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The relentless pursuit of efficiency no longer yields the profits it once did because it requires a level of business predictability that no longer exists. In our high change, global economy responsiveness now trumps efficiency. The agile enterprise is an organization that uses responsiveness to make profits from a hundred small adjustments every day and from occasional big wins as opportunities arise. Soon, those companies that cannot make money from a hundred small adjustments and some occasional big wins will hardly be profitable at all.

Learn the three key operating processes employed by the agile enterprise and see how they work together to deliver the responsiveness that generates profits in a high change economy. See strategies for the innovative and pragmatic use of people, process and technology that enable the agile enterprise to emerge. Case study examples from the author’s own experience are provided to illustrate a proven and practical approach for organizations that wish to become agile and the benefits they will reap from doing so.

What they are saying about this book

This book is a must read for anyone considering changing the project or development paradigm in their company to be more responsive. Mike Hugos provides simple, straight forward ideas, concepts, examples and exhibits that have you nodding your head in agreement page after page. Each time you finish a section you are asking yourself “why aren’t we doing more of this?” He not only gives you very concise steps and actions that will help you attain both IT and business agility, but makes it clear that you need to create a mindset and culture shift that is absolutely attainable. His practical approach and methodologies to attaining agility is actually agile in itself.
--Frank W. Enfanto, Vice President,
Blue Cross Blue Shield, Massachusetts

In today’s global marketplace, the emphasis for any organization must be on responsiveness to changing market conditions. Ignore this fact and your organization will be in a race to the bottom. With this book Michael succinctly describes the challenges facing businesses today as they struggle to adapt to the dynamic global economy. He provides a clear roadmap for becoming more responsive, agile, and ultimately better positioned to deal with the one business constant we all face, change.
--Ken Burbary, SVP, Campbell Ewald, Inc.


This book is the product of years of reading, thinking, doing, talking with others, and more doing. My aim is to create a concise and highly readable discourse on the topic of business agility.
     In a hyper-competitive global economy such as the one that is now emerging, the relentless quest for efficiency will work for only the two or three most efficient players in any industry. What then will all the other companies in those industries do to survive and even thrive? The answer for them is to be “efficient enough,” but then concentrate, instead of just on efficiency, on responsiveness, for that’s where real competitive advantage lies in the 21st century.
     By being responsive to the needs and desires of specific groups of customers, companies can wrap their products and services in a blanket of value-added services to consistently earn an additional two to four percent (and sometimes more) in gross margin than they would otherwise earn for the product or service alone. This customer and market specialization is the most promising and the most sustainable source of profits in our fluid, real-time economy.
     I have had the opportunity to put many of the ideas in this book to actual use in business situations and found out what works and what does not. The material presented here is a mix of both theory and practice based on real world experience.

Michael Hugos
Chicago, Illinois USA

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. A Most Amazing Innovation                  11

Definition of the Agile Enterprise  ·  It’s Already Happening  ·  Efficiency Versus Responsiveness  ·  The Great Game of Business  ·  The Promise of Business Agility

Chapter 2. Theory of the Agile Enterprise               35

The Roots of the Idea  ·  Who’s Agile and Who’s Not  · The End of Control As We Know It  ·  Responsiveness Trumps Efficiency  ·  Toward an Agile Operating Strategy  ·  Use People and Computers Each for Their Strengths  ·  Agile Systems for Agile Operations  ·  A Key Competency for Business Executives

Chapter 3. Becoming Agile                                          67

Structure of the Agile Organization  ·  It’s Often Counterintuitive at First  ·  Networks Foster Agility  ·  Visibility is Your Friend  ·  Leadership for the Agile Organization  ·  Strategically Focused, Tactically Agile  ·  Serious Games

Chapter 4. Real World Examples                               93

Agility and Innovation in a Three-Step Process  ·  Show Them the Money – The Extra Few Percent  · Agility in Action – A Story of Customer Service  ·  The Robust 80% Solution  ·  The 30-Day Blitz

Appendix A: Measure Your Agility                           121

About the Author
Michael Hugos is a principal at the Center for Systems Innovation. He recently spent six years as Chief Information Officer at Network Services Company, an $8 billion distribution cooperative. He guided development and rollout of a suite of e-business and supply chain systems that changed their business model from an old-line distributor to a value-added provider of products and supply chain services. In 2003 and 2005 he was awarded the CIO 100 Award for this work and in 2006 he was awarded the Premier 100 Award for career achievement. Prior to this he was a practice director in e-business and supply chain management for Covansys, a global IT services provider.

He is a regular columnist for Computerworld and CIO magazine. His other books include: Building the Real-Time Enterprise: An Executive Briefing; Essentials of Supply Chain Management, 2nd Ed.; and CIO Best Practices: Enabling Strategic Value with Information Technology. He holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

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Meghan-Kiffer Press, 
Tampa, FL USA

Innovation at the Intersection of Business and Technology

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