It is relatively easy to measure the success of an agile software development project:  If the go-live happens in the expected timeframe within budget and business users are happy, you’ve won.  But what about business agility?  How is this measured?  What inhibits business agility?

In the simplest terms, business agility is about shrinking the timeframe from idea to execution.  Too many ideas get stuck in the quicksand of analysis/paralysis, or once deployed get stymied in digital concrete.

Analysis/paralysis most often happens when there is a lack of executive sponsorship to move an idea along.   Ideas get stuck and risk aversion metastasizes to the point where ideas can languish indefinitely while competitors and markets leapfrog ahead.

“Digital concrete” refers to on-premise, highly customized legacy IT systems that require disproportionate amounts of time to update and deploy changes.  These sluggish systems can frustrate business heads and have a corrosive effect on competitiveness by making companies difficult to do business with and increasingly dysfunctional over time.

Business agility is achieved through a combination of a cultural affinity for taking smart risks and systems that can enable the execution of great ideas in a timely and cost effective way.

Cloud-based systems are uniquely capable of this enablement, because cloud eliminates the need for costly and time-consuming investments in infrastructure.  The pay-as-you-go model of cloud creates an environment where the focus of business is on the business vs. creating technical infrastructure.  This also reduces the up-front capital investment needed to try new business models, lowering the cost of failure in a self-reinforcing cycle of positive learning and value creation.

With CloudCraze, we can usually deploy storefronts in 12-16 weeks that blow away what you can do with other platforms.  Business users are routinely amazed by what we can accomplish in an amazingly short amount of time.

For those seeking business agility a cloud-first approach can make all the difference.  Information systems can either be an enabler or an inhibitor, and the choice is up to the business.