5 Things That Will Increase Your Business Agility

Susan Walker

Does your company sense changes in the market, respond to those changes, and adapt its approach accordingly? In order to do these things effectively, businesses need to be agile. Agility affects every aspect of your business, and it can mean the difference between being a leading company or a laggard in your industry.

A recent study by Accenture Strategy found that leading businesses have five common traits that define their agility. So how do you improve your responsiveness and agility to compete or maintain your status as a leader in your industry?

Here’s a list of the top five traits and a quick checklist of some key questions and points to consider if you want to improve your company’s agility.

How to boost your company’s agility

1. Build diverse leadership teams

How do you ensure that your leadership team has diverse perspectives?

  • Actively seek leadership from outside of your industry
  • Include relevant staff from all levels of the organization in important discussions
  • Get outside perspectives to avoid creating an “echo chamber”

2. Prioritize strategic decisions

What are the top three strategic decisions that you need to make this year?

  • Don’t let tactical decisions get in the way of strategic work
  • Have the ability to distinguish between strategic decisions and operational decisions
  • Focus on the most urgent and important strategic issues
  • Separate strategic meetings from operational discussions to capitalize on leadership time and focus 

3. Make quicker decisions

What steps have you taken in the last 36 months to accelerate decision-making and act quickly on those decisions?

  • Align senior leadership on critical topics so rapid decisions are achievable when issues arise
  • Make decisions at the appropriate levels and have the right people in the room to make those decisions
  • Delegate operational decisions to free up leaders to focus on critical strategic decisions

4. Embrace data and analytics

Do you know how your analytics strategy is tied to your business objectives?

  • Consider who has access to various types of data and adjust to serve the business better
  • Apply analytics where they have the biggest impact

5. Prepare your ecosystems to act quickly

How well do you manage relationships with different organizations within your ecosystem, and with those outside of your immediate value chain?

  • Strategically assess where and how you want to share elements of the value chain (through partnership and collaboration) to accelerate growth
  • Explore how sharing information with partners may change the industry landscape
  • Understand how technology changes are breaking down barriers between enterprises, and the impact that will have on your business

For an in-depth look at the growing importance of business agility in the digital age, download the SAP eBook, The Digital Economy: Reinventing the Business World.

Discover the multiple business and technology forces driving digital transformation in the SAP eBook, Digital Disruption: How Digital Technology is Transforming Our World.

Learn more about how your business can become more agile. Read A Mix-and-Match Approach To Leadership and The Top 5 Business Agility Traits.

The above information is based on the Accenture strategy study, “Traits of Truly Agile Businesses” – Copyright ©2014 Accenture. Accenture Strategy surveyed 1300 C-Suite and senior-level executives in 13 industries and 16 countries in mature and emerging markets about business agility.


Susan Walker

About Susan Walker

Susan Walker leads SAP’s Global Strategic Technology and Global Strategic Services Partner Marketing organization. She is responsible for SAP’s alliance marketing vision, strategy and execution across the company, with a strong focus on leveraging and extending leading-edge innovation to enable customers to transform their businesses.