In the post-Covid era, as we enter a new phase of globalization, organizations must cope with increasing volatility and uncertainty. Agile enterprises have managed to stay afloat through these turbulent times, staying ahead of the competition and keeping up with the rapid pace of evolving markets. By readily adapting to new cloud-based applications, remote ways of working, and workplace digitalization, companies that have adopted Agile were able to get ahead of their peers and stay relevant in the global market.
However, just adopting Agile is not enough. In order to ensure and sustain business growth, these companies must have the underlying support of the right infrastructure. What is Agile infrastructure, and what are its benefits and limitations? Read on to find out.
Before we define Agile infrastructure, let’s first understand what Agile is all about. Even as globalization has shrunk the world, it has also brought in a lot of unpredictability— and in some cases even chaos!
To cope with these volatile markets, companies realized that they needed to do all they could to adapt to changes, support newly evolving technologies and keep productivity levels up. They found that Agile was the answer.
Agile is the ability to create and respond to change. It is a way of dealing with, and ultimately succeeding in, an uncertain and turbulent environment. —Agile Alliance
The Agile framework was conceptualized in the early 1990s as an alternative to old-fashioned and rigid project management systems that were opposed to change of any kind. Agile is cantered on four values that inform and guide its processes, and they prioritize
The fourth value talks about ‘responding to change, as opposed to following a plan.’ By doing this, agility helps an organization to cope with change and adapt to evolving conditions. Agile’s iterative and incremental model supports flexibility and helps organizations align themselves with changing conditions.
Originally conceptualized as a software development methodology, Agile has now transformed into a general framework for managing any kind of project and has found acceptance in sectors as diverse as healthcare and retail, marketing and pharma. At its very basic, Agile requires a culture shift and a change in mindset. It is flexible and versatile and encourages quick responses to changing conditions.
Traditional ‘waterfall’ infrastructure does not allow changes till the very end and is not the best solution for complex and volatile projects.
In contrast, an Agile infrastructure is one that supports incremental upgrades, quick deployment and provisioning, and allows for feedback and improvements at every stage.
Agile infrastructure is founded on Agile values and principles and applies them to the hardware and software components of the organizational IT networks. With this infrastructure at the core, teams are easily able to adapt to new technology and collaborate across geographies. They work in small increments using lightweight deployment and roll out applications in quick successive releases.
Agile infrastructure comes with some limitations, and these could pose complex challenges that must be overcome.
Source Image: testingxperts.com
A mid-sized UK-based UI-UX-services company chose to adopt an agile approach in its 50-person IT infrastructure subsidiary. They chose to roll out an agile operating model across the entire infrastructure organization and focused on first improving their processes. Within the first year of deployment, they found that their Agile transformation had brought down IT costs by over 40%, while at the same time productivity was doubled. Automating repetitive operations and replacing legacy models with new, flexible iterative models was at the heart of their transformation.
|Traditional organization||Agile organization|
|Organization and resources||Teams are function-specific, with staff with specialized skillsets who are focused on tasks.||Teams are integrated and cross-managing, and comprise of infrastructure engineers with a variety of development skills.|
|Technology||Customized infrastructure that requires significant manual effort from infrastructure teams.||Standardized infrastructure, with a large part of deliveries being automated. Application developers can configure infrastructure on their own using self-service tools.|
|Processes||Rigid, sequential processes and repetitive tasks that are performed manually.||Repetitive work is automated, and processes are cyclical and flexible.|
|Collaboration||Infrastructure requests are ticketed and are dealt with by service managers on behalf of infrastructure teams. Once developers put code into production, they are no longer responsible.||Application development and operations roles are integrated, and developers handle all operations using self-service tools.|
Organizations with legacy systems that are looking to transform their IT infrastructure to an Agile model can employ a structured approach to the design, deployment and monitoring of Agile teams and resources. This approach involves the following steps:
While traditional IT infrastructure processes were very successful in the past, the advent of digitization has made it an imperative for companies to align themselves with Agile infrastructure. An Agile adoption is not easy, and it requires significant change in the culture and mindset across the organization. However, organizations that can pull off a successful Agile infrastructure transformation will be able to adapt to volatile markets easily, hastening time-to-market even while cutting costs and boosting productivity.
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