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Currently viewing the tag: "strategy development"

COVID-19 is shaping a “New Normal”—a Low Touch Economy that requires a strategic response.pic 1 Strategy Development Responding to COVID 19

The world is changing. Forced isolation and social distancing restrictions have been put into place with the advent of the COVID-19 health crisis. This is not expected to end soon but is expected to have a lasting effect on the world. In fact, a new generation of consumer behaviors is already being shaped.

The new world will not be better off or worse. It will be different. During this period of influx, some businesses will thrive in this change and reach accelerated success, while others will struggle to find their footing in all of the chaos. The Low Touch Economy is here.

The New Normal

The post-COVID-19 era will have an economy shaped by new habits and regulations based on reduced close contact interaction, tighter travel, and hygiene restrictions. While managing the current health crisis is the first priority, companies must start adapting its strategic response to the mid and long-term ripple effects of COVID-19.

Businesses, to survive, must learn how to effectively respond to COVID-19 that is marked with plenty of ups and downs and economic uncertainty. There will be fundamental shifts that are here to stay and there will be industries that will be turned upside down. Until there is a vaccine or herd immunity, the base case scenario will be continuous up and down of disruptions for the coming 2 years. Strategy Development now calls for business to make the right strategic approach.

The 3-phase Approach to Strategic Planning

During turbulent times, businesses must have the agility to switch from defense to offense. Taking the 3-phase approach to Strategic Planning will prepare organizations for the Low Touch Economy.

Phase 1: Protect

The first phase is focused on acting now to protect and run the business today. It is basically responding to the crisis and protecting the business. The primary objective of Phase 1 is to ensure the continuity and stability of the business despite the ongoing crisis.
This is best undertaken when employees and customers are grappling with one basic emotion and that is fear. The organization is faced with a declining revenue with prospects of liquidity freeze. Unfortunately, time horizons at this phase also remain uncertain.

When these scenarios are happening, the organization must strive to undertake strategies that will both protect the business, as well as ensure its continuity and stability. One strategy that must be undertaken is to put the safety of employees and customers first. With the advent of COVID-19, this is considered the most urgent thing to do and the most important. Once this has been taken care of, senior leaders can set up a war room where they can tackle immediate challenges.

The war room discussions must shift from just being reactive to being proactive when it comes to crisis management. At this point, model scenarios that are developed must be more aggressive than any of the team can think of. It has to be aggressive in the sense that it is capable of protecting the business from the disruption that COVID-19 is greatly inflicting on the organization.

At this time, during this phase, this is the best time too to invest in Innovation Management and R&D. While others are stalling, the most innovative companies spend more on R&D during the recession. The other 2 phases are Recover and Grow. Phase 2, Recover is focused on accelerating through the recovery and Phase 3, Grow is focused on achieving growth in the Low Touch Economy.

In what phase is your organization now? Are you Protecting? Recovering? or Growing?

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Post-merger Integration (PMI) can be complex, time-pressured, and unfamiliar for most organizations. It is a highly complex process. It requires swift action as well pic 1 PMI process1as running the core business activities simultaneously.  There is no one-size-fits-all approach to a successful PMI Process. However, careful planning focusing on the strategic objectives of the deal and the identification and capturing of synergies will help maximize deal value.

It is inevitable that some elements of information will be withheld from a Buyer pre-deal. Further, not all the synergy benefits originally identified in the deal will prove to be achievable. The foremost challenge for management at the onset of the PMI process is to identify how value can be captured from the newly combined organization via synergies and cost savings.

Hence, undertaking the PMI Process requires a clear roadmap that will take the post-merger integration journey toward a more strategic and effective direction. This is where Strategy Development comes in.

The 5 Core Components of the PMI Process

Organizations must have a good understanding of the integration process to ensure that target results are achieved and that expectations are met. There are 5 core components of the PMI Process organizations must follow to make the process more successful where the deal value is achieved and realized.

  1. PMI Structure. This is the first component of the PMI Process that establishes the stages of the integration process. It consists of sub-projects that take place before and after the closing or change of ownership.
  1. Management Alignment. The second core component, Management Alignment is focused on aligning top managers of both Buyer and Target. For the first time, top managers of the Buyer and Target become part of the same organization. It is at this stage wherein there is a change of priorities and commitment of top managers. The new management team must be aligned and committed to the same goal.  This way, they convey the same message to the new organization.
  1. First 100 Days. The First 100 Days is where the PMI Process starts focusing on making changes. The First 100 Days is the maximum period people can live with the uncertainty regarding the new organizational structure and decision on redundancy. This core component is highly critical as this paves the way towards a smooth transition to a new organization.
  1. PMI Project Management. The fourth component is focused on budget planning and management. It is at this stage wherein the preparation of the first estimates of integration costs during the transaction or purchase phase is undertaken.
  1. Kick-off Meeting. The fifth or final core component is the Kick-off Meeting. Starting teamwork is its main focus. Participants are brought up to speed on events in both predecessor entities and the joint strategy.  This is the avenue to provide instructions, guidelines, and templates. A Kick-off Meeting is typically a 2-day session including the time to socialize.

The Red Flag Warning in Post-merger Integration

When going through Post-merger Integration, we can expect some red flag warnings.  These are disturbances that may warrant such a red flag warning.  As organizations go through the deal, there will be critical issues on personnel and customers that will arise.

One critical issue that may raise the concern of the Integration team is the possibility of losing your key personnel. Losing your key personnel can cause a dent in any organization. At this point wherein integration is happening, the more the support of the key personnel is of utmost importance. Losing them would be a great loss.

Aside from red flag warnings, there will also be key considerations organizations must take note of during integration. Being aware of these will prepare them as they move on forwards to achieving a successful deal.

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When organizations go through a Post-merger Integration, often management realizes that it is never a simple undertaking. It is a highly complex process. Swift pic 1 Tips for successaction is required as well as being able to run the core business activities simultaneously.  There is no one-size-fits-all approach to a successful PMI Process. However, to maximize deal value, there is a need for careful planning focused on the strategic objectives of the deal and the identification and capturing of synergies.

The PMI Process requires a Strategy Development approach geared towards unifying 2 organizations into one new organization with a common culture, equipped with the right people and good leadership in place. It is a challenging journey where organizations, both the Buyer and the Target, must take on the appropriate approach to be able to start off the process and close the deal with the expected results in place.

New organizations often benchmark Post-merger Integration Process leaders to guide them through the process. By following best practices, new organizations will have a better understanding of how to approach the PMI process in a more strategic manner.

Achieving PMI Success: The Top 10 Tips

There are top 10 tips that can help organizations conquer what could be a complex integration process.  Following the top 10 tips will enable organizations to successfully traverse through the process.

Let us discuss here 4 of the top 10 tips to achieve PMI success.

  1. Focus on Key Sources of Value. In focusing on key sources of value, we need to be able to communicate how the value of the deal will be captured. Success organizations often structure integration teams based on key sources of value. They make teams understand the value for which they are accountable and how this will be unlocked via the PMI process.
  2. Clearly Define Nature of the Deal. Often successful integrations are achieved when the nature of the deal is clear. Organizations need to be able to determine what is to be integrated and what is to remain as stand-alone.  They need to have a good idea of what the adopted culture will be and which people are to be retained. This way, organizations can easily jumpstart the PMI process in the right direction.
  3. Have the Right People in Placed. Needless delays in the implementation of the PMI process can exacerbate anxieties amongst staff. This can cause speculative conversations or result in staff insecurities. To address, organizations focus on the immediate mobilization of the integration process. One way of doing this is having the right people in placed.  Selecting people who are enthusiastic about the new vision and are happy to contribute it will facilitate a good start for the integration process.  However, there is a need to maintain balance. People from both the Buyer and Target must be selected and appointed.
  4. Get the Buyer up-to-speed. This is one important tip that will jumpstart the process. Get the Buyer up-to-speed. This can be done by encouraging the Buyer to begin planning the integration process even before the deal is announced. It is of great advantage if the Buyer will identify everything that must be done prior to closing. Active participation of the buyer is essential to keep the PMI process on high gear.

Aside from the 4 top tips, the other 6 top tips are equally effective in guiding organizations to achieve deal maximization. These top 10 tips can be of great help to organizations when faced with challenging obstacles as they go through the process of integration. The PMI Process is a very complex undertaking but it can be achieved and be conquered with just the right approach and guide.

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“A problem well framed is a problem half-solved.” — Jay Galbraith

Organizational Design is more than just structures. It is having policies and strategies that are aligned with one another.  When this is achieved, it allows organizations to operate at maximum efficiency and achieve Operational Excellence.

The Galbraith Star Model™ is the foundation on which a company bases its design choices. The organization’s design framework consists of a series of design policies that are controllable by management and can influence employee behavior.

Organizations use the Star Model™ framework to overcome the negatives of any structural design. Every organizational structure has positives and negatives associated with it.  If management can identify the negatives of its preferred option, it can better design other policies around the Star Model™ to counter the negatives while achieving the positives.

Understanding the Galbraith Star Model

Galbraith Star Model™ is the organization’s design framework for effective strategy execution. It consists of 5 major components.

 

  1. Strategy. This component is the company’s formula for winning. It is the goals and objectives to be achieved, as well as values and missions to be pursued. It defines the basic direction of the company. Strategy Development is essentially important in specifying sources of Competitive Advantage.
  1. Structure. The second component, the Structure, determines the location of the decision-making power. It is the placement of power and authority in the organization.
  1. Processes. Information and decision processes is a component that cuts across the organization’s structure. It is a means of responding to information technologies. Management processes can either be vertical or lateral. Either way, these are designed around a workflow from new product development to the fulfillment of a customer order. If the structure is the anatomy of the organization, processes are its physiology or functioning.
  1. Rewards. The fourth component provides motivation and incentive for the completion of the strategic direction of the organization. Rewards are recognition that influence the motivation of people to perform and address organizational goals.  It becomes effective only when they form a consistent package in combination with other design choices.
  1. People. People is the fifth component that focuses on influencing and defining an individual’s mindset and skills. It looks into the human resource policies of recruiting, selection, training, and development of people needed by the organization to achieve its strategic direction. HR policies work best when these are consistent with the other connecting design areas.

The five components are essentially important. Each component has its underlying purpose and impact.  How the organization can effectively align the components with each other makes a huge difference in achieving an impact. Further, in this fast-changing business environment, organizations must be keenly aware of the implications of implementing the Star Model™ framework. The Star Model may have its implications, including the interweaving nature of the lines that form the star shape.

The Man Behind the Organizational Design Framework

Dr. Jay Galbraith was an internationally recognized expert on Strategy and Organizational Design.  With more than 45 years of research and practical experience, Dr. Galbraith’s extensive knowledge came from his background in information processing systems, chemical engineering, and organizational behavior.  As the original creator of the Star Model and the Front-Back organization structure, Dr. Galbraith transformed organizations across a broad span of industries including consumer goods, manufacturing, health care, financial services, and telecommunications, among others.

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Post-merger Integration is a highly complex process. It requires swift action as well as running the core business activities simultaneously.  There is no one-size-fits-pic 1 PMI Day One Activitiesall approach to a successful PMI Process. However, careful planning focusing on the strategic objectives of the deal and the identification and capturing of synergies will help maximize deal value.

It is inevitable that some elements of information will be withheld from a Buyer pre-deal. Further, not all the synergy benefits originally identified in the deal will prove to be achievable. The foremost challenge for management at the onset of the PMI process is to identify how value can be captured from the newly combined organization via synergies and cost savings.

Understanding Post-merger Integration

Post-merger Integration is the fundamental stage of realizing the value of an M&A deal.  A highly complex process, it entails bringing together 2 companies experiencing change while ensuring that business continues as usual.  A truly challenging undertaking that must never be underestimated.

When 2 companies agree to undertake a Post-merger Integration, its primary objective is to maximize synergies to ensure that the deal lives up to its predicted value. It is a phase during which the results of the Buyer’s M&A strategy and expectations for the closed deal start to materialize.

In the entire phase, Closing and Day One of change is the most critical. It is the initial starting point towards the change of ownership and where Strategy Development is at its core.

Closing and Day One

During Closing and Day One, Managers must focus on 3 important areas.

  1. Communications. Corporate Communications must be well planned and well implemented. This is to enable managers to lead an M&A project more effectively. Through structured communication, trust is built, motivation developed, and important information shared. In fact, it can prevent the negative impact of rumors and unify the different parts of the joint company.
  1. Operating Structure. New operating structures and systems are made once the joint company’s strategy and goals have been agreed upon. From Day One, it is important that new management and operational structure/reporting procedures are clearly communicated. In the development of the operating structure, it is important that a CEO has been appointed, the key personnel roles decided, and there is already an agreement on operative and statutory structures.
  1. Systems & Controls. A clear and detailed Systems & Controls must be established by Day One. This is essential for management to be able to gain control of the operations of the Target. If operational structures are not finalized at this point, a temporary management system and control need to be established.

The Important Role of a CEO and Key Personnel from Day One

The CEO plays a vital role in the joint business. The CEO or Managing Director is involved in the acquisition process.  Hence, it is important that from Day One, a CEO or Managing Director has already been appointed.

Often the CEO comes from the Buyer or its group or corporate entity.  If an existing CEO of the acquired entity continues the same role, then the Buyer must nominate a controller to ensure financial integration and smooth reporting.

The Key Personnel is also essentially important from Day One.  In fact, there is a need for positions and roles of key personnel during the integration process to be planned in advance and communicated at closing.

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No free lunch was ever served quickly. Traditional supply chain cannot offer both low prices and fast delivery.pic 1 Agility in Supply Chain Delivery Design

Online retailing has changed. Before, we see e-commerce companies fulfilling consumer demand from a small number of large-scale warehouses that carried a similar catalog of items. Inventory for low-volume products was maintained in a few locations as possible while maintaining service levels that met customer expectations.

Today, consumers are demanding more than just low prices. Consumers are also demanding that products ordered be delivered quickly. As a result, the demand for quick day delivery is now pushing retailers to experiment with new Strategy Development and operation models. Notably, known retailers such as Amazon.com, Nordstrom, and Macy’s are redesigning their distribution networks. Retailers today have recognized that the terms of competition have changed.

The Shift from Traditional Online Retailing to Fourth Industrial Revolution: Why the Need for Agility in Supply Chain Network Design

The early days of online retailing were not as competitive as today. Inventory costs were kept low and economies of scale that large fulfillment centers provide are taken advantage of. Consumers were willing to wait for deliveries as proximity and speed were less important than cost savings.

But today, customer expectations go beyond lower prices. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has changed the terms of competition in online retailing.

Achieving same-day delivery has moved retailers to use third parties (local city-specific delivery services) and crowdsourcing (paying individuals by the task to shop for and deliver groceries). Retailers are also looking at setting up physical lockers where customers can retrieve their packages or use of physical store networks to fulfill online orders. Others are adding warehouses near major urban markets and IT solutions are now being used to access real-time sales data and inventory information.

The chain in the online retailing landscape has changed and there is now an increasing need to achieve Agility in Supply Chain Network Design.

Understanding Agility in Supply Chain Network Design

What is putting Agility in Supply Chain Network Design or Distribution Agility? It is the ability to invest in real-time sales and inventory information, coupled with advanced analytics to accommodate fluctuations and changes in the business environment quickly. This is Agility in Supply Chain Network Design.

Putting Agility in Supply Chain Network Design requires a 3-phase process. Let us take a look at one of the 3 phases: The First Phase.

The First Phase is to Reinvent Network Design Thinking. This phase has an important implication on cost performance as they relate to customers. It requires redesigning the physical distribution network and the information network for it to be able to support the Supply Chain Network Design. The first phase ensures that the real-time information system is in place that incorporates data on sales by time and location.

Once the first phase is undertaken, this will facilitate an immediate response to agile and traditional systems. This is what Amazon.com Inc. did. Amazon opened 43 small-scale delivery stations and 53 hubs to augment a distribution network of 101 fulfillment centers and 29 sorting centers. They applied real-time stock visibility across the network and intelligent product replenishment and fulfillment to mitigate the cost of trade-off. As a result, it allowed them to effectively and immediately respond to changing consumer demands. While not all online retailers can be like Amazon, yet all can have an Agile Supply Chain Network to make them competitive in today’s digital era of Business Transformation.

Putting the other 2 phases in place will complete the entire process of ensuring an Agile Supply Chain Network Design. Why is agility important? Agility in Supply Chain addresses the outmoded conflict between low prices and fast delivery. It enables organizations to build strategies that can make adjustments both at the planning and operation levels.

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In today’s digital age, organizations are faced with the changing nature of the demand curve and the element of uncertainty in the supply chain. For operations pic 1 Digital Supply Chain Strategyteams, the challenge and competitive advantage have become: How well do you respond and execute against ongoing uncertainty.

With the world being so unpredictable, chaos is now the new normal. Timetables and priorities have shifted. A supplier fails to deliver. Demands on supply chains are increasing exponentially. A few years ago, supply chain performance was all about batch quantities, timetables, and lead times. Today, millions of packages are shipped in a day, with many with just only a few items.

In the face of this upheaval, supply chains try to predict what will happen, then optimize performance against plan. Most often, those plans are not met. The path forward demands a bold leap in supply chain performance.

Business in the Midst of the Digital Age.

Chaos is the new normal. This is the central challenge companies have to contend with today. Demand on the Supply Chain is increasing exponentially whereas Supply Chain performance before used to be all about batch quantities, timetables, and lead times. Today, times have changed.

Business Transformation has become pertinent. Timetables and priorities have shifted and, in fact, suppliers are now finding themselves unable to deliver at the required time demanded by the market. Whereas before deliveries were in batch quantities, today millions of packages are shipped every day with many having just a few items. Customers are now encouraged to order multiple sizes and colors of the same items, choose what they like best and return the rest.

In this upheaval, Supply Chains must respond accordingly. There have been attempts to predict what will happen with performance being optimized against the plan. Companies are increasingly investing in Supply Chain capabilities. Yet, these have triggered nonproductive finger-pointing and disappointing results.

Something is missing. A Supply Chain Strategy, as part of Strategy Development, is now essential to be able to pursue a bold leap in Supply Chain performance.

The Digital Supply Chain Strategy

The Digital Supply Chain Strategy is the new approach to Supply Chain resilience. This is best undertaken using a 2-prong approach.

  1.  Sense and Pivot. A Supply Chain Strategy, Sense and Pivot focuses on building adaptability of Supply Chains. When this is undertaken, it will allow organizations to create greater flexibility across the Supply Chains. New processes, governance, and ways of working will be developed that will leverage technological capabilities being advanced. Significantly, it will make planning, manufacturing, distribution, and logistics more adaptive toward demand volatility, customer expectations for personalization, and an increasingly unpredictable operation environment.
  2. Digitize and Automate. Digitize and Automate is another Digital Supply Chain Strategy that is focused on building the capability of the Supply Chain to execute against the plan. When this is undertaken and effectively executed and implemented, organizations can expect a better informed, more frictionless, more cost-efficient, and capable Supply Chain. Further, it will enable organizations to undertake more informed Strategic Planning as more accurate forecasts are achieved.

The Digital Age calls for a new approach to Supply Chain Resilience.

The Importance of Supply Chain Resilience

Why is Supply Chain Resilience important today? In today’s digital age, companies can expect to encounter potential disruptions. These potential disruptions can effectively be addressed using the best strategy. Automation and smart software are effective tools for minimizing disruptions on business operations. Embracing digital advancements will provide organizations real-time data for a more reliable supply value chain. Definitely, there will be integration challenges. But the use of Digital Age Supply Chain Strategies will guide companies to counter these potential disruptions and challenges.

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The amount of time the Board of Directors spend on their work and commit to strategy is rising. Directors say they dedicate more time now to pic 2 Board Excellence Primertheir Board duties than ever before.  In fact, since 2011, the directors have cut in half the gap between the actual and ideal amount of time they spend on Board work.

In the newest McKinsey Global Survey on Corporate Boards, the results showed that strategy, on average, is the main focus of many Boards.  Yet, directors still want more time for strategy when they consider their relative value to their companies.  This is more than any other area of the Board work.

The Evolving Trends Influencing Board Work

In recent years, the amount of time the Board of Directors spends on Board work has increased.  Compared to 2011, directors now spend five more days per year on Board work. Another trend that is happening is the increase in time. As the number of days has grown, so has the amount of time spent on strategy.

Based on the survey, a total of 772 days was spent on Board work in 2013.  This has increased to 1,074 in 2015. Subsequently, 8.91% was spent on strategy in 2015 compared to 7.85% in 2013. With an increased focus on strategy, directors are dedicating more time on Strategic Planning and to discuss strategic issues.

In the next three years, directors would like to dedicate more time to Strategy Development and on organizational health and talent management. Directors want to increase the time spent on strategy due to its relative value to their companies.

The 3 Types of Boards

Performance of Boards based on overall impact, performance, and operation showed that there are 3 types of Boards.

  1. Ineffective. Ineffective Boards report the lowest overall impact and non-performance of tasks. They have the lowest overall impact on long-term value creation. Ineffective Boards are least effective at the 37 tasks required of the Board and they do not execute some of the tasks at all. Only a few are found to be effective at any one task.
  1. Complacent. Complacent Boards have a much more favorable view of their over-all contributions. Half of the directors considered their Board having a very high impact on long-term value creation. Complacent Boards have been found to be effective in the performance of tasks on management review of financial performance, setting the company’s overall strategic performance, and formally approving the management team’s strategy.
  1. Excellent. Excellent Boards are the most well-rounded of the 3 types of Board of Directors. Their overall impact is very high. Significantly, they project greater effectiveness in the performance of tasks than peers on every single task. Further, they are effective in strategy and performance management.

Achieving Board Excellence: What Does It Take

Those boards that reach Excellence are found to be effective at 30 of the 37 tasks undertaken by the Board. Compared to others, they stand out in the ways they operate. They have an especially strong culture and mechanism for feedback. They are more than twice as likely to conduct regular evaluations and ask for input after each meeting.

While this may sound daunting, achieving a value-creating Board is achievable. There are just fundamental principles that the Board needs to follow to achieve Board Excellence. One of these guiding principles is spending more time.  Across-the-board increases are often achieved with more time spend on Board work.

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Enterprises invest in Analytics to improve Decision Making and outcomes across the business. This is from Product Strategy and Innovation to pic 1 Analytics-driven OrganizationSupply Chain Management, Customer Experience, and Risk Management. Yet, many executives are not yet seeing the results of their Analytics initiatives and investments.

Every organization putting on investment in Analytics has experienced several stumbling blocks. This differentiates the leaders from the laggards. Analytics-driven Organizations have clearly established processes, practices, and organizational conditions to achieve Operational Excellence. Their commitment to Analytics is creating a major payoff from their investments and a competitive edge.

What It Takes to Be Analytics-driven

The Harvard Business Review Analytic Services conducted a survey of 744 business executives around the world and across a variety of industries. Their focus was on the performance gap between companies that have struggled to get a return on their Analytics investment and those that have effectively leveraged their investment.

The survey showed that Analytics-driven Organizations get sufficient return on investment in Analytics. In fact, they have been highly successful in gaining a return on Analytics investment. This is gainfully achieved as organizations use Analytics consistently in strategic decision making. Executives of Analytics-driven Organizations rely on Analytics insights when it contradicted their gut feel.

Essentially, Analytics-driven Organizations have reduced costs and risks, increased Productivity, Revenue, and Innovation, and have successfully executed their Strategy. Yet, in evolving the organization’s Analytics approach, there can be 4 core obstacles that can affect their drive to getting a greater return on investment in Analytics.

The Core Obstacles to Finding Return on Analytics Investment

There are 4 core obstacles to being an Analytics-driven Organization.

Let’s briefly take a look at the first 2 obstacles:

  1. Communication and Decision-making Integration. The lack of Communication and Decision-making Integration limits the integration of Analytics into workflows and decision processes do not reach decision-makers. As a result of these core obstacles, the use of Analytics is limited in specific areas.
  1.  Skills to Interpret and Apply Analytics. A second core obstacle is the inadequate skills of business staff to interpret and use Analytics. In fact, the survey showed that only one-quarter of frontline employees use Analytics with only 7% using Analytics regularly.

The other two core obstacles are siloed and fragmented Analytics and time delay. These are two equally important core obstacles that can hinder the use of Analytics to maximize return on investment. Further, the 4 core obstacles are barriers to analytic success.

Are You Ready to Be an Analytics Leader?

Leaders use Analytics consistently in decision making. In fact, based on the survey, 83% of executives use it in business planning and forecasting. On the other hand, laggards only use it 67% of the time. Even in various aspects of the organization such as Marketing, Operations, Strategy Development, Sales, Supply Chain, Pricing and Revenue Management, and Information Technology, laggards use Analytics only half the time compared to Analytics Leaders.

Analytics Leaders always ensure that they establish the processes and organizational conditions to allow them to successfully deploy Analytics. In fact, to increase return on Analytics, organizations must undertake the use of four interrelated initiatives that will drive greater return on investment Analytics. These are four initiatives essential to building an Analytics-driven Organization.

One is building an organizational culture around Analytics. To achieve this the organization must have clear, strategic, and operational objectives that are set for Analytics. Second is deploying Analytics throughout all core functions of the business.

Starting with an Analytics-driven Culture can greatly facilitate cross-functional deployment of Analytics.

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Human judgment can be unreliable as these are all susceptible to errors. In Strategy Development,  organizations make a lot of strategic pic 1 Strategic Decision Makingdecisions.  These strategic decisions share a common feature: they are evaluative judgments.

In making these tough calls, a large amount of complex information must be weighed down and evaluated.  While some management decisions are made without weighing quite so much information, yet strategic decisions involve the distillation of complexity into a single path forward.

With the unreliability in judgment, particularly in decision making, there is a need for a practical, broadly applicable approach to reducing errors. This approach is called the Mediating Assessments Protocol (MAP).

 Why Human Judgment Can Be Unreliable

Human judgment can be unreliable as evaluations are susceptible to errors. These errors stem from known cognitive biases. There can be a tendency to give more weight to information that comes to mind easily because it is recent or striking than other more important facts.  We have the tendency to notice, believe, and recall information selectively which confirms our preexisting hypotheses and beliefs.

Making decisions can also be affected by the Mental Model we have formed. This is an impression of a complex situation that is often less nuanced and more coherent than the reality it represents. When decision making is influenced by biases, there will be errors in decision making.

The 3 Core Elements of MAP

MAP or Mediating Assessments Protocol is a structured approach to Strategic Decision Making. It consists of 3 core elements.

  1. Advanced Assessment Definition. The first core element requires the identification of mediating assessments. Mediating assessments are key attributes critical to the evaluation.
  1. Independent Assessments. The second core element is grounded on the evidence available. It uses fact-based independently made assessments.
  1. Final Evaluation. The third core element is undertaken when the mediating assessments are complete. The final decision is discussed only when all key attributes have been scored and a complete profile of assessments is available. However, the final evaluation may not be undertaken if a deal breaker fact has been uncovered.

Understanding the Importance of MAP

Any organization is a decision factory. Many decisions made can shape the future of organizations. At the same time, many decisions have caused organizations to fail. Decisions, unlike physical products, cannot be quality checked. However, it can be improved by working on processes by which they are made.

Mediating Assessments Protocol (MAP) is an approach that can bring quality assurance to complex decisions. One of its strategic application is in structuring one-off decisions.

Structuring one-off strategic decisions is a type of strategic decision that makes use of explicit assessment as a basis for the decision. It requires leaders to make separate, explicit assessments of each aspect.

The use of MAP in structuring one-off decisions can limit the risk that a compelling narrative will sway board discussions and affect quality decisions.  When there is a rigor of formal structure in strategic decision making, it has the benefit of sequencing the process resulting in more quality decisions.

The use of MAP requires very trivial extra effort yet it can bring a lot of benefits. Board discussions are more organized and focus than the usual process, but is not necessarily longer or more contentious. Important facts are less likely to be overlooked and thoughtful, self-critical consideration of trade-offs is more likely to occur.

Most importantly, the use of the MAP can lead to producing strategic outcomes when used in structuring recurring decisions.

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