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Ever wonder if your firm's technology is holding it back? You may want to take a look at how well your IT tools play with others. A company's agility depends heavily on the integration of its technology, according to recent research by Salman Nazir and Alain Pinsonneault of the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University. They found that technology can help firms handle opportunities and threats with greater ease, speed and dexterity only when the applications in play are able to work as a functional whole. This is because digital integration—both internal and external—yields standardized communication protocols, data schemes and knowledge pools, which give different departments the across-the-board information required to sense and respond to change effectively. When discrete software and/or hardware aren't compatible, the company seldom is able to react with the speed its leaders desire. If agility is your goal, the next time you're shopping for a new sales platform or a fleet of smartphones, you might want to make sure it's compatible with your entire tech suite first.

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