What the Year of the Monkey Means to the Agile Enterprise


Monday February 8th was the start of the Chinese New Year, the dawn of the Year of the Monkey, according to the Chinese lunar calendar. And while China officially keeps the western calendar, the Chinese diaspora has spread the celebration of Chinese New Year all over the world.

Ironically, that mirrors the state of the business world today. Borders are essentially meaningless as the largest corporations have operations and multiple headquarters on practically every continent, while technologies bring us together in unprecedented ways.

In fact, at Softtek we embrace the celebration of the Chinese New Year as family, eating Jiaozi (饺子), drinking a little BaiJiu (白酒) with our associates located across Mainland China in Beijing, Shanghai and at our global delivery center in Wuxi, China.

What does the Year of the Monkey Mean for The Agile Enterprise? fire_monkey_2016.png

Glad you asked - because there is a point we’re trying to make here. According to Time Magazine, “People born in the Year of the Monkey are characterized as intelligent, witty, curious and playful.”

Doesn’t that represent the ideal personality traits of workers who can thrive in today’s intensely collaborative environment? When companies must turn on a dime and deliver mission-critical, customer facing applications to take advantage of fast moving market conditions, the ability to communicate and work in a team environment is essential.

People with "Year of the Monkey" personality traits are ideal for this. Their intelligence can help them think on their feet. Their wit can help break the ice when working with new friends on impromptu teams. Their curiosity can help them explore new options and think out-of-the-box. And their playfulness can help break the monotony after intense hours of focused concentration.

Chinese New Year is All About Family and Mass Migration – More Parallels for the Agile Enterprise

Time also noted that as opposed to the drunken revelry of the Western New Year, The Chinese New Year celebration is the most beloved event across the world with one single goal in mind: Family. The agile enterprise must turn to partners across the organization who think, operate and execute more like family than vendors.

When working in collaboration with far-flung teams to craft the applications that will mean the difference between market dominance or market irrelevance, your outsourcing partner needs to be more like a trusted family member you can turn to throughout the day, instead of somebody who is passively interested in you just because you “hired” them.

The days and weeks leading up to and following this celebration creates the largest human migration, more than 2 billion trips in a span of 2 weeks, around the planet, to visit families and friends.

There’s another mass migration going on: the migration of on-premise applications to the cloud. Last year revenues from Amazon Web Services increased 69% year over year, and Microsoft’s Azure services increased 127% last quarter! And there are no signs of a slowdown.

Finally, the use of social media is now a key element during Chinese New Year. While in the western side of the planet we were enjoying the Super Bowl, families across Mainland China and around the world via the internet were getting together to enjoy the CCTV New Year’s Gala, that in 2016 was expected to be watched by more than 1 billion people in the world. The show has changed and adapted thanks to the billions of messages across the different Chinese platforms in order to better accommodate the new generations, while at the same time, keep the values and traditions that has made the show the most viewed event in the world and an important part of the Chinese new year celebration.

The agile enterprise must listen and understand when changes are coming and quickly react to them in order to keep evolving into the future. The use of different social media tools, both inside and outside the organization, is a great way to engage with their customers, employees and suppliers in order to better execute.

The Year of the Monkey Is the Year of The Agile Enterprise

But despite the contrived analogies between the Year of the Monkey and enterprise agility, we believe that this year we’ll see a significant move by companies to make themselves more agile in order to compete in a world where companies like Netflix, Uber, Amazon and AirBNB have disrupted whole industries.

But to do it they’ll have to think like a monkey – with the wit, humor, intelligence and curiosity needed to collaborate and innovate their way to success!

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