is required. For instance, we loosely couple data and business logic. This ensures that changes in both areas can be implemented easily. Also we prevent point-to-point connections and reduce system-specific developments to a minimum. If on a technical level we restrict our developments only to serve a particular situation, it becomes much harder to extend on this.
After the doing part it is not over yet: we have to think about how we are going to act. How to reproduce scenarios of interest and who needs these insights? How to update data or rerun processes after updating? This is an essential step, not only because we include it in developments but because the whole project team has to think about what is required to act.

Act as a team

After go-live of the solution we act as a team to evaluate. Are there outliers or gaps occurring at the business process or functional data? Are there situations in which technology cannot react in the appropriate manner? The answers to these questions will yield an updated strategy to improve the process on all levels.
Essentially, the act phase is a new sprint or project phase in which a new round of optimization starts. In order to be innovative this step is required and essential to implement in the applied project structure.

The mindset of agility

As outlined; thinking, doing and acting in your projects will put the project in an innovative and agile mode. It activates members to think about the questions to ask and how to find the answers. This will make sure that real Business Agility is not only reached but that it is measurable as well. So think, do and act about the right things!

Our offering

At Acorel Technology our goal is to create healthy dataflows throughout your organization. Business agility is one of the 8 challenges that organizations encounter when it comes to IT in general. Curious to know what the other 7 challenges are and how solving them creates a future-proof IT landschape? Then contact the A-Team!

Bram Keijers

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