I interviewed Jason Bloomberg who discussed Architecting for Business Agility.
Dustin: Nice to speak with you today, Jason, and I’m looking forward today to hearing your topic about architecting for business agility. Can you please start by providing a background of yourself?
Jason: Sure. I’m president of Intellyx, my new company focusing on architecting business agility in the enterprise. The idea is that business agility is a core business driver for enterprises around the world that are looking at all of these technology options available to them. Lots of buzzwords out there, lots of confusion, whether it’s cloud, big data, other technologies. What I do is provide an architectural approach for leveraging modern technology in furtherance of business agility. It’s a business problem-driven approach to technology.
Dustin: What is business agility?
Jason: The way I define business agility, basically, there are three parts of the definition. There is responsiveness. You want to be able to respond quickly and efficiently to, essentially, positive changes in the business environment; requests from customers and competitive pressures, et cetera. Resilience, which is responding to adverse events; essentially managing risks of adverse events, whether they are disruptions in the supply chain or security breaches, other adverse events. The most important is innovativeness, helping organizations understand what they need to do in order to innovate better, how they can leverage technology to gain a strategic advantage in their marketplace via introducing change, which is another way of saying innovation.
Dustin: How does this differ from supply chain agility?
Jason: If you’re looking at making a supply chain agile, the focus tends to be on speed and flexibility. You want to get anything, any weight states, anything slowing the supply chain down out of the supply chain in order to accelerate it, and then you want it to be flexible in response to competitive pressures or customer demands, et cetera. Those fall into responsiveness. Responsiveness is an important part of the agility story but doesn’t include the innovativeness part of the story. The challenge here is, well, how somebody, within the context of the supply chain, can understand the broader enterprise context, because there’s more than just the supply chain for the organization. It has to do with what you’re trying to do in order to differentiate yourself, whether it’s your products, your services, or other aspects of differentiation. That’s where innovation focuses. The challenge within the supply chain is to understand the broader enterprise context. Where is the innovation and how can the efficiency and speed of supply chain fit into this broader picture of technology-enabled business agility.
Dustin: Do you have any final recommendations regarding the topic of business agility and regarding supply chains?
Jason: Well, if you look at supply chain technology, supply chain software that’s out there, it tends to be purpose-built. It is built for specific challenges and then specific parts of the supply chain, whether it’s logistics software or retail-management software, whatever the particular part of the supply chain is. You’ll end up with focused software that is purpose-built for those particular challenges. The broader question is: How can we build and then leverage inherently flexible software that can support a broader set of challenges? How do we leverage modularity and reuse in order to build flexible solutions so that when the business comes to us and says, “We want to do new and different things. We want to roll out new products. We want to enter new markets. We want to deal with some sort of new transportation technology,” or some other force of change, how can we leverage our information technology to better meet those needs and to meet them in an efficient way where we don’t have to go back and buy more software or build more custom software every time the business needs something new? That’s the bigger challenge of technology-enabled business agility.
Dustin: Thanks, Jason, for sharing today.
Jason: Happy to help. My Web site is at Intellyx.com. I offer an agile architecture course around the world, so, by all means, come take my course.