New Business Agility solutions for you, a new washing machine for Jerry Cuomo
Delaney Turner 270003RQ8K Delaney.Turner@ca.ibm.com | | Tags:  bizagility service-management business-agility ibmsoftware product-innovation ibmbizagility
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For Jerry Cuomo, Business Agility began at Best Buy.
A few months back, the CTO of IBM’s WebSphere technologies was shopping for a washing machine. His family had a washing machine, but a disturbing string of higher-than-usual energy bills hinted at the impending need for a more energy-efficient model.
Cuomo suspected his daughter had something to do with it.
An IBM Fellow, Cuomo brought his considerable tech chops to bear on the buying process. He studied Energy Star ratings in detail. He engaged in lengthy conversations with sales reps about heating capabilities. He compared water use per minute across all makes and models, all in the hopes of trimming a few kilowatt hours off his burgeoning energy bill.
None of this impressed his wife.
“You’re missing the point,” she said.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“Well,” she replied, “a more efficient machine might help us save a few dollars here and there. But it won’t solve the problem. We do too much laundry. We need to cut down.”
That’s when the light went on.
Cuomo realized it was a question of perspective. On his business agility bloggers briefing call yesterday, he admitted to taking a “narrow IT view” of the problem; his wife saw it in broad strokes. Yes, a more efficient washer would solve a short-term pain; but a lasting solution lie in changing behavior – specifically, curtailing his daughter’s new proclivity for using “permanent press.”
The same dynamic plays out in business, Cuomo explained, and often with similarly isolated or short-term gains: “Efficiency on its own is an important goal,” he said, “but driving lasting improvements in business outcomes demands a prescriptive, top-down approach. The more global your perspective is, the more potent your activities will be about driving effectiveness.”
Today, IBM announced Business Agility solutions that enable such a transformation.
No company is an island
It would be odd, if not downright heretical, in our age of persistent and pervasive disruption to make a case against greater business agility. Scan the headlines from any of your favorite business publications (or walk past the boarded-up windows of your local Borders and Blockbuster) and you’ll see what happens to business that don't adapt. CEOs repeatedly name the level of complexity and the pace of change as the key challenges in today’s business environment. According to McKinsey's Global Economic Conditions Snapshot for September, most executives think a double-dip recession will hit advanced economies over the next six months, and nearly three-quarters say there is at least some chance of the eurozone splintering within the next two years.
Sitting on the sidelines and hoping the storm will blow over isn’t much of a strategy. The question instead is, how do you deal with planned and unexpected change amidst all this marketplace complexity? What’s going to make that lasting difference?
Organizations can start by taking a systematic, strategic look at improving outcomes in three key areas:
Enter Business Agility solutions from IBM.
Agility Levers for Innovation, Transformation and Growth
Today’s business agility announcement focuses on three core attributes – Agility Levers – that, together, enable organizations to not only stand up to whatever the market throws at them, but improve business outcomes through continued innovation and growth. Rather than see your organization succumb to complexity and change, Business Agility solutions from IBM help you transform them into competitive advantage. They're also the latest example of the seamless integration of the broad set of capabilities within the IBM Software portfolio, bringing together no fewer than 10 all told.
The Business Agility Levers – and their supporting capabilities – are as follows:
Three client examples
Organizations around the world are already benefiting from IBM Business Agility solutions. Here’s a mere sampling from a very lengthy list:
How to get agile
There’s no one way for you to increase your business agility. Like Cuomo’s washing machine dilemma, it demands a broad perspective on your biggest challenges and a deep understanding of your long-term goals. But that’s not to say you can’t have quick wins. In fact, they’re essential in building the momentum you’ll need to convince your colleagues and your C-suite to get started.
The beauty of today’s announcement and the IBM solutions is that we can work with you to implement an initial project, establish a broader program and build a roadmap to extend your successes across your organization. All you need to know is where you’re hurting the most.
For Cuomo, that pain was squarely in his pocketbook. He finally did replace the old machine, but says he “hasn’t found the right moment” for the conversation with his daughter.
Unfortunately, we can’t help with that.
Want to learn more about the power of Business Agility?