Why agility should be at the heart of your digital transformation strategy (and how to ensure it is)

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the race for agility is on. With resiliency as the end goal, leaders are looking to agile transformation to pave the way for operational continuity. The future looks bright for businesses that can combine an agile approach with next-generation technology designed to maximize employee experience, no matter what the future of work has in store.

Agile man rock climbing on a rock face

What is agile digital transformation? 

Long before it earned a top spot on every leader's priority list, agility in the context of technology was a set of principles for futureproofing software development. Twenty years ago, a group of 17 technology leaders gathered to address the frustrations they faced when developing new software. They wanted to create a more iterative approach based on the following values:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

The Agile Manifesto was a game-changer. Before its debut, most software developments followed the waterfall model. This approach has its roots in manufacturing and is characterized by linear processes and fixed deliverables. In contrast, during agile development, teams break each feature into small chunks of work and produce incremental value over time.

Agile has continued to expand over the last two decades. It's no longer just a technique for creating software. Instead, many aspects of solution development now apply the same principles. The hallmarks of agile models include frequent releases, cross-functional collaboration, an emphasis on the customers, and constant iteration.

The rise of 'agile'

The move towards agile shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, agile transformation services are predicted to grow by nearly 18%, surpassing a market value of 18b by 2026. Similarly, nearly two-thirds of businesses use or plan to use agile for implementing enterprise software.

Becoming more agile was important before COVID-19, but it's non-negotiable in the new world of work. The pandemic exposed just how fragile many critical systems were. Resilience is now at the top of every leader's wish list and it is agility that will make it a reality. 

Two in three business leaders who rely on agile development processes believe they are successful.


The benefits of an agile transformation strategy

It's clear agile is gaining traction, but why? There are several key benefits associated with agile transformation. Pay-offs include:

Better bottom lines

Agility has real cost savings potential: research shows a 71% increase in project cost reduction when businesses shift to an agile approach. For agile organizations, less is more. Instead of getting distracted by bells and whistles, teams adopt the cost-effective mentality of doing the simplest things to get the desired results.

Reducing risks

In our ever-changing world, enterprises that fail to adapt are the weakest link. When teams use the old waterfall method, tasks must be completed in full before the project can move forward. Customer requirements and circumstances can change during this time, making these projects vulnerable to failure. In contrast, the small-batch nature of agile work eliminates the need to start from scratch.

Increased employee engagement 

Every enterprise wants to improve employee engagement, but many don't know where to start. Moving to an agile approach is a sure-fire way to enhance worker satisfaction. In fact, employee engagement levels climb by as much as 30 points in an agile environment. Cross-functional work helps employees feel connected to their colleagues and instills a sense of purpose.

Boost your team's performance 

An agile approach is your secret weapon for improving your team's performance. Employee performance climbs at least 30% in an agile environment because everyone knows their expectations and responsibilities. When employees have clear objectives, both your team's efficiency and accuracy will improve.

How to apply agility to your intranet launch 

When it comes to launching new workplace technology, all methods aren't created equally. One in four IT projects fail outright and another 25% don't provide a return on investment.

To debut an intranet that beats these odds, an agile approach is essential. Two in three business leaders who rely on agile development processes believe they are successful. Take the following steps to weave agility into your intranet launch:

#1. Create a shared sense of ownership

Prioritizing the customer is a hallmark of agile approaches. In the context of your intranet launch, your consumers are your employees who will use the solution. From the project's onset, consider your end-user's preferences, needs, and goals. Engage your employees in the launch process by asking them what they're looking for and using this input to inform your intranet's design.

#2. Define your success metrics

Everyone involved in your intranet launch needs visible expectations of their tasks and an understanding of the project's desired outcomes. Define what return on investment will look like for your project. The idea of "return" doesn't need to be strictly financial; what's most important is that your organization has a shared vision for what success looks like. 

#3. Create your Minimum Viable Product

This is where the less is more approach comes into play. Instead of focusing on a laundry list of features and integrations right way, your priority is an intranet that gets the job done. Take advantage of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) strategy to get your results efficiently. The guiding principle here is to start simple and evolve. Prioritize the non-negotiable functionalities you need first, with the potential to revisit items further down your wish list once your intranet launches. 

#4. Test early and often

With an agile approach, your goal is to bake in quality at every stage of development. The only way to do this is by testing your project frequently to troubleshoot immediately after every iteration. Make evaluation part of the process for every new feature and update to fix small problems before they become major issues. 

#5. Continue to evolve 

Your work isn't done once your intranet launches. Adopting an agile approach requires a "change or die" mindset. Once your platform debuts, continuously evaluate its progress and be on the lookout for changing circumstances. Use metrics on your intranet's adoption rate and end-user satisfaction surveys to guide future innovations. 

Unleash intranet agility with Unily's Feature Store

Don't settle for having to wait to access new features. With Unily's Feature Store, you can be truly agile and go beyond traditional release models. Offer your people almost instant access to market-leading integrations and remote ideation, so they can experience a consistent single pane of glass view of their digital workplace and ideate dazzling new processes.

Go further and rapidly install brand new content creation and delivery tools, including a dedicated crisis communications homepage, perfect for personalized messaging during a crisis, as well as modern email templates tailored to different scenarios, to engage your audience and keep them coming back for more.


Intranet agility 101: Introducing the Feature Store

The world is changing, and fast. Our ability to react quickly to changing circumstances is fundamental to the future success of every business. More often than not, an enterprise's technology investments will dictate how agile the organization can be to change. With that in mind, we debut our latest product innovation: an all-new feature store model to upgrade intranet agility further than we thought possible.

Watch on-demand

Future-proof your digital transformation with an agile intranet

An agile approach will ensure that your intranet withstands the test of time by continuously evolving to meet your employees' needs. If you are looking to launch a bespoke solution to maximize employee engagement, get in touch with our digital workplace experts. 

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