What it means to be an adaptive organisation

An adaptive organisation is said to be one that has a dynamic ICT function supporting dynamic business functions. Its technology and human assets are intended to be leveraged and adjusted in concert with the business goals.

An adaptive organisation is said to be one that has a dynamic ICT function supporting dynamic business functions. Its technology and human assets are intended to be leveraged and adjusted in concert with the business goals.

METAmorphosis Africa 2004 conference aims to showcase Meta Group's roadmap for becoming an adaptive organisation. "For organisations to remain financially aligned and viable, enterprises must evolve to become adaptive organisations" aligning ICT capabilities, costs, and goals with those of the business.

Enterprises that are unable to adapt their ICT resources to shifting business conditions and cannot drive business adaptability through better management of their ICT assets, expenses, and overall risk will be devalued and disrespected," says Karen Rubenstrunk, executive vice-president and director, executive & industry services for Meta Group.

Becoming an adaptive organisation has a broad impact across the ICT organisation.

The following are the 10 concepts that organisations will find when they become adaptive, according to Rubenstrunk:

— Business processes that are adaptive are designed to adapt and integrate to drive new business opportunities and leverage technology in different ways.

— They will have the ability to adjust their use or cost of technology as business demand dictates, minimising high-fixed-cost environments that take months or years to alter when organisations need to reduce costs.

— They will have the ability to quickly assign a technology to another purpose that is more in line with current needs. No single application is bound so tightly to a single server that the server cannot be used for anything else. If that server has free cycles or the application has fluctuating demand, then those resources will be redeployed, in a timely manner, to another purpose.

— Technology is not bound by its physical limits. A server will become processing power, leveraged where processing power is needed. Storage devices will become storage capacity, leveraged when needed, without regard for physical boundaries or usage.

— Each application or service does not have to be built for its peak usage. Load sharing enables asset redeployment for long or short periods of use.

— A modular environment enables the option to selectively outsource capabilities (ICT or business process).

— Systems or processes are automatically updated (e.g., update systems when vendor-supplied updates are made available, automatically obtain data from suppliers).

— Comprehensive impact analysis for complex changes is automatically provided, enabling a more proactive view of conflicts, thereby increasing the change success rate.

— Shared technology is leveraged, enabling faster development and deployment of new applications or services, shifting to weeks from the current months and years. The shared componentry enables these new applications and services to integrate with others more easily, enabling new federated uses.

— Increased worker productivity through the use of technology.

Cost alignment is not just a matter of decreasing costs. Rather, it is about ensuring that costs are well understood and that they possess a larger variable component.

Every enterprise works to avoid excessive fixed costs; however, ICT organisations are saddled with high fixed costs that continue to escalate annually.

Although organisations have invested in capacity-on-demand infrastructure, the real benefit they have seen is the ability to quickly add capacity and keep it.

They not only lack the ability to reduce capacity in near real-time, but also often have no variable cost models in software to match. Additionally, the cost of developing new applications and services is difficult to measure.

Specifically, the cost of linking an organisation's technology (through use of integration technology) lacks clear insight on both ends, making it difficult to make instrumentation changes.

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