‘Becoming more agile’ is a common business objective for organisations that want to survive and prosper in today's increasingly disruptive and volatile business environment. But the reality is most will fail to realise this goal. Why? Because of the myth that being agile is largely driven by company culture.

Where they falter is in neglecting how important the role of operational capability is in responding to and implementing change. Compound this with the siloed and complex operating structure of most large organisations, and agility becomes an all but impossible dream.

Yes, you should invest in great creative minds and leaders who can think in an agile way. However, if you can’t implement their ideas effectively across the organisation, then agility, innovation and transformation remain out of reach.

Rethinking the operational model

The business operating model is how the organisation operates. It's the structure, responsibilities, processes, obligations, systems and information. To implement change effectively, there must be a clear understanding of how the change will impact the operating model.

Improvements should not be implemented department by department or silo by silo. Executives need to see how change will impact entire value chains that flow horizontally and vertically across the organisation, affecting different areas, roles, processes and controls in varied ways.

More sophisticated tools needed

To do this, executives need more sophisticated tools to help map out the operating environment. Such tools allow them to simulate how new ways of working and innovative changes will impact the organisation.

One such highly effective tool is a Business Management System (BMS) which links operational processes, responsibilities, controls, risk and compliance obligations through one integrated system. It's a digital twin of the actual business operating model. It can be used to guide operations, understand the scope of change and be more strategic in decisions. It can also help project managers to align requirements with specific roles, processes and systems.

A BMS can assist in validating the business case for new ideas, by allowing a comparison of service levels and performance between the old and the new operational models. It can be instrumental in the implementation phase as it will generate the standard operating procedures and training guides, including the compliance obligations. This will be the blueprint for operations and allow the agile adoption of further improvements.

Agility is more than just a corporate buzz word. It requires more than a focus on having an agile workplace or cultural approach. True agility and harnessing the ideas and innovation that can come from it will be made successful by how well you can implement these into your organisation. Having the right model and tools can certainly assist in leveraging any agile approach to working.