Organizations that emphasize cost and risk aversion are doing so at the expense of benefits across a range of key business metrics, according to a global study from Pegasystems, conducted by Frost & Sullivan, which surveyed 437 senior executives across various industry sectors about the importance of business agility and its relationship to overall performance. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

The research defined business agility as the ability to react nimbly and consistently, balancing speed and stability through operational discipline to rapidly exploit change and complexity. Organizations were grouped into three categories: adopters, those planning for strategy adoption, and non-adopters. The difference between adopters and non-adopters was stark, with non-adopters reporting an average of 25% lower satisfaction with performance across major business metrics, including customer satisfaction, business value, innovation, product quality, and productivity.

Those who have chosen to adopt an agile approach within their organization reported a wide range of benefits, including significant increases in revenue growth (84%), profitability (78%), customer acquisition (78%), and customer retention (77%). Meanwhile, 82% of strategic agile adopters surveyed rated overall customer satisfaction and quality of customer experience higher than their industry counterparts.

Despite the clear benefits, less than half of all respondents (43%) classify themselves as agile adopters today, with one in five indicating they either will not be adopting within the next 1-2 years or have no plans to adopt at all. Organizations that prioritize reducing project costs and minimizing project risk form the majority of all non-agile adopters. In addition, a lack of executive sponsorship or insufficient support is cited by almost half (47%) of decision makers interested in adopting an agile business approach as one of the primary barriers to progress. While nearly all organizations have a focus on minimizing cost and risk, those placing the greatest emphasis on those areas were least likely to be agile adopters and, correspondingly, least likely to see the benefits adopters report.

"It's clear that by adopting an agile approach, organizations can make themselves more efficient, more profitable, and more engaged with their customers," said Don Schuerman, chief technology officer, Pegasystems. "However, to reap these benefits, businesses need to become more comfortable with risk. Business leaders that focus on reducing costs and resisting risk are in more danger of becoming obsolete by allowing their competitors to gain a significant advantage."

The complete report, entitled Why Business Agility Matters has been made available online here: