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The Effect of Social, Local, Mobile and Personal Technologies on Your Business Strategy

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.

Why do I need a Business Strategy?

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.

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> What is a Business Strategy?

Business Strategy Sample

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

< What is a Business Strategy?