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Anchored Agility: How to Effectively Manage the Balance between Local Flexibility and Global Effeciency

Many organizations aspire to become more globally efficient by enhancing economies of scale and scope, and improving the sharing of knowledge and best practices across the enterprise.  Yet, the journey they take to reach these goals presents many challenges.  Organizational systems, processes, and IT need to be standardized and rationalized, which can lead to significant disruption.  Successfully navigating this disruption may lead to greater global efficiency, but this, too, may come at the cost of local flexibility.  The Advanced Practices Council report, "Anchored Agility: How to Effectively Manage the Balance between Local Flexibility and Global Efficiency," describes how organizations can simultaneously balance responsiveness at the local level with efficiency and control at the global level.  The optimal configuration of IT-enabled processes and systems plays a key role in this journey. 

The report draws on successes and failures at twelve large global organizations as they navigate the journey from relatively siloed structures to what the authors refer to as anchored agility - balancing local flexibility with global efficiency.  The researchers capture the lessons in five guiding principles:

1.            Start with processes before moving to data and then IT

2.            Implement and strategy of smart piloting

3.            Ensure top management support: from push to pull

4.            Institute strong and robust governance

5.            Sequence functionally from back to front office.

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