In this paper, we identify the necessary capabilities of the IT function to create agility in existing information systems. Agility is the ability to quickly sense and respond to environment perturbations. We contrast the agility perspective from a widely used industry framework with research perspectives on agility in the IS literature. We suggest Beer’s Viable System Model (VSM) is a useful meta-level theory to house agility elements from IS research literature, and apply VSM principles to identify the capabilities required of the IT function. Indeed, by means of a survey of 34 organisations, we confirm that the meta-level theory better correlates with reported agility measures than existing practice measures do on their own. From a research perspective, the incorporation of the VSM mechanism helps to explain ‘why’ the IT function is capable of creating agility. From a practical perspective of ‘how’, the findings point to a new set of capabilities of the IT function for future versions of the industry frameworks to enable agility.