Strategy on a Page
Having a clear understanding of business strategy is always an imperative to understanding, planning and managing to realisation of business value. Our observations with many clients is that leadership teams are keen to look forward 2 or 5 years, undertaking typical “Our Business in 202X” strategy exercises. There is a desire to set a vision/mission/goals, and to recognise that both minor and major change (even Transformation) is needed. However, the leadership team often has trouble linking and explaining how change (and business-as-usual) can enable the organisation to achieve their goals. This is illustrated when:
There is not a shared nor agreed view of what success for the organisation means (outside financial terms) and how it will be achieved.
There is no rigorous prioritisation to focus on the important few things that need to change. Instead, work starts on the many and often irrelevant (usually tactical and distracting) things.
There is not a meaningful way of express value contribution – how will the things the organisation undertakes actually achieves the goals and outcomes that are set?
Managers and staff can’t see the unique part they play in the success of the business change and outcomes. They have no picture of the value they add to the organisation.
There is no definition of success for the organisation in terms of meaningful and measurable outcomes, both of change along the way and the end 202X goals.
To overcome the shortcomings of many strategy exercises as identified above, Strategy on a Page is a way of expressing an organisation’s business strategy that aids in the visualisation, communication, prioritisation and success definition of that strategy. On one pictorial page, the leadership team has a collective representation in measurable outcome terms of:
Their desired business goals and objectives
Their agreed business change/transformation choices and their priority via the value contribution logic (the outcomes) of how business change can be successful and goals achieved.
Strategy on a Page is an application of outcomes thinking. Starting with the end in mind and working backwards to what need to be changed and undertaken to achieve those business outcomes. It uses this right-to-left thinking and the outcome mapping technique to represent visually strategy as a set of linked outcomes.
Benefits realisation is a discipline that is rarely successful in organisations. Initial enthusiasm is usually placed on benefits planning, but insufficient focus during and post investment delivery is made on the actual recording and reporting on the measures of success. VMC’s approach to benefits realisation brings clarity towards understanding and actively managing business change in addition to the realisation of business benefits through the full investment life cycle, including an evaluation as an essential final step. Our benefits realisation approach leverages the NSW Government Benefits Realisation Management Framework. This Framework has 4 phases:
Understand – clarifying how the benefits will arise from change
Plan – developing benefits plans for key outcomes with relevant metrics and activist accountabilities defined
Realise and report – measuring and analysing the investment outcomes to proactively support the delivery of benefits
Evaluate - identifying learnings from program activities to inform strategic decisions and priorities
Prioritising and selecting the most valuable digitally enabled transformation projects amongst an organisation's investment portfolio is essential towards the prevention of value leakage. Our methodology steers organisations away from managing portfolios for costs and resourcing alone by focusing on creating a credible and consistent comprehension of what relative value means to an organisation. VMC’s approach involves employing a pragmatic ability to 'score' value across 3 parameters, namely, strategic alignment, business contribution and risk/readiness in addition to a dynamic approach towards portfolio adjustment in order to ensure transparent decision-making.
Just about all organisations today are dealing with increasingly complex programs of organisational and digital transformation. Most don't realise that articulating and realising value requires a clear definition of the business outcomes set out in the business strategy. Having this clarity of outcomes gives purpose to defining the value proposition for specific investment business cases and to the prioritisation of the organisation’s investment portfolio. VMC’s service offerings are based around the understanding, governance and realisation of outcomes, firstly at a business strategy level, then at the individual investment and portfolio level.
"We need to rethink, reimagine and transform organisational governance, leadership and management to maximise value in the ever evolving digital age" ~ John Thorp, author of "The Information Paradox"
The value management process can only be impactful with an instituted value governance framework which we assist to integrate. This involves establishing and maintaining the decision making and monitoring structures, processes and information for the business governance of the portfolio of investments. By maintaining value management principles over the full lifecycle of an organisation's transformation, this ensures that optimal value can be secured from all digital investments.
An example of VMC’s service offering in value governance is the establishment and sustainment of a Value Management Office (VMO). The VMO has a role to actively manage the realisation of value from the portfolio of investment.
An Outcomes Map graphically depicts how a specific set of initiatives contribute to a set of outcomes. The model, agreed to by a group of individuals, represents a shared understanding of some aspect of their “world” as they see it. The model reflects a common understanding, based on views, facts and expectations, at a given point of time.
This shared understanding may change over time, as the reality or situation of the strategy or program changes, or as the individuals involved achieve a deeper understanding of their situation. The point of the Outcomes Map is that it/s clear representation can promote shared views. The initial understanding may not be complete. Adjustments can be made as the initiatives are carried out and the outcome results are assessed.
Development of an Outcomes Map should be seen as more of an art that a science. The model does not have the precision of a mathematical model, but it does use the notions of contribution and outcomes that are very intuitive and readily understood by the majority of business people.
Outcome Maps help to dispel “Miracle Thinking” about how the end outcomes or benefits of a project/program/investment/strategy will be achieved. It provides the simple visual picture to show how investing in technology and business change might lead to the “value” the stakeholders are expecting. Undertaking the process of developing an Outcomes Map is often seen as the major contributor to getting all the stakeholders on the same page- - understanding, scope, why we are doing this, the key assumptions we need to manage. It is the 1 page summary of the why and what of a strategy, business plan or investment.