- Opinion & Analysis
- Read Time: 23 min
After decades of anticipation, the promise of automated decision-making systems is finally becoming a reality in a variety of industries.
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Few organizations understand the benefits of having tactical planners, who use computer models to optimize the supply chain, in close communication with the senior managers who formulate strategy. The author outlines a planning approach that ensures that critical supply-chain details inform a company’s business strategy and that supply-chain management aligns with the strategic direction.
How a diverse group of IT managers responsible for global technology infrastructure developed a way of working together that enabled Xerox to create and transfer knowledge more effectively.
How could a team of decent, hardworking, normally law-abiding managers find themselves facing fines, jail time, the loss of their jobs, and ultimately the loss of the company they managed? In making executive decisions, these managers were not deliberately trying to evade the intent of the law, defraud anyone, harm
Successful strategy emerges from a decision process in which executives develop collective intuition, accelerate constructive conflict, maintain decision pacing and avoid politics. As well, in rapidly changing markets, decisions that change a company’s direction arise much more often.
Firms have always had difficulty spotting new competitors, and business history is full of stories about incumbent market leaders being displaced by a smart new entrant. If anything, the task seems even harder today.
Traditional strategic planning draws from forecasts of parameters like market growth, prices, exchange rates, and input costs that managers are unable to predict five or 10 years in advance with any accuracy. The author discusses a strategy that embodies a coherent portfolio of options, sketches a process managers can use to develop this kind of strategy, and explains how planning and management opportunism can reinforce each other.
On the basis of research into 100 enterprises, the authors developed a helpful strategic tool, the Delta Model. Companies using the framework define strategic positions that reflect new sources of profitability, align the strategic options with their activities, and establish processes that adapt well to change. The researchers outline practical mechanisms for obtaining feedback from the adaptive processes, and they offer critical metrics to track performance.
Managers must think about and manage data differently in order to take advantage of this underutilized resource.
When companies downsize, managers need to consider how to bolster their employees’ morale in order to maintain productivity and engender flexibility. The authors propose a four-stage approach — gleaned from interviews and surveys — that will mitigate worker mistrust and disempowerment and will, they say, help build a better company.
Strategy in many companies seems to have gone astray, and the author has identified the reason: Managers are focusing on it in isolation instead of establishing the preconditions to successful strategy innovation. Only those companies that are constantly able to reinvent themselves will survive. The author shows how to improve strategy making and create wealth through a pluralistic process, collaboration across industries and market experimentation.
Why do companies frequently make bad investment decisions and continue to blunder, even after the weaknesses in their capital budgeting analyses are evident? Because, say the authors, they don’t integrate capital budgeting into their overall strategy. To address this, the authors present a framework for dynamic capital budgeting that can help managers make intelligent investment decisions with a long-term strategy in mind.
Creating a business-driven IT infrastructure requires that executives thoroughly understand their firm’s strategic context. By formulating a series of business and IT maxims — short simple statements of the business’s positions — managers can identify the IT infrastructure service suited to their company. Organizational, political, cultural, and reward system issues, as well as a lack of IT leadership, may form implementation barriers.
Falling communication costs are enabling companies to decentralize their decision-making structures. Now they must seek a balance between empowerment and control.
As a tool for business process reengineering, “the matrix” can help managers determine how quickly change should proceed, in what order changes should take place, whether to start at a new site, and whether the proposed systems are stable and coherent. For a medical products manufacturer, the matrix of change provided unique, useful guidelines for change management.
In order to successfully implement change, both line managers and IT specialists must give up their belief in the magical power of IT. The hard reality of IT-enabled transformation is that change is everyone’s job.
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