Why agility is so important: Top 5 insights from leading industry reports

After reading—and covering—multiple agile marketing reports, we pulled the top five insights on all the ways agile marketing impacts enterprise organizations.

Why agility is so important: Top 5 insights from leading industry reports

If enterprise organizations had to summarize 2020 in one word, that word would be AGILE. 

The march to adopt agile practices across business units has been an ongoing endeavor for companies of all sizes for some time now, but this year dramatically changed the game. Instead of just talking about how to become more agile, enterprise organizations across the globe were forced to adopt agile approaches at record speed to fast-track digital transformation initiatives.  

Why? Because the ability to be agile impacts enterprise organizations at every level. 

Agility allows for more collaboration across teams. It drives faster efficiencies and delivers more effective programs. And the research backs it up. After reading—and covering—a number of leading industry reports on agility, here are the top five insights we found when it comes to all the ways an agile approach impacts enterprise organizations. 

1. "Agile methods deliver on effectiveness," from Gartner's 2020 Marketing Operations Survey.

For its 2020 Marketing Operations Survey, Gartner surveyed 429 marketing professionals from around the world to determine the organizational and operational challenges most likely to impact their effectiveness. 

When asked about using traditional versus agile project management methods, the respondents who had committed to agile methods scored higher across the board in terms of responding to changes; managing and prioritizing projects; and, completing projects on deadline and under budget.

"When it comes to specific project management methods, we — not surprisingly — learned two things from survey respondents: They use both traditional and agile methods, and agile methods deliver on effectiveness," writes Gartner. The report went on to say, "Moving projects from traditional methods to agile methods can be infused into the way teams work and the tools they use, rather than making 'agile' such a drastic change management effort that serves more as an impediment than a gateway to success." 

Read our full coverage of the report: Want a better balance between effectiveness and efficiency? Hire a MOPs leader (Gartner).

2. "The time is just right for marketers to leverage relevant digital tools and design an organizational road map to make agile marketing a reality," from Deloitte's 2021 Global Marketing Trends Report.

Deloitte surveyed more than 400 C-suite executives and 2,400 consumers in an attempt to answer the question: "How do you uncover and discuss the implications of global marketing trends at a time when the world has seemingly turned on its axis and still continues to change in unpredictable ways?"

Based on its research, Deloitte defined seven specific trends to help executives break through the "wall uncertainty and take action." Among the seven trends: Agility. 

"The time is just right for marketers to leverage relevant digital tools and design an organizational road map to make agile marketing a reality," writes Deloitte in its 2021 Global Marketing Trends Report. 

Deloitte emphasizes, to survive current economic downturns resulting from the pandemic, business executives will need to reconsider their current playbook: "Navigating the downturn requires a new playbook: Pivot to an agile digital channel strategy that meets customer needs as they unfold or risk losing relevance in an already tight marketplace."

Read our full coverage of the report: C-Suite relies on digital platforms to react more quickly to customer needs.

3. "Organizations can benefit from moving toward more nonhierarchical, agile models of communication and collaboration that improve the efficiency of information sharing," from McKinsey's The need for speed in the post-COVID-19 era—and how to achieve it.

Earlier this year, McKinsey surveyed more than 850 business executives to determine what organizations were doing to gain speed across business units and identify tactics that could help them "pick up the pace." Here's what we found most insightful: 

"In our experience, organizations can benefit from moving toward more nonhierarchical, agile models of communication and collaboration that improve the efficiency of information sharing," writes McKinsey. The report goes on to say, "In our experience, making greater use of technology to enable a hybrid working model can provide an organization with greater flexibility and improved productivity, and digital technology can help develop employees’ functional skills through online and hands-on learning. Furthermore, organizations can gain speed and better meet customer needs by embedding technology within their ecosystem." 

Read our full coverage of the report: Why faster organizations deliver stronger business outcomes.

4.  "For 2020, respondents identified collaboration and communication as the highest benefit arising from their business agility journey," from  The Business Agility Report published by The Business Agility Institute in partnership with Accenture, SolutionsIQ and AgilityHealth.

Now in its third year, The Business Agility Report aims to gauge how business executives rate their progress when it comes to adopting agile approaches and determine overall agile maturity levels. Compared to last year's report, 2020 saw a 9% increase in the average business agility maturity. 

Based on its ongoing research, The Business Agility Institute identified three key predictive indicators that point to higher overall business agility: Businesses that focus on relentless improvement, funding models and value streams. While the report offered a number of great insights, from who's most likely to lead the agile journey (the C-suite) to the biggest challenges in terms of implementing agile practices (leadership styles), one of the most significant findings was the top ranked organizational benefit from adopting an agile approach: Communication and collaboration. 

"For 2020, respondents identified collaboration and  communication as the highest benefit arising from their business agility journey, up from 4th in 2019," writes The Business Agility Institute in its report, "Respondents identified significant delivery time and cost improvements through improved collaboration, communication, and transparency."

5.  "Agile marketers are more likely than other groups to be satisfied with how their team is working and the results they can achieve," from AgileSherpas' State of Agile Marketing Report.

Also in its third edition is AgileSherpas' State of Agile report. Unlike The Business Agility report, AgileSherpas' research is focused on agile marketing versus overall business practices. The agile training and consulting firm found, after surveying more than 600 marketers, not only are more marketing organizations adopting agile practices but an even higher number than last year are experiencing key benefits provided by agility. 

"Twice as many Agile marketing teams reported improved productivity in 2020, and those enjoying better prioritization nearly doubled as well," writes AgileSherpas. 

The company also discovered agile marketers are happier with their outcomes compared to marketers who have not adopted agile practices: "Agile marketers are more likely than other groups to be satisfied with how their team is working and the results they can achieve. 74% of Agile marketers are satisfied, compared with just 58% of traditional marketers and 34% of ad hoc marketers." 

As AgileSherpas Co-founder Andrea Fryrear wrote in her company's report: "There’s no denying we’re making our way towards the peak of marketing agility, but there’s still a lot of mountain ahead of us." 

If you're wondering how you can bring a more agile approach to your email creation process, be sure to check out stensul's Email Creation Maturity Model, our guide for assessing and improving your email marketing programs. It offers a comprehensive manual  to determine where you currently stand when it comes to email maturity levels and what you can do to adopt a more agile approach within your email creation processes. 

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