European businesses vastly overestimate agility capabilities

Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of business leaders across Europe see organisational agility as critical in driving business performance and growth, but many are overestimating their capabilities, according to research.

Analyst house IDC and digital workflow firm ServiceNow surveyed 875 senior decision makers from large businesses across Europe to examine their organisations' agility amid the pandemic, applying a bespoke assessment model to determine their maturity in this area.

Over half of businesses claimed to be “very” or “extremely” agile, but the research shows the majority of businesses are only actually at the start of their agility journeys.

A model developed by IDC measures progress against five types of organisational agility - leadership, structural, process, portfolio and technology - and showed that only one in five (21 per cent) of businesses are in the top two tiers of agility readiness: “synchronised” or “agile”.

Almost half (45 per cent) are categorised as “in motion” - in the middle of the journey - while 34 per cent sit in the lower tiers of “static” or “disconnected”.

Phil Carter, an IDC analyst, said: “Although few organisations have fully embraced agility, the urgency to become more agile is now clearer than ever. It's not only about surviving, it's about succeeding and to do so companies need to break the cycle of keeping pace to accelerate change.

“To know where to go you need to know where you are today and start building your own compass towards agility.”

Those businesses categorised as agile or synchronised cited clear benefits. Almost two thirds (65 per cent) of business leaders in these top two tiers said they are either recovering or returning to growth, compared to just under a third (30 per cent) of those in the lowest two tiers.

“Agility has long been recognised as a driver of business success, enabling companies to organise themselves in a way that prioritises efficiency and adaptability,” said Chris Pope, vice president of innovation at ServiceNow.

“The research has identified a clear link between agility and tangible business outcomes, which is vital for businesses that are currently operating in the dynamic COVID economy.”

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