A cross-functional team is a task force consisting of people with different talents & skills.
It’s all about speed and innovation.
Cross-functional Teams can move faster because they don’t need to wait and rely on other departments (e.g. marketing, sysops, …) or other external sources. Typically they can tackle challenges on their own, start to solve them immediately and react to bumps in the road instantly.
Being able to call their own shots and to work fairly autonomous, allows cross-functional teams to ship faster than other teams. They are especially valuable if you are looking to improve your cycle time and release on a continuous basis.
Innovation & Inspiration
Working tightly with colleagues which have different backgrounds and skills helps to see the bigger picture and to think outside of the box. Compared to a department/silo organizational structure this enables autonomous bottom-up innovation.
Often in organizations structured in siloed departments an “us vs them” dynamic emerges. This kills innovation. Organizations structured around cross-functional teams on the other hand benefit from reduced overhead and increased mutual respect for all aspects of the enterprise.
If your software development teams are currently structured in siloed departments instead of cross-functional teams it might be worth to re-evaluate this.