From Agile to Agility: The Evolution of Transformation in Latin American Organizations

Agility continues to have a great impact on transformation processes, providing benefits in terms of improving customer experience and increasing team engagement/engagement. As a result, we see an adoption of this new work philosophy in other areas such as Data & Analytics (48%), innovation (44%), HR (32%) and marketing (30%). These data come from a study conducted by NTT DATA and MIT Technology Review in Spanish.

NTT DATA released the results of its study «Agility in Latin America 2022: from Agile to Agility», conducted jointly with MIT Technology Review in Spanish.
This is the fifth edition of this research that, on this occasion, involved the testimony of 388 agile transformation leaders and agile experts from seven countries. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru.

The study found that the agile philosophy is increasingly present in the different areas of the Latin American organizations surveyed. Most of them are at an intermediate-high level in terms of the analysis of the maturity of key aspects for agility, which puts them one step away from being considered an agile organization. And 32% consider their company to be at a high level of maturity when it comes to dealing with uncertainty and contextual changes. Moreover, the focus of organizations is now on improving this adaptation by moving towards an Agility mindset.

«Companies must take quick action to respond to constant market changes, as well as the potential consequences on their business. In this scenario, agility has become a mechanism to thrive and survive. Now organizations in the region already understand the importance of the agile mindset and their mission is focused on going one step further, adopting it at all levels of the company: that is, making the leap from agile to agility,» said Victor Leon Marambio, Head of Agility Americas at NTT DATA.

The research sought to map the degree of maturity of agility in Latin American companies. Among the main findings, the following stand out:

  • 90% of the organizations state that their IT and/or software development areas adopted this way of working, which indicates that the technology areas drive the agile philosophy in companies. In addition, 48% of data & analytics areas already integrate this mentality.
  • New areas are joining the agile mentality for its benefits: 44% of innovation, 32% of HR and 30% of marketing.

On the other hand, the survey detected the following perceived benefits of agility:

  • 40% of organizations highlight its advantages in terms of the ability to adapt to changes in the environment.
  • 28% believe that agile practices improve customer experience.
  • 27% think they increase team commitment.

Organizational culture (72%), leadership style (69%) and silos between areas (66%) are the biggest challenges to integrating agility at all levels of companies in the region. Other obstacles are bureaucratic processes (62%) and resistance to change (61%).

As for future prospects, 57% of companies say that consolidating an adaptable, sustainable and autonomous scaling model will be the main challenge they face, while 53% say that talent management (recruitment, development and retention) remains a challenge.

Now that organizations already have the agile philosophy embedded in their DNA, at NTT DATA we understand that it is time to improve its adoption and value, moving from an agile approach to the concept of Agility. How do they differ? The former emphasizes the adoption of agile frameworks and software development processes, while the latter focuses on teams developing a new mindset that allows them to establish frameworks adaptable to different projects, processes and needs of the company. It also seeks to have an impact at a strategic level in the formulation of objectives.

«Latin American organizations are already adopting the agile practices needed to become market leaders in the region and effectively achieve organizational transformation. Despite the challenges they face, they are moving in the right direction to make the leap from agile to agility,» concluded Victor Leon Marambio, Head of Agile Americas at NTT DATA.