‘Most CEOs want to be agile, only a minority actually is’

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Research shows that the vast majority of executives within European companies believe that an agile working method is important for their company’s growth. In practice, however, only a minority actually apply the method.

This is according to a survey that IDC carried out on behalf of ServiceNow. The study was conducted among 873 senior decision-makers at large companies in Europe.

Five degrees of agility

For the study, IDC developed a special model to determine the degree to which a company operates agilely. It divides companies into five degrees of agility, from least to most:

  • Static
  • Disconnected
  • In motion
  • Synchronized
  • Agile

The study indicates that 72 percent of executives and 90 percent of CEOs surveyed believe that organisational agility is critical to improving business results and achieving growth. This strongly contradicts the findings of the model, which labels only 21 percent of companies surveyed as ‘synchronised’ or ‘agile’.

The largest group of companies in the study (45 percent) falls into the “in motion” category. This means that the companies are in a transition phase from a static to an agile company. The remaining 34 percent can be divided into the “static” or “disconnected” categories. Such companies are more conservative in hierarchy, strategy and budgeting. According to IDC, such a conservative attitude stands in the way of innovation.

“Although few organisations have fully embraced agility, the need to become agile has never been clearer. It’s not just about surviving. It’s also about being successful, and to achieve that, companies need to break the cycle of keeping pace to change faster,” explains Phil Carter, IDC Chief Analyst Europe. “To know where you need to go, you first need to know where you are now and determine the route to agility.

Agile during the corona pandemic

IDC backs up these statements with more figures. Of the executives within ‘synchronised’ or ‘agile’ companies, 65 percent said they were recovering or working on growth again after the blow of the corona pandemic. In the lowest two tiers, only 30 percent said they were.

In the area of customer relations, IDC claims that agile companies perform better than more conservative companies as well. In this aspect, 53 percent of agile companies are said to be excellent performers. Across the board, the average is 16 percent. IDC has two explanations for this: agile companies can respond more quickly to customer preferences and these companies also perform 10 percent better in attracting and retaining talent.

Tip: Quality control in many companies bottleneck for Agile and DevOps’.