Let’s face it
Behavioral change is not easy. It’s hard enough to implement it when the outcome is measured on a scale of one. It is quite a different matter when you have to do so across a half-million-strong organization. But that was the target Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) set for itself to close out the second decade of the 21st century. To stay relevant to its clients and ahead of the disruption curve, TCS decided to become Enterprise Agile by 2020. And here’s how one central team both supported and demonstrated this change.
The vision of Enterprise Agile by 2020 that TCS pursued demands that transformation take place at scale. The move from agile as a development model to a methodology of work called for behavioral changes from a requirements-led, co-located design-development-delivery process to agility in spirit and practice. To move from 15% agile projects in 2017 to Enterprise Agile by 2020, the organization nurtured a team of agile coaches, who in turn helped create more agile practitioners.
As one example of this agile transformation, TCS’ IT unit Ultimatix has worked on and produced a value-driven, outcome-based delivery model.
People, processes, and technology agility
Our agile model centers on being purpose-centric rather than product-centric. With this vision in mind, TCS IT focused on three aspects to deliver business agility: people (culture), processes, and technology. To begin with, a change was brought about in terms of our people and culture to build acceptability towards a new way of working and making business part of an overall value stream. This was supported by an Agile Center of Excellence and Agile Ninja Coaches. Customized training programs were also designed within the organization. Dedicated trainings and #LivingAgile sessions were introduced, where our associates worked on real-life business challenges to imbibe and internalize the agile spirit.
Then came process innovation and technological changes. Machine First™ processes have opened up newer avenues for continual innovation. We increased our focus on incremental value delivery, fast and continuous feedback, iterative changes, and early cross-collaboration, and introduced multiple tools and technologies to tighten time-to-market and drive higher throughput. Devops automation and continuous integration and continuous Deployment (CI/CD) reduced overall time-to-market and increased product quality. Our digital architecture was also reimagined to realize a cloud-first and cloud-only vision. We also constituted a dedicated collaborative agile-devops network to focus on a single-click, frictionless, end-to-end automated delivery process.
18 months to transformation
To deliver on the vision of Enterprise Agile by 2020, TCS IT created an agile-ready talent pool of associates equipped with tools and processes. With their help, the unit was able to transform itself from the traditional way of working to a 100% agile way of delivery in 18 months. This was no ordinary task considering TCS’ worldwide scale and spread. The impact of this change could be seen through outcomes achieved in our business function.
The transformation of TCS’ financial processes using agile methodologies accelerated period-end closing and financial reporting. Sales teams are now able to prioritize their requirements and benefit from a faster release cycle. Moving from a long delivery cycle to two weeks of incremental value-driven delivery tremendously enhanced sales agility. A sales enablement platform that based on traditional timelines would have taken a year to materialize was delivered in just three months, with incremental features being added based on user priority and user experience.
In terms of compliance, a data privacy program for GDPR covering over 200 corporate applications and around 900 processes was completed in a record nine months using the scaled agile framework. This agile transformation had an impact on our HR processes, too. We transformed multiple talent management processes: our reimagined talent acquisition process to bring about agility in hiring; revamped performance management process to move toward constructive individual improvement through continuous performance feedback; and talent reskilling to ready our workforce for a digital world.