Steering the ship – the new business management reality


Increased global competition has more corporations chasing after the same opportunities.

The impact on strategic planning has been a reduction from 5-year planning cycles, with annual reviews, to 18 month cycles, with quarterly reviews.

The playing field has changed in other ways as well.

Corporations used to strive for “satisfied” customers.  Today, they need “delighted” customers.

In certain cases, the primary focus needs to be on future customers, not on current customers.

Behind the scenes, the corporate mission remains unchanged – i.e. building, protecting and enhancing competitive advantage, but with shorter-term initiatives characterized by increased risk and uncertainty.

The traditional role of steering the ship i.e.  “plan->monitor->control” needs upgrading to “plan->monitor->re-assess”, where “monitor” now includes advanced decision support, and predictive analytics.ship

Whereas initiatives traditionally were allowed to run their course, “plan->monitor->re-assess” means more are at risk of being the focus of budget cuts or outright termination.

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) continues to be front-and-center, except that the number of corporate assets likely to be impacted by an initiative has increased.

Corporations are finding it more difficult to build competitive advantage based on one or two key assets.

Success comes from innovation in the way clusters of assets are put into service.

Here is a partial list of corporate assets that need to be under constant review:

(Capital, Access to Capital, Land, Equipment, Tools, Premises, Staff, Intellectual Property/Knowhow, Current Products/Services, Products / Services Under Development, Projects Awaiting Approval, Technology Trends, Changing Legislation, Competitors)

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

It’s not surprising that the process of decision-making has changed.

Whereas, in the past, decisions were often made on the basis of information with a heavy dose of experience and intuition, today’s decision makers look for ways and means of rapidly converting knowledge into information.

Free-Form-Search Kbases are the environment of choice for rapid conversion of knowledge to information, for the following reasons:

  1. Ability to see the big picture at a graphic User Interface,
  2. Built-in connect-the-dots facilities,
  3. Availability of e-map/e-build environments for rapid roll out of operational processes,
  4. Real-time data collection and uploading / consolidation of operational data to Kbases.

The changes I have described here not been without casualties:

  • Traditional BPM, with its focus on end to end processes, is now a core capability under Case that provides background orchestration and governance in respect of the performance of work,
  • Senior management no longer just stares at executive dashboards featuring KPIs, leaving operations to do what they like. Senior management is now able to sandbox their environment and not only challenge trends but also challenge KPIs themselves,
  • CRM has been absorbed into Case,
  • ECM is now embedded in Case.

Survivors include flow-graphing (mid 1950s) and F.O.M.M. (1960s).

Both are alive and well and pretty much “must-haves” for anyone working in business today.

So, what’s next?

  • IoT interconnectivity.
  • Interoperability by and between local and remote 3rd party systems and applications.
  • Predictive analytics.
  • Fewer decision makers as AI kicks in but the ones who survive will appear to be ”smarter”.

About kwkeirstead@civerex.com

Management consultant and process control engineer (MSc EE) with a focus on bridging the gap between operations and strategy in critical infrastructure protection, healthcare, connect-the-dots law enforcement investigations, job shop manufacturing and b2b organizations. (C) 2010-2017 Karl Walter Keirstead, P. Eng. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and are not connected with Jay-Kell Technologies Inc, Civerex Systems Inc. (Canada), Civerex Systems Inc. (USA) or CvX Productions.
This entry was posted in Competitive Advantage, Decision Making, FOMM, Risk Analysis, Strategic Planning. Bookmark the permalink.

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