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I ♥ APIs 2015: Learn How to be Agile

Jul 14, 2015

In previous posts on outside-in culture and cloud-first IT, it’s been exciting to draw connections between best practices we’ve benchmarked across hundreds of companies and how some of our awesome I ♥  APIs 2015 conference speakers, like GLH chief technology officer Chris Hewertson, are putting them into practice to digitally transform their organizations.

In this post, I want to draw a connection to another critical issue: the need to become more agile. McKinsey & Company’s Paul Willmott puts the need to become more agile in context:

“Digital technology allows disruptive business models to emerge and expand at previously unimaginable rate…Most business leaders know this. But what those disruptions actually look like and which ones businesses should take seriously—that’s a tougher nut to crack … seeing around corners only becomes harder as the pace of change accelerates. That’s why agility—the ability to react quickly to threats and opportunities—is an increasingly critical capability as companies seek to become digital to the core.”

Create, test, and drive value—quickly

As Willmott explains, agile technology practices are a way that technology teams have adapted to “create reusable software quickly”—and, by extension, test new features with end users in as little as a couple weeks and focus effort on what drives value, rather than re-inventing the wheel.

Agile is a way that many digital natives (including Apigee) build software—and, increasingly, how many incumbent businesses are adapting to the new digital market context. You might have heard the phrase “two-speed” or “bimodal” IT. Top consultancies and analyst firms (including McKinsey & Company, BCG, Gartner, and Forrester) endorse this as a model for enterprise IT to re-tool for digital competitiveness (we explore the topic in depth in our eBook “Two-Speed IT with APIs”).

When I asked four accomplished chief digital officers (CDOs) more than a year ago about two-speed or bimodal IT, none were familiar with either phrases. Yet all of them went on to describe the ways that they had adopted agile practices. My sense—as someone who also interacts with many different companies at different stages on their digital transformation journeys—is that these firms observed what the first-movers and market leaders were doing and distilled what they saw into recommended patterns and practices that (call it what you will) amounted to “two speed” or “bimodal IT.”

Context for your journey to agility

This includes being agile both in the way you build and manage software, and agile in the way you plan and re-prioritize as conditions change. It spans both technology practices and business decision-making, and accordingly is a focus in both our Tech Forum and Strategy Forum at our upcoming I ♥ APIs 2105 conference. These sessions include “IT Agility is No Longer an Oxymoron,” “Putting Two-Speed IT into Practice in the Enterprise,” and “How to Harness Digital for Growth: Becoming an Agile Enterprise.”

As you might have guessed, we believe that making real progress toward agility is important for every company to get or stay digitally competitive. To help you put your own company progress on the journey in context, check out some of the data we’ve collected:

  • Of 300 large companies surveyed by the Apigee Institute, 70% can point to a company-wide digital transformation initiative already underway—only 6% either don’t have one or don’t expect one in 2015.

  • According to Gartner, 45% of enterprises have some form of bimodal IT capability now; this figure is set to increase to 75% by 2017.

  • Last year, 69% of 800 IT decision-makers we surveyed said that “agile” already described IT “very well,” “well,” or “somewhat well.”

To catch up, keep pace, or pull ahead of your peers and competitors, join us at I ♥ APIs 2015!

Photo: Michael Smith/Flickr

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