Enterprise Solutions Tag

Businesses today rely on being able to analyze large amounts of data to monitor performance and inform their decision making. An IT-governed business intelligence platform ensures that information technology is used intelligently to further the goals of the business. However, IT-governed BI platforms have both pros and cons for an organization. Let’s take a look at which solutions are the best options for IT-governed and non-IT-governed data environments.

What is an IT-Governed BI Platform?

An IT-governed BI platform allows IT to control the flow of data through an organization. This means that users see only the data that is most relevant to them. The platform allows the business to use this data to support better business decision making. Analytics software solutions allow businesses to analyze data and draw conclusions that can help to guide strategic and operational decision making. When you have a clear view of what is going on in all areas of your organization, you can make better-informed decisions that make the most of all the resources in your business.

The Advantages of Having an IT-Governed BI Platform

Using an IT-governed BI platform has many advantages for a business. The analytics and insights that IT-governed BI can provide help businesses to make data-driven decisions that are based on facts, not guesswork. An IT-governed approach changes the role of IT within an organization, redefining it as working toward the achievement of business objectives. Too often, IT ends up struggling to meet the challenges of dwindling resources and responding to a seemingly never-ending stream of problems. An IT-governed BI platform aims to fundamentally shift the approach, giving the IT department a central role in driving important decisions by empowering it to use conclusions drawn from data.

The Disadvantages of Having an IT-Governed BI Platform

Not every business is able to make an IT-governed BI platform work. Some businesses simply do not provide their IT departments with the resources they need to take on the role demanded by this type of platform. If your company is not ready to invest in the resources necessary to make an IT-governed BI platform work for your business, you need to be aware that the benefits provided by this type of platform could be very limited.

To IT Govern or Not to IT Govern: Which is Right For Your Business?

IT governance is one option for companies that are keen to use data analytics and business intelligence to drive their decision making and strategy setting processes. However, IT governing is not always the right approach for every organization. When making the decision over whether to IT govern or not to IT govern, it is a good idea to get a consultant partner on board to guide your decision making. Contact LeapPoint today to find out how we can drive innovation in your organization and help you get the results you want.

To compete in the world of dynamic and disrupted digital markets your organization needs to develop the right technology and IT strategy for success. Here are 5 steps to building a better IT strategy for your organization:

1. Traditional or agile?

You’ve heard time and time again the difference between agile and traditional approaches, but do you know which method your organization needs?

Traditional IT Strategy

The traditional approach to developing a new technology strategy involves a structured and sequential process that produces a long-term view of the organization’s technology requirements together with a plan for meeting these needs. Technology strategies developed using the classic approach have a 3- to 5-year time horizon in line with your organization’s vision and business strategy. But focusing purely on long-term goals and plans could actually limit the organization’s ability to respond to the inevitable changes in its markets that will happen over much shorter timescales. Long-term technology plans run the risk of diverging from the actual business needs, which inevitably change and evolve over time.

It’s important to acknowledge, though, the traditional approach to technology strategy has many strengths, and it can serve your organization very well if used in the right circumstances.

Agile IT strategy

The agile approach to technology strategy is based on many of the same activities as the traditional approach but with some key differences that take into account the need for speed and flexibility. The agile technology strategy requires a collaborative and interactive approach with IT personnel working side-by-side with staff from other areas of the business during every step of the process. Additionally, architecture plays a key role in this approach – it’s assumed that the organization’s current architecture is already documented and maintained as changes are made and that architectural principles and standards are established and are used to guide decisions made about technology initiatives.

2. Create your IT mission

IT missions are a great way to highlight cultural points that are of particular importance to the IT department. When formulating an IT mission, remember:

  • It should align with your defined corporate mission.
  • Create a set of simple guiding principles that will drive daily decision making. A great IT mission ought to be used in the recruiting process to gauge cultural fit; it should be used as part of the evaluation of staff; it should even be used to gauge fit of strategic vendor partners.
  • It should be created with at least a five-year time horizon in mind.

 

3. Work with your enterprise

No industry or organization exists that isn’t impacted by technology. Moreover, there is no division of the company that doesn’t need technology to implement its strategies. So, it’s essential that IT engages the rest of the leaders of the company early enough that the plans can still be shaped.

The best way to engage leaders outside of IT is to talk to them about the future. Remember, the conversations don’t have to be explicitly about technology – technology is the “how” or the means of getting to the ends. It’s more important to address the “what” first. If possible, IT should push department leaders to leverage a common framework so that strategic plans line up at the same level of clarity and granularity. By using a common framework, each department plan can be compared, and your organization’s IT team will be able to identify where common themes exist and suggest single solutions.

4. Develop IT’s own strategy

With IT’s mission firmly in mind, and with the insights garnered from having helped shape the strategies of the other divisions of the company and at the enterprise level, IT must develop its own plan. In addition to the inputs from the rest of the company, IT should conduct research into rising general IT trends such as:

  • More sophisticated and persistent cyber threats
  • The innovation of technology at a staggering pace
  • Clients expecting even more from IT
  • The war for technical talent
  • Industry volatility

 

Once the strategy is created, it is essential that the dots be connected with the initiatives and processes that IT will develop and deploy respectively.

5. Don’t discount the power of change management

“Change is good” is a common statement, especially in the digital transformation era, but you would be surprised by the number of well-formulated IT strategies that don’t end up generating the value anticipated because the plans are not communicated well, leading to only a few people driving the strategy forward effectively.

Change management is critical to the success of business technology programs geared towards realizing the mission and vision of an organization. To encourage positive and sustainable change across your organization’s departments, learn the 6 change management strategies that’ll help you avoid burnout and improve digital transformation adoption.

While many companies are moving toward DevOps processes and tools that fit that framework, few are actually implementing the workflow with the fidelity needed to make teams more productive, according to a Thursday report from 2nd Watch.

Implementing DevOps means fundamentally changing your software engineering process. As with any change of process, success depends on how well the people making the change embrace the principles of the new approach. If people reject, subvert, or undermine the DevOps philosophy, it will fail. Here are six of the most common reasons for DevOps failure, along with tips to increase your chance of success.

1. Creating a traditional “DevOps Department”

78% of the 1,000 IT professionals surveyed said that their organizations continue to have separate teams for managing infrastructure/operations and development—meaning that DevOps is still not fully underway. DevOps involves a collaboration between development, operations, and quality assurance teams. Creating a traditional DevOps department misses the point of making a transition to a DevOps mindset, and is likely to simply add more red tape to existing processes.

This is the opposite of what DevOps should accomplish. Yes, a DevOps implementation requires leadership, but that’s not the same thing as traditional, department-based management. Your DevOps strategy should be implemented as a framework in which your development and operations staff can begin to interoperate, not as a new department that’s tasked with overseeing these disparate groups and somehow forcing them to work together. Focus on getting teams to improve their communication with people working in other departments. In this way, it is possible to assign tasks to the right teams so that every task is completed at the correct point in the overall project workflow.

2. Failing to properly consider staff workloads and other resources

If your developers are already overworked, this might not be the best time to start a dramatic overhaul of their working processes. Before you spring a DevOps implementation on your team, take the time to quantify their workloads and measure performance metrics, so you can see whether individuals are coping with the demands your organization places on them. If you come across an unmanageable boost in workload, you can either re-prioritize the workload or hire new resources to address the staff shortage before you can start your DevOps implementation.

3. Setting unrealistic goals

Never underestimate how big a culture shock DevOps can be in an organization that currently uses a silo structure. You cannot expect everyone to immediately adapt to the change and deliver excellent performance from day one. Be realistic about how long a DevOps implementation is likely to take and set short-term and long-term goals accordingly. And remember: The larger your enterprise is, the longer this transformation is going to take.

4. Creating “hybrid” DevOps while keeping old structures

Some organizations try to reduce the culture shock of DevOps implementation by keeping the business’s old structures intact. However, giving into pushback from developers in this way can undermine the implementation. Rather than keeping the old culture intact, one solution is to build a true hybrid structure that keeps IT operations and development teams in their traditional silos but implements an agile methodology.

5. Misunderstanding the role of business owners

The role of a business owner is to make top-level strategic decisions about the way in which the business is run. It is not to micromanage everything that goes on in the company. While a business owner can decide that the company would benefit from implementing DevOps, they cannot always control how individuals and teams put the principles of DevOps into practice. Rather than trying to impose a new way of doing things, business owners should be willing to listen to the concerns of developers and IT operations employees and find solutions that help them to work more effectively within a DevOps framework.

6. Not embracing a culture where failure is tolerated

Transitioning to DevOps is, first, a cultural shift, and then a process and organizational shift. If you’re considering DevOps simply because “it’s the future”, rather than out of a desire to fundamentally rebuild and improve your business processes, success is highly unlikely.

A key part of the DevOps methodology is failure. Developers should not be afraid to admit to mistakes, particularly when talking about failures could be a vital learning experience for the whole team. When implementing DevOps, be sure to nurture a culture where failure is tolerated.

In our buzzword-heavy industry, it isn’t uncommon to believe that some keywords can have the same meaning – for example, data management and information management. Is there a difference between the two? After all, data is information — right? Well, yes and no.

What is Data?

Data is defined as, “Qualitative or quantitative attributes of a variable or set of variables.” Data is more than one such attribute value. Is data information? Yes, information is provided by data but only because data is always specified in some abstract setting. The setting includes:

  • The class to which the attribute belongs
  • The object which is a member of that class
  • Some ideas about object operations or behavior, and relationships to other objects and classes.

Data alone and in the abstract does not provide information.

What is Information?

Information is described as, “that which informs — the answer to a question of some kind. It is thus related to data and knowledge, as data represents values attributed to parameters, and knowledge signifies understanding of real things or abstract concepts.”
Data in its most basic digital format does not provide information. But when it’s combined with other data or is manipulated in some way, that’s when the organization derives value from the information — which then leads to knowledge.

Information Management vs Data Management

The process of information management involves the collecting, maintaining, and storing of information in every available format. When thinking about information management, it is the process of managing individuals whereby the technology and processes are providing control over the delivery, processing, structure, and usage of the information required for business and management purposes. No matter if the informational format is physical or electronic information, the organizational structure must have the capability of managing its information, as well as deliver to multiple channels throughout its life cycle.

Data management is a subset of information management. Data management takes the information a company has and ensures the data is accurate, available, secure, and complete. The process involves the facilitation of a variety of techniques providing that there is control over data from the time of its creation until the time of its deletion. Examples of data management include creating data governance policies, database management system integration, architecture and analysis, and data source identification and data security to name a few.

Why Both Matter to Your Business

When you utilize information and data management, you’re less likely to experience issues with loss of data, use of outdated information, security issues, breaches occurring, or mishandling of information or data. It’s critical for your company to work with contractors with a firm understanding of how to manage both – information and data- to ensure the smooth operation of your business practices with minimal risks.

By understanding the nuances of information management and data management, you can identify gaps in your approach and create a framework that drives high-quality data and, from this, more informed decision-making.

Enterprise DevOps. On the surface, it seems like the right answer to keeping business objectives running at optimum levels. But when your IT team dives a little deeper, the complexities rise to the surface and progress stalls before it even has a chance to begin.

Before you dive into a DevOps initiative, ask yourself the following questions:
  • Can your current tools address security and application monitoring for maximum visualization for informed decision making?
  • Can your current infrastructure leverage the cloud?
  • What type of containers will be utilized for deployment anytime, anywhere?
  • How will you utilize automation to ensure stable and scalable deployments?
  • IT teams will support internal systems that employees use. How will you cultivate a collaborative culture between development and support teams?
Whether you’re launching a DevOps initiative internally or seeking help from a third party, starting with the right infrastructure is critical to your success. Before you take the first step, begin with a thorough system evaluation to ensure an end-result with a seamless workflow, end-to-end transparency, and holistic reporting.

DevOps: System Evaluation Overview

Automation Tools

End-to-end workflow automation is a critical part of any DevOps toolkit. These tools should enable your team to submit requests effortlessly, sync & export documents, and integrate financials when necessary.

Configuration

Syncing information between systems; the ability to create custom workflow events and triggers; and aggregate all your data for secure analysis, reporting and sharing is a critical part of DevOps. Evaluate current configuration tools and systems for their ability to work with the other components of your system.

Intelligence

DevOps tools include a healthy mix of intelligent solutions that can provide both analytics and security monitoring, capacity planning, and availability and performance. Features like cross-platform syncing, data aggregation from different systems, available in a web-based platform are critical to intelligent processes.

Cloud & Virtualization

The best DevOps toolkits include a hosting environment that eases application installations and configures security easily. In advanced cases, application support and managed administration services are required. Platforms like Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, & Amazon Web Services are the best place to begin, but access and knowledge of cloud add-ons are critical to collaborative DevOps environments.

DevOps Solutions

If your infrastructure lacks the systems and tools listed above, it doesn’t mean you can’t begin moving toward DevOps solutions right away. Custom software solutions are available to bring your infrastructure up to a healthy mix of orchestration and automation tools.
While there are plenty of great SaaS options out there, they are inherently designed to meet the needs of the masses, and the heart of DevOps is using software to do exactly what it is you need. If you’re going to evaluate a SaaS option, look for all of the following features before you start a trial:
  • Platform Synchronization
  • Eliminates Manual Processes
  • Data Storage, Accessibility & Security
  • Workflow Automation w/ Event Triggers
  • Robust data Analysis w/Data Aggregation
Powerful all-in-one solutions can help you get started on the right track, and an expert consulting team can work behind the scenes to bring development projects and add-ons up to standard.
Once you’ve evaluated your company’s preparedness to implement a DevOps initiative, don’t forget about culture preparedness. DevOps implementation and changes should establish a culture that learns and changes, together. The most critical asset in your business—your people—should receive the same level of attention as other areas. Planning a people strategy while preparing your infrastructure for DevOps will ensure long-term success.

Organizations need agility to craft and distribute useful marketing messages that can convert in a highly segmented, fickle marketplace. With seemingly countless marketing solutions now available, the advent of the ad stack – both independent and platform-based – is in full swing. Of the many different options available, an innovative solution from one of the digital environment’s older and well-established names is leading the charge for comprehensive, flexible, vertically integrated marketing suites that is redefining the industry – Adobe.

Adobe’s Marketing Cloud at a Glance

Available on a subscription basis with several optional components that range in specialty from Adobe’s creative foundation to analytics platforms, campaign management tools, and social media integration, Marketing Cloud aims to be a one-stop shop for organizations needing a comprehensive solution without relying on different vendors.

Using the universal Adobe interface as the basis for most of the component UIs, Adobe takes full advantage of its popularity to create an immediate sense of familiarity between the user and the many different parts available within the platform. Perhaps more importantly, however, organizations can choose which of those components are necessary for their specific needs, not forced to subscribe to unneeded functions that would increase costs and complexity.

As a direct competitor to similar platforms from both digital titans like Google and Yahoo as well as ad stacks from specialized vendors, Adobe’s Marketing Cloud shines with its ability to seamlessly combine immersive, engaging, customized creative with the distribution channels most impactful in reaching a highly segmented audience with wide-ranging affinities. Its analytical tools allow organizations to track results in real time, measuring effectiveness through the ever-important metrics needed to inform and guide the campaign amongst a crowded and complicated marketplace.

Although a streamlined and efficient ad stack solution for any organization requiring a considerable degree of vertical integration, those that are unfamiliar with the classic Adobe UI face a steep learning curve that, while in no way too great of a barrier to prevent proper implementation and usage, can be somewhat overwhelming at first. With an abundance of training materials available as well as outstanding customer service, however, Adobe’s Marketing Cloud should always be on the short list of options for organizations in search of a potent ad stack that blends utility with convenience, power with flexibility.

Is Adobe’s Marketing Cloud Right for You?

As compelling a solution as Adobe’s Marketing Cloud can be for most organizations; it’s not the only solution available. In fact, when an organization is in need of a new ad stack platform, the decision should always begin with a choice between a comprehensive, unified platform and an independent ad stack built of several best-in-breed vendors that are market leaders in specific functions but don’t necessarily work well in conjunction with one another.

Simply put, organizations must choose between a high degree of convenience and efficiency versus maximum ability. For instance, if an organization needs a comprehensive analytical platform that specializes in isolating and analyzing nuanced metrics, they might be best served to build an independent ad stack built around a specialized analytics platform. In this case, while a vertically integrated solution like the Adobe Marketing Cloud is abundantly useful and more than adequate for the vast majority of organizations, it’s analytical abilities might fall short of this highly specialized need.

For organizations looking for a combination of power and convenience, the Adobe Marketing Cloud is writing a new ad stack narrative, one that effectively addresses nearly all of the marketing needs for the majority of companies within the marketplace. Organizations no longer have to choose between ability and efficiency.

Salesforce released its Einstein platform to the public in Spring 2017, giving the average user access to powerful CRM with promised AI predictive analytic powers. The release came with a tidal wave of hype, promising revolutionary changes to marketing departments. Companies have had time to implement Einstein for a period of months, so accurate reviews are in. Experts believe that Salesforce Einstein is an excellent tool with a number of useful analytic uses. While it isn’t entirely stand-alone, the basic platform does more than simply complete data-based applications. Einstein probably deserves about 80 percent of the original hype. As stats go, that’s not bad.

The Hype

Salesforce hailed its own product by announcing that “The world’s No. 1 CRM is now the world’s smartest CRM . . .” The company also emphasized Einstein didn’t need the major customization that other similar platforms required because it contained “state-of-the-art algorithms built directly into the Salesforce Intelligent Customer Platform . . .” You get the picture. What was already a premier product would now usher marketing into the promised land of predictive data, and ultimately, finalized sales, enchanted customers, and home-grown marketing gurus.

The Reality

Salesforce Einstein Analytics Platform costs $75 per month per user, approximately the same price as Adobe Creative Cloud, which features Adobe Sensei. For that reasonable price, you get many features, including advanced sales and service apps. You can use them to analyze data from any source up to 100 million data rows, according to Salesforce. You can also create your own custom apps and dashboards and have access to all the online training you need. The platform isn’t as advanced as others, but it provides an advantage to companies without their own data geniuses on staff. It takes time to set up and manage effectively, despite the rosy predictions on the Salesforce site.

AI Capacity

Some experts say that Einstein doesn’t include actual “cognitive computing” (AI) but instead uses machine learning (ML). However, the company’s partnerships with Watson and other industry leaders provide Einstein users with impressive analytic power. For marketing departments, the pertinent question isn’t “Is this ‘real’ AI?”, but “How does it help us do our jobs?”

The machine learning allows the program to study data and determine, for itself, how to predict the future. Einstein constantly analyzes new data and makes model adjustments, determining what tasks you need to address next in your marketing efforts. Einstein can tell you which sales prospect is “most likely to close” and also sort a mailing list according to who’s most likely to open your email.

Einstein goes way beyond simply organizing data. It can, on a daily basis, make your sales department more efficient and effective. Whether it’s defined as actual AI probably won’t affect you or your employees.

Other Features

Salesforce offers other advanced features. For instance, your company can also use the Product Identification feature to manage inventory and improve sales potential. In addition, the Brand Detection feature helps your marketing department learn more about customer preferences and offers tools to refine sales campaigns. The technology also offers features that increase customer satisfaction. Visual search employs visual filters that let consumers find products that meet their needs. They can also take product photos and find out where they’re available.

Nuts and Bolts

Salesforce touts Einstein as a way to democratize AI. You don’t have to have your own data scientist to join the marketing analytic revolution. It’s not as simple as subscribing to the service, however. While many features are packaged in easy-to-use Cloud applications, customizing it for your particular company takes a little work and some online training. Yes, it’s pretty easy to use, but like any platform, it requires study and practice, particularly on the part of admins to fully use it. You have to build a model for your business and also refine your data so you get the best results. In short: Excellence in, excellence out.

Company Success

Salesforce boasts a number of high-profile success stories, and these online testimonials pack a punch. Companies such as Adidas, AWS, US Bank and Farmer’s Insurance are on record praising Salesforce offerings.

Kone, a leader in escalators, elevators and moving walkways, used Salesforce Einstein in conjunction with IBM Watson to build a customer-centered company in lieu of a hardware-centered one, allowing them to thrive around the world. They attribute much of their recent success to the Salesforce platform.

The Bottom Line

Salesforce has been a wildly successful Cloud Computing, CRM-based company for some time, but their addition of Einstein to their customer offerings has enhanced their business and made AI (really machine learning) more available to the those who aren’t data experts.

Einstein is not the most advanced platform you can choose, and you may need to pair it with Watson or add other Salesforce products to reach the productivity level that you desire. Still, experts in the industry rank it pretty high as a tool that helps most marketing departments. Will it unleash marketing magic on its own? No. But it will give more power to your marketing efforts. For companies looking for predictive analytics, Einstein is worth a try.

Have you ever been working in a Workfront project and needed to find the point of contact or name of the person who originally submitted the request? If so, you’ve probably also experienced the annoyance of having to navigate back to the original request just to find that information. As you’ve probably already guessed if you read the title, there’s a much simpler way. With a little easy set-up on the front end you can save yourself some serious aggravation.

 

  • Add a calculated field to the request custom form
  • Give the field a name
  • Set the format type as needed (for all the list fields below the format will be “Text”)
  • Add the appropriate issue calculation in the calculation area (see listing below) and click Save
  • Add the same calculated field to the corresponding project custom form
  • In the calculation area enter the name of the calculated field and click Save

 

And that’s it! Pretty easy, huh? So what these calculations are going to do is create a field on the issue form that references a native issue object (project queue, original requestor, etc.) and—since a field can’t self-reference—the project calculation will point to the same field on the only possible related object: the request. Repeat the above process for any additional data points you want to capture.

 

Requestor name

Field name: Original Requestor

Issue calculation: Owner.Name

Project calculation: Original Requestor

 

Queue project

Field name: Queue Project

Issue calculation: Project.Name

Project calculation: Queue Project

 

Parent request type

Field name: Parent Request Type

Issue calculation: Queue Topic.Parent Topic Group.Name

Project calculation: Parent Request Type

 

Request type

Field name: Request Type

Issue calculation: Queue Topic.Name

Project calculation: Request Type

 

Requestor company

Field name: Requestor Company

Issue calculation: Owner.Company.Name

Project calculation: Requestor Company

 

Request reference number

Field name: Request Reference Number

Issue calculation: Reference Number

Project calculation: Request Reference Number

 

Primary contact

Field name: Request Primary Contact

Issue calculation: Primary Contact

Project calculation: Request Primary Contact

 

 

Blockchain is a pretty popular buzzword these days. The sudden boom of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin brought a lot of attention to the technology. Blockchain is much more than just a buzz, however, and it’s becoming very apparent it has the power to change the way business is done in nearly every industry — from banking to SEO.

What Is Blockchain?

It’s a complicated technology, but essentially a blockchain is an immutable, decentralized ledger. That means that instead of a sole third-party record keeper, every party to a blockchain would have a record much like a spreadsheet. As transactions occur, the spreadsheets are simultaneously updated. If someone falsifies data on their spreadsheet, the blockchain would notice the discrepancy from the majority of the records and nullify the bad data. Because it’s nearly impossible to alter the data on all the ledgers, a blockchain is a very secure way to verify and move or exchange assets. It also creates a permanent trail from start to finish. That trail can guarantee the legitimacy of key aspects of SEO — determining if web traffic is human or bot, detecting black hat methods much more easily and reducing the staggering amount of money lost to digital ad fraud.

Link Building

Link building has long been an important part of SEO. That doesn’t mean the same tactics that applied in the 90’s can work today. For example, it’s possible to see some ranking boost from blog comment linking, but those look more like spam every day and their weighting is significantly less than it used to be. Natural link building has long been the most effective strategy. Blockchain will make it way easier for the major search engines to detect and penalize any website they catch buying paid links. Though it’s discouraged today, enforcement is difficult and under-utilized.

Verified Data

User interaction data matters a lot. It’s helpful to your marketing team and necessary for web crawlers to rank your site. That data can be diluted by bot traffic and hurt your rankings. Implementing a blockchain solution can verify human traffic and separate it from the bots, giving you better insights and higher rankings. Paid digital advertising is full of fraud because it’s currently impossible to tell if an ad was clicked by a human or bot. Blockchain technology is a very viable solution to this multi-billion dollar a year problem by connecting advertisers directly with verified potential customers.

Keyword Research

It’s difficult to determine just how a keyword plays out in different settings. The results vary across devices, location, users etc. With a token incentive, keyword research could utilize background space on thousands of devices to create an in-depth aggregate of data-heavy results.

 

While the full impacts are still uncertain at this junction, it’s not likely to be long before technology leaders start to leverage blockchain as a means for securing and processing interactions as much as they do transactions. And that means that you, as a marketer, have a whole new ballgame to learn. Thankfully, it’s likely to be one that rewards good SEO habits and practices, stamps out bad, and works to create a more democratic playing field.

Three ways to know if agile marketing is right for your business

With the growing competition in the marketplace, brands from every sector are looking for new ways to be innovative and rise above the fray. Innovation means not only a willingness to implement change but also an openness to trying new approaches to doing business.

For marketers, this can be exceedingly challenging. Marketing professionals in top businesses across the globe are constantly keeping tabs on changes in their industry and working to identify new ways to get ahead of the competition. This includes studying marketing trends, analyzing the wealth of data that is currently available about consumers, and tapping all available resources to launch new marketing campaigns.

With the highly competitive nature of today’s global economy, it’s difficult to know what strategies can help your business beat the competition. That’s why marketing professionals are turning to agile marketing. This concept, which was born in the information technology industry, has implications for the business world. Agile marketing offers a new way of thinking about business, with concepts that can be applied across the organization to produce better outcomes.

If you want to know if agile marketing is a good fit for your business, take a look at your company and ask yourself these three questions.

How easily does your business respond to change?

While many marketers rely on techniques that are tried and true, this method calls for something entirely different. To take advantage of agile marketing, companies need to monitor the success of their business activities and be prepared to change. This method of marketing calls for validated learning over conventional thinking, prioritizing the kind of customer engagement that has the data to back it up. You’ll need to create marketing plans for both the short-term and the long-term, as well as the middle ground, and make adjustments as you go, using the insights gained from digital marketing analytics.

Agile marketing is best when teams can be flexible in their marketing work and quick to adapt. There is still a role for managers to play, but the business will need to be flexible in order to accommodate changing priorities. With this approach, small marketing experiments can take businesses further than large initiatives that can’t be adjusted down the road.

Can your team identify and adapt to customer desires?

At its heart, agile marketing is about putting the customer first and responding proactively to the changing habits and desires of consumers. This means you’ll need to view your relationship with customers as a collaborative one, where their input on your products, services and marketing efforts hold just as much weight as the expert opinions on your own team.

By implementing agile marketing, you’ll be able to discover a clean customer profile and learn a lot about what consumers want from your company. This will take a higher priority than business predictions, because the marketing method centers on meeting customer needs and adapting the marketing to better suit the customer. This could mean changing marketing and media platforms, using more direct campaigns, adding value to products and services, or adjusting your business plan to suit consumer needs. It may also mean new processes, evaluations and surveys, and reiterations of existing business marketing strategies. They key is to keep the changing desires of the customer at the center of the work you do.

What resources within your organization can support agile marketing?

Before you begin the journey into agile marketing, ask yourself if your business is ready for agile marketing. Take a look at the leaders and teams within your organization, and determine whether they adapt well to change and whether they have the tools they need in order to make major adjustments. Managers and marketing professionals at every level will need to feel empowered to respond to customer opinions, and your business will need to have a high degree of flexibility in order to make agile marketing work.

As a team, you will still need a strategic vision, but you should plan to revisit the vision at each major milestone, in order to determine whether the new strategy is working. You’ll also need to make sure you are properly staffed to handle frequent releases of updated products, services or materials. Your team should be prepared to work collaboratively and with a high degree of respect for one another, while also moving through several learning cycles in order to find out what tactics are most effective. You’ll also need to have team members on staff who can provide support, provide a thorough understanding of data analytics, and keep in frequent contact with the customer. The data will help reveal possible steps forward and the customer feedback will tell you if you’re new approach of agile marketing is working for them.

Agile marketing calls for flexible leadership, business and marketing innovation, and a commitment to the customer, all driven by data and evidence of changing trends. It will require constant change, reliable problem-solving, and agility from the entire team. The end result for teams who can successfully implement agile marketing is a competitive advantage that is unique to the company, which will lead to enhanced customer appreciation and loyalty.