Any organization that’s modernizing to digitally transform and succeed in today’s highly competitive, fast-paced digital era is likely taking a closer look at agile processes and methodologies, if not already using them. Either way, they’ll have to grapple with the culture challenge. That’s because agile processes call for new ways of planning and executing more rapid development cycles that are iterative, tested, continuous, and scalable.

Culture has typically played a significant part in an organization’s ability to embrace new business models, processes and technologies. But just how important is culture in digital transformation? According to an article published by Forbes last summer, up to 84% of companies’ digital transformation efforts fail to deliver expected benefits because of culture problems–lack of leadership, poor strategy and commitment, lack of buy-in and a heavier focus on goals than adoption of a new digitally enabled business model.

Success becomes more attainable when organizations implement the cultural changes needed to support a more digital and interconnected business. These changes can include transparency, increased collaboration and teamwork, inclusivity, and adaptability. Specifically, it can include the use of methods and practices that leverage DevOps, agile, cloud-based computing, and more rapid integration of data and applications.

To become a digital company that is flexible and agile enough to proactively respond to rapidly changing technologies, shifting business, and customers’ ever-shifting expectations–which of course is driving the need to digitally transform–organizations have to rethink how they operate. Change starts at the top, and requires leadership to prioritize and guide organizational transformation.

A 2019 Red Hat survey of decision makers, including IT architects, developers, managers, directors, and C-level execs, sheds some light on just where organizations are in their transformation to their culture and processes.

Agile is a top priority  

At the time of survey publication, the most common application development change in the prior 12 month period was a switch to agile development. A quarter of respondents said they plan on implementing new DevOps processes within the following 12 months. Close behind, 23% of respondents said were moving to agile processes and adopting continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD).

These survey results indicate organizations are investing in agile processes. But does adopting agile processes lead to success in their digital transformation initiatives? Agile processes are a means to an end, but are companies achieving the outcomes they’re hoping for?

Digital transformation initiatives, and their success, involve far more than agile processes. But it’s interesting–and obvious, too–that both digital transformation initiatives and agile processes require culture change.

The lesson here could be that as organizations continue to evolve their agile processes and integration–as part of their overall digital transformations–they’ll need to put an emphasis on culture change. Start with leadership, and provide the information and knowledge necessary for IT teams to understand agile methodology and its benefits to the organization’s overall strategic goals and digital journey. Then, work with small, well-defined projects that can showcase the benefits of the approach. When these projects deliver successes, you can begin to garner support across the organization for process change.

Read the entire survey to delve more deeply into organizations’ digital transformation initiatives and their challenges and progress in making changes to culture and processes.

About the author

Deon Ballard is a product marketing manager focusing on customer experience, adoption, and renewals for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the foundation for open hybrid cloud. In previous roles at Red Hat, Ballard has been a technical writer, doc lead, and content strategist for technical documentation, specializing in security technologies such as NSS, LDAP, certificate management, and authentication / authorization, as well as cloud and management. She also wrote and edited the Middleware Blog for Red Hat and led portfolio solution marketing for integration and business automation.

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