IT Shifts Required for Enterprise Agility (McKinsey Article)

This blog post is a Q&A based analysis of article published by McKinsey.


Any organization going towards Enterprise Agility will need to tackle five areas - strategy, structure, process, people, and technology.


This article is about technology.


What 5 IT Shifts are required to achieve Enterprise Agility?


How Shift 1 - From siloed IT department to cross-functional agile teams be successful?

  • Small teams with business, development and testing, site reliability engineering responsibility

  • Enable daily interactions and reduce handovers

  • Create segment tribes for specific business segments and product tribes develop product features

  • Establish Platform Tribes to preserve architectural consistency and IT cost efficiency

  • These platform tribes can provide automated self-service tools such as cybersecurity-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service, and data-as-a-service tribes


How Shift 2 - moving from a monolith IT core to granular applications and services isolated by APIs and owned by teams of teams be successful?

  • Some changes may cost changing in 15-30 systems. Replacing core systems is $50 million to $500 million cost over multiple years.

  • Let's identify most frequently changing functionalities (for e.g. such as customer-origination journeys, product catalogs or tariff modules, scoring engines, data models, or customer-facing journeys)

  • Set up dedicated BizDevOps teams to create granular and specialized services (often called microservices) with principle of 1 service 1 function

How Shift 3 - Sourcing and people: From outsourcing IT to strategic IT hiring balanced with partners and vendors be successful?

  • Ensure internal talent is available and build to continuous build and test MVPs

  • Radically increase the %age of coders

  • Build T-Shaped skills

  • Ask vendors to provide more and more API-accessible software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solutions that offer specific turnkey functionalities that can be consumed off the shelf

  • Get highly specialized and experienced talent on demand from vendors


How Shift 4 - Delivery process: From waterfall processes to continuous delivery can be successful?

  • Think - average organization release three to four major upgrades every year (faster ones among those do 10 max). Digital natives on other hand can do virtually at any time or any frequency

  • The secret to making this shift lies in automating tasks to enable frequent incremental releases

  • For e.g. An advanced international bank went a step further and created an internal platform as a service for developers. Each developer could access templates of services through a global portal and automatically access required infrastructure, CI/CD pipeline, security tooling, and API definition with a click of a button. This enabled developers to focus on coding actual business functionalities rather than wasting time on setting up pipelines and infrastructure configurations

  • Shift from waterfall to continuous Delivery is ultimate goal but in the journey release train can be an interim step


How Shift 5 - Infrastructure: From physical infrastructure to cloud, containers, and infrastructure as code be successful?

  • No discussion of deploying technology in an agile enterprise would be complete without mentioning cloud infrastructure—public, private, or hybrid.

  • Similar to automation, cloud infrastructure allows companies to obtain computing and storage capacity on demand, skipping bureaucratic procedures and spending seconds provisioning an environment instead of waiting for weeks.

  • For example, one Western European bank uses the cloud’s flexible capacity for hosting testing environments, an Eastern European bank uses it to host testing and production environments for selected apps and customer journeys in compliance with federal laws, and a European telecom has its entire API layer in the cloud

  • IT infrastructure tribe is typically responsible for this - Infrastructure as a code is most common request.


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Ref: The five core IT shifts of scaled agile organizations

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Reference: McKinsey - The five core IT shifts of scaled agile organizations

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