Liz Eversoll http://www.lizeversoll.com Landing the Cloud: Strategy to Tactics Thu, 08 Sep 2011 14:57:13 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.4 The Effect of Social, Local, Mobile and Personal Technologies on Your Business Strategy http://www.lizeversoll.com/2011/07/12/the-effect-of-social-local-mobile-and-personal-technologies-on-your-business-strategy/ http://www.lizeversoll.com/2011/07/12/the-effect-of-social-local-mobile-and-personal-technologies-on-your-business-strategy/#comments Tue, 12 Jul 2011 14:57:51 +0000 Liz Eversoll http://www.lizeversoll.com/?p=1021 Cloud enables Mobility. Mobility enables Social, Local and Personal technology solutions in ways we have only begun to imagine. So…what does this mean to your business strategy? If we haven’t begun to imagine the possibilities, how can we construct a business strategy that takes advantage of these capabilities? More importantly how do we make sure that our business remains viable and relevant ahead of our competitors or even more likely ahead of start-ups with new business models and greenfield technology solutions who are unencumbered with legacy systems and processes?

Every day, I brainstorm with customers on leveraging cloud and mobility in their business. When we can reach a customer or consumer at any time on their mobile device, we can fundamentally change the business. After a recent customer session where we identified new business models for monetization of their customer base, outlined simple mobile solutions for creating amazing efficiencies in their business and realized new ways to connect their customer base and partners, my customer sat back and said “This changes everything.”, and even more interesting “That was so much FUN!”.

But, he could not have done it alone, nor at the beginning of the session were these opportunities even a possibility in his mind. These technologies will open up doors that were not possible before. You can monetize your intellectual property in new ways, you can create new advertising models and revenue streams, you can crowd-source your products and/or solutions, and the list goes on and on. However, in order to do this you have to have a fundamental understanding of what is possible and you have to think in new ways now that you can directly connect to your stakeholders anytime, anywhere.

So, given that most of us do not have this kind of knowledge, and yet we are responsible for our organizations business strategy and setting this critical strategic direction….what do we do?

• Get educated. Many business leaders I work with do not yet have a smartphone and are reticent to “learn new things”. Mobility (and cloud) are inevitable. In the next 12-18 months there will be more mobile devices than laptops/desktops. Get educated on these market trends and what they will mean to your business.

• Collaborate. The most compelling discussions have representatives from all generations and stakeholder roles from inside and outside the organization. The Gen Y bring amazing insight to the table on their expectations from brands, their usage of technology, and more importantly creative and innovative new ways to leverage these technologies in business. Enlist all generations in the conversation on the art of what is possible.

• Avoid the way we have always done it. In many discussions with businesses, they wish to adapt these technologies, yet they wish to do it “the way we have always done it”. This is the time to relook at business processes, leverage legacy systems in new ways, provide real-time information and connect with your consumers in real-time. Simply taking your legacy system and trying to put a mobile skin on top of it, won’t maximize your benefits. I liken this to when we moved mainframe green-screen applications to client-server and many organizations simply rewrote the same application in the new GUI. Don’t make this mistake with mobile.

Strategic opportunities are always hard to spot and execute. With cloud, mobile, social, local and personal technology trends, they become even more difficult. It’s coming and it can fundamentally enhance and/or change your business. So get educated, bring in the experts — the digital natives that are growing up with these technologies are setting the expectations for user experience. Get ready to change and update your business in amazing new ways that leverages direct-connection with your customers (all of them), real-time interaction and response, personal experiences, and targeted local business models.

As they say….if we don’t do it, someone else will. It’s time to think outside the box….or inside the box…this one…mobile.

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Table of Contents http://www.lizeversoll.com/2011/02/13/table-of-contents/ http://www.lizeversoll.com/2011/02/13/table-of-contents/#comments Sun, 13 Feb 2011 00:12:30 +0000 Liz Eversoll http://www.lizeversoll.com/?p=548  

Landing the Cloud: Strategy to Tactics


This is not a blog of random thoughts, it is intended to go through each of these phases and the processes within each phase.  You can follow the links in the blogs or simply refer to this table of contents to take you through the material.

Get Educated (Introduction) 

 The Cloud

Cloud Strategy

Cloud Tactics (Plan)

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Why do I need a Business Strategy? http://www.lizeversoll.com/2011/02/13/why-do-i-need-a-business-strategy/ http://www.lizeversoll.com/2011/02/13/why-do-i-need-a-business-strategy/#comments Sun, 13 Feb 2011 00:11:46 +0000 Liz Eversoll http://www.lizeversoll.com/?p=905 Peter Drucker, known as the “creator and inventor of modern management” – Tom Peters and “the greatest management thinker of the last century” – Jack Welch, provides guidance and insight to business management and the development of a business strategy to focus your business on the future, create competitive differentiation and improve the economic performance of your business.  We will draw upon Drucker’s (and others) management guidance to build out your Business Strategy.

A business strategy ensures focus across the entire organization.  Employees want to know they are working towards larger goals and how their actions contribute to these goals, customers want to know what you stand for and where you are taking your business to determine if you are a strong and dependable long-term partner, partners want to know where they fit in to your ecosystem, and the overall organization needs to be working together towards common goals to optimize the business.

More than 80 percent of the 300 small business owners surveyed in the recent 4th Annual Staples National Small Business Survey said that they don’t keep track of their business goals, and 77 percent have yet to achieve their vision for their company. – Inc.

Business Strategy Benefits

  • Provides the opportunity to look to the future of the business as opposed to the current day-to-day running of the business or a historical performance review of the business.  In general, we do not spend enough time thinking about the future of the business as we are mired down in the day-to-day activities.  This process will ensure you take the time to do that.
  • Aligns the organization around the activities that are important to the business.
  • Communicates to all stakeholders where the business is going, what the focus is and where resources will be allocated.
  • Provides a framework for securing funding and approval for initiatives that support the business strategy.
  • Provides a framework for detailed business planning across all business units and departments in the organization.
  • Facilitates the required changes in the organization.

The Business Strategy is NOT:

  • An Operational Plan.  All stakeholders should be able to see how their day-to-day activities help accomplish the goals outlined in the strategy, but the strategy does not define these day-to-day activities. 
  • A Business Plan, but it does provide input to the Business Plan.

You are probably saying, “Why do I have to go through this Business Strategy process?  I am really just trying to get my IT projects justified and approved. “   All IT projects and initiatives should tie directly and support the attainment of the company goals and completion of strategic initiatives.  If your project does not support the company goals, you will find it very difficult to get your project justified.  So…even if you don’t complete this business strategy process, or if you are in IT and not responsible for the business strategy; you must understand the strategy enough to show how your project will support the attainment of the company goals.  If you do not have a Business Strategy or it is just not down on paper, the steps here are fairly straight-forward and facilitate the conversation required to capture the essence of the business mission, vision and goals and then derive the key applications and business processes that must be supported by IT. 

So…if you are in IT…why do you need this?  Well…you need it to explain the importance of your projects and how they will help make the business successful.  Then you will be able to justify your projects.

< Cloud Strategy Overview

> What is a Business Strategy?

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Business Strategy Sample http://www.lizeversoll.com/2011/02/13/sample-business-strategy/ http://www.lizeversoll.com/2011/02/13/sample-business-strategy/#comments Sun, 13 Feb 2011 00:11:12 +0000 Liz Eversoll http://www.lizeversoll.com/?p=901

This is a sample Business Strategy for a fictitious company that you can reference throughout the business strategy process.

< What is a Business Strategy?

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What is a Business Strategy? http://www.lizeversoll.com/2011/02/13/what-is-a-business-strategy/ http://www.lizeversoll.com/2011/02/13/what-is-a-business-strategy/#comments Sun, 13 Feb 2011 00:10:44 +0000 Liz Eversoll http://www.lizeversoll.com/?p=897

“We usually think of a business strategy as some sort of aspirational market positioning statement. Doubtless that’s part of it. But I believe that the number one strategic strength is excellence in execution and systemic relationships (i.e., with everyone we come in contact with).”  – Tom Peters

“Strategy is the direction and scope of an organisation over the long-term: which achieves advantage for the organisation through its configuration of resources within a challenging environment, to meet the needs of markets and to fulfill stakeholder expectations”. – Johnson and Scholes, Exploring Corporate Strategy

Business Strategy

Creating your business strategy is the process of identifying the company’s goals, defining strategies and initiatives to accomplish these goals and then allocating resources to accomplish these goals.  Your business strategy is a 2-5 year plan, developed by business owners and business leaders that guides the future of the business and outlines the long-term direction for the business, which is written down and reviewed every six months.  It includes:

  • SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats).   The organization’s Strengths, Opportunities, Weaknesses and Threats (SWOT) both internal and external to the organization.
  • Mission.   A brief compelling statement of an organization’s purpose.
  • Vision.  Conveys the future picture of success for your business.
  • Values.  Basic principles that guide behavior and establish the company culture.
  • Business Strategy Goals.   Defined and measurable goals which are realistic and attainable.  Usually 2-4 goals in each area are sufficient to outline what the organization needs to accomplish.  Remember that business units and departments will break this down further with goals in their particular areas that support the strategy goals.
    • Financial Goals.  The most important goals for the company outline the financial targets over the business strategy time period.  All other goals in other areas must support these goals.
    • Customer Goals.  The required customer goals which will result in the necessary sales to accomplish the financial goals.
    • Products & Services Goals.   The goals for delivery and support of the product/services which will result in the necessary sales to accomplish the financial goals.
    • Partner Goals.  Goals for the strategic partnerships which will deliver the required product/services or customer results.
    • Employee Goals.  Goals for the required employee training, development, productivity increases and retention needed to support delivery of the organizational goals.
    • Internal Goals.   Goals for internal systems efficiency improvements which will enable the organization to deliver on the outlined customer and product/service goals.
    • Community Goals.   Goals that focus on giving back to the community, volunteering, philanthropy, engaging local businesses, and/or protecting our planet and natural resources. 

 Business Strategy Outcomes.  The following are required outcomes form the business strategy process which will be inputs to the organization’s Technology Strategy and other planning activities.

  • Strategic Initiatives.  These are 3-5 company initiatives that will help accomplish the company goals.  The organization must align behind these initiatives and help them be successful.  Executive ownership and sponsorship should be assigned to each strategic initiative and cross-functional team assignments made to ensure the success of these efforts.
  • Strategic Business Processes.  These are the strategic business processes which will support the company goals and strategic initiatives.  It is likely that the activities that have to occur to accomplish the company goals will require modifications to these key business processes.  These processes must be identified, documented, owners established and potentially cross-functional teams assigned to support the modification of these processes to support the business goals.
  • Strategic Business Applications.  Supporting key business processes is inevitably a set of technologies that help run the business.  It is likely as you implement new business processes, these applications must be enhanced, modified, or integrated in new ways to support the new business processes.  These applications must be identified during this process to help the business prioritize required IT activities.

This discussion outlines a high-level exercise to help you complete your business strategy at the company level.  The same exercise can be completed at the business unit or departmental level.  There are many more in-depth materials and resources available to help guide you through this process at a deeper level.  In addition, there are many consultancies that can help facilitate this process for you.  The materials and process provided here are intended to distill the business strategy exercise down in to an understandable and manageable process in order to obtain the required inputs in to the company’s Technology Strategy.

Above is the  format for the business strategy that I have used in the past that is relatively simple and conveys the essence of the strategy in an easily communicable manner.  Here is a completed, sample business strategy for a ficticious company that you can reference throughout this section.

Business Strategy Sample

< Why do I need a Business Strategy?

> SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)

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SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) http://www.lizeversoll.com/2011/02/13/swot-strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats/ http://www.lizeversoll.com/2011/02/13/swot-strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats/#comments Sun, 13 Feb 2011 00:10:06 +0000 Liz Eversoll http://www.lizeversoll.com/?p=893 Philip Selznick (1957) introduced the idea of matching the organization’s internal factors with external environmental circumstances. This core idea was developed into what we now call SWOT analysis.   The diagram provides a SWOT analysis template.

The SWOT analysis contains the following sections. 

  • Strengths are typically internal characteristics of your business that give it an advantage over your competitors.  These are typically things like your assets, your people, your value proposition, and your competitive advantages.  Any of these examples could potentially be weaknesses for your particular business rather than strengths.
  • Weaknesses are typically internal characteristics of your business that place you at a disadvantage to your competitors.  These are typically things like financial aspects, credibility/reputation, your people, IT systems, or business processes. Any of these examples could potentially be strengths for your particular business rather than weaknesses.
  • Opportunities are external market dynamics that present the opportunity to increase sales, profits, and/or take market share.  This could include entering a market where there is weak competition, high growth, creating new partnerships, developing new products, or enhancing marketing plans.
  • Threats are are external market dynamics that may present risk to the existing or future business.  These risks may be outside of your control.  Mitigation plans should be created for these threats.   Examples of these threats may include legal, economic conditions, competitive pricing or new competitors, or loss of key partners or contracts.

The SWOT analysis is easily conducted with brainstorming sessions with key leadership and personnel.  The SWOT analysis should be revisited as you go through developing the Business Strategy to ensure that as you are thinking about the future of your business you leverage strengths, capitalize on opportunities, address weaknesses, and to the extent you can, safeguard against threats.

The SWOT template above and others can be found in standard PowerPoint templates or there are many other available templates and samples available at locations like: 

Business Strategy Sample

< What is a Business Strategy?

> Mission

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Mission http://www.lizeversoll.com/2011/02/13/mission/ http://www.lizeversoll.com/2011/02/13/mission/#comments Sun, 13 Feb 2011 00:09:28 +0000 Liz Eversoll http://www.lizeversoll.com/?p=888 Mission statements are generally brief, compelling statements of an organizations purpose that:

  • Convey internally and externally what you stand for and the organizations objectives
  • Are inspirational, provide an avenue for change and drive the organization in to the future
  • Guide behavior, decision-making and priority-setting and are used on a daily basis
  • Differentiate you in the marketplace

Your mission statement may do some or all of these depending on your business.  Here are some good mission statement examples. 

  • First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. – JFK
  • Microsoft’s early mission, “A computer on every desk and in every home”
  • Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
  • NIKE – “Crush Reebok”
  • 3M “To solve unsolved problems innovatively”
  • Walt Disney “To make people happy.”
  • The Home Depot is in the home improvement business and our goal is to provide the highest level of service, the broadest selection of products and the most competitive prices.

More examples can be found at:

 There are also a plethora of books on the topic of creating your mission statement.  I like The Mission Primer by O’Hallaron and O’Hallaron.

Business Strategy Sample

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)

Vision

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Vision http://www.lizeversoll.com/2011/02/13/vision/ http://www.lizeversoll.com/2011/02/13/vision/#comments Sun, 13 Feb 2011 00:08:26 +0000 Liz Eversoll http://www.lizeversoll.com/?p=884 Your vision conveys the future picture of success for your business and why someone should work with your organization.  The time horizon is as long as the business strategy period and longer.   Your vision statement should

  • Be inspirational and motivational.
  • Create a mental picture of success.
  • Provide clarity of purpose.
  • Guide behavior.

Here are some Vision statement examples:

  • McDonald’s vision is to be the world’s best quick service restaurant experience.  Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.
  • Within the next five years, the Women’s Centre will have helped create a safer, more harmonious community by helping women acquire the education, skills and resources necessary to build self-sufficient prosperous lives.
  • Sears.  To be the preferred and most trusted resource for the products and services that enhance home and family life.
  • Bowling, Inc.  More people, bowling more often, having more fun.

More examples can be found at:

Business Strategy Sample

< Mission

> Values

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Values http://www.lizeversoll.com/2011/02/13/values/ http://www.lizeversoll.com/2011/02/13/values/#comments Sun, 13 Feb 2011 00:06:55 +0000 Liz Eversoll http://www.lizeversoll.com/?p=881 “Company cultures are like country cultures. Never try to change one. Try, instead, to work with what you’ve got.” – Peter Drucker

Once your culture is established, it is difficult to change, however the formulation and communication of your core values will help create the culture in your organization.

Core values are the basic principles that guide behavior and establish the company culture.  Many management experts will say that the establishment of your company’s core values is the most important thing you can do to ensure the success of your business.  Core values will guide the behavior of your organization with all stakeholders at all times, even when you are not there. 

Company values should

  • Establish an expected level of service
  • Outline the importance of a particular activity
  • Establish standards of behavior and guide this behavior
  • Communicate the importance of customers, community and other stakeholders

For example, Merck, a company that produces pharmaceutical products and provides insurance for pharmacy benefits, publicly states the following values:

  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Unequivocal excellence in all aspects of the company
  • Science-based innovation
  • Honesty & integrity
  • Profit, but profit from work that benefits humanity

And Walt Disney, an entertainment business states their values as follows:

  • No cynicism
  • Nurturing and promulgation of “wholesome American values”
  • Creativity, dreams and imagination
  • Fanatical attention to consistency and detail
  • Preservation and control of the Disney “magic”

Home Depot.  We are a values-driven company and our eight core values include the following:

  • Excellent customer service
  • Taking care of our people
  • Giving back
  • Doing the “right” thing
  • Creating shareholder value
  • Respect for all people
  • Entrepreneurial spirit
  • Building strong relationships

IBM

  • Dedication to every client’s success
  • Innovation that matters, for our company and for the world
  • Trust and personal responsibility in all relationships

Business Strategy Sample

< Vision

> Business Strategy Goals

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Business Strategy Goals http://www.lizeversoll.com/2011/02/13/business-strategy-goals/ http://www.lizeversoll.com/2011/02/13/business-strategy-goals/#comments Sun, 13 Feb 2011 00:05:42 +0000 Liz Eversoll http://www.lizeversoll.com/?p=877

“Management by objective works – if you know the objectives. Ninety percent of the time you don’t.” – Peter Drucker

 Now that you have your mission, vision and values for the company, it is time to set your company goals.  A goal is a measurable outcome over a specific period of time that is realistic and in alignment with the organization’s mission, vision and values.  Goals are set and then strategic initiatives are identified which will be required to accomplish the goal.  Employees can ensure that their day-to-day activities are in support of the company goals. 

In addition, employees are motivated by goals and goal achievement, and they wish to know that their work matters and will make a difference.  This is the case when goals are set and communicated, and their activities are in alignment with the company goals.

 Business goals should be:

  • Time bound – goals should be set with a timeframe for achievement in mind.  They can be set for one or more time periods (i.e. 12 months, 2-3 years or 5 years +), and linked together.   Goals expressed for time periods under 12 months, are generally considered to be business objectives or targets and will be part of a business plan 
  • Formulated to achieve the company’s vision and mission
  • Easily understood, clear and concise, but can also be broad in scope
  • Realistic and achievable, given the company’s resources
  • Measurable, so  they can be tracked and judged whether they have been achieved
  • Meaningful in that achievement of the goals will make a considerable difference to the company.  It is best therefore those goals are outcomes focused versus input driven.

Goal  characteristics above are from Small Business NSW. 

The following organizational areas require goals to be set in order to accomplish the overall company mission.

  • Financial Goals.  The most important goals for the company outline the financial targets over the business strategy time period.  All other goals in other areas must support these goals.
  • Customer Goals.  The required customer goals which will result in the necessary sales to accomplish the financial goals.
  • Products & Services Goals.   The goals for delivery and support of the product/services which will result in the necessary sales to accomplish the financial goals.
  • Partner Goals.  Goals for the strategic partnerships which will deliver the required product/services or customer results.
  • Employee Goals.  Goals for the required employee training, development, productivity increases and retention needed to support delivery of the organizational goals.
  • Internal Goals.   Goals for internal systems efficiency improvements which will enable the organization to deliver on the outlined customer and product/service goals.
  • Community Goals.   Goals that focus on giving back to the community, volunteering, philanthropy, engaging local businesses, and/or protecting our planet and natural resources.

Financial, Customer, Products/Services and Partner goals outline for the business “what you do”.  Employee, Internal and Community goals outline “how you do it”.  Depending on your business, you could have other major areas of the business that require more emphasis, so you would include them at this level, or you may wish to de-emphasize one of these areas (e.g. Partners) at is not at this high level of strategic importance required to accomplish your company’s mission.

Usually 2-4 goals in each area are sufficient to outline what the organization needs to accomplish.  Remember that business units and departments will break this down further with goals in their particular areas that support the strategy goals.

Business Strategy Sample

< Values

> Financial Goals

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