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April 2012, Iss. 1

Building smarter, faster systems for real-time benefits

The ability to respond faster to market changes has always been an imperative in a competitive marketplace. Today’s businesses have the advantage of technology to help deliver real-time information and automate processes—both keys to true business agility. However, IT systems themselves must also be smarter and faster, and the pressure is on IT to deliver. “Business agility is the capability to adjust how the business works in response to change in the environment, such as customer needs, competitors’ actions and things that happen within the company itself,” said W. Roy Schulte, a vice president and distinguished analyst for Gartner Inc. He defines two types of agility: process agility and instance agility. “Process agility is being able to change something in a business process because the process doesn’t work right,” Schulte said. Instance agility means that “you can change each instance of the business process, but the process doesn’t change.” An example of instance agility is in an automobile assembly line in which each car...

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