Tuesday’s Tip: 2010 Apps Strategies Should Start With Business Value

Published on December 8, 2009 by R "Ray" Wang

Begin Apps Strategy Projects With Bite-Sized Entry Points

Complexity often plagues today’s apps strategies.  With tight budgets, limited resources, and little time, organizations need to find bite-sized entry points. The need to meet ever changing complex business requirements requires a four-step, basic (A,B,C,D) approach:
  1. Align your business requirements with the hierarchy of business needs. Every project and initiative can be placed into one of the five stages.  Use the organizational hierarchy of needs to classify and prioritize the importance of each project.  With a clear sense of how the priorities stack up, you can begin crafting your apps strategy around organizational readiness, business process optimization, technology strategy, and vendor ecosystems.
  2. Base decisions on the identification of 3 major types of business processes. As organizations begin that process of documenting business processes, they must differentiate among the 3 major types of business processes.  In key flows such as order to cash, hire to retire, incident to resolution, procure to pay, etc, remember to categorize key processes into three buckets: mission critical, commoditized, and innovative.
  3. Choose your entry points to business value. It makes no sense to boil the ocean.  Clients often start with departmental and work there way to cross-departmental initiatives.  Advanced customers focus on external entry points such as customers and partners.  Keep in mind processes cross functional fiefdoms but you do have to start somewhere. (see Figure 1.)
  4. Define the metrics that matter. Begin with the end in mind.  This Coveyism always rings true in transformational activities.  Metrics should be aligned with your entry points.  Quantify the baseline and determine the effort.  Adjust your ROI targets to align resources with efforts to move the needle.  The goal – drive business value. (see Figure 2.)
Figure 1. Choose Your Entry Points To Business Value

     (Copyright © 2009 by R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.)
(Copyright © 2009 by R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.)

Figure 2. Define The Metrics That Matter
Copyright © 2009 by R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC.  All rights reserved.)
(Copyright © 2009 by R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.)

The Bottom Line – Sketch The Big Picture, But Paint By Number

With the pace of adoption much slower than the pace of technology innovation, organizations will have to complete small tactical projects that build out the larger picture.  Apps strategies should include tactical road maps that achieve strategic goals.  Don’t hesitate to plan ahead and build in flexibility.  Plans will change, so apps strategies must take an “agile” approach.   Iterate every 6 months as business needs change and new disruptive technologies emerge.  Keep focused on the goal in mind – business value.

Your POV

Have you planned your 2010 strategy?  Which entry points have you prioritized?  How are you defining business value?  Got a scoop or something to share? Please post or send on to r at softwareinsider dot org or rwang0 at gmail dot com and we’ll keep your anonymity.

Copyright © 2009 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.

  • Ray,

    This is one of the most comprehensive reviews of the company, not the event only, that I have seen in a long time. I think your analysis highlights the biggest problem they have today, the barrier between the labs and the user base. That is even tougher to solve than it is to put together a better go-to-market message or a marketing strategy.

    Their problem is solved by a radical change in mentality – which is something we heard at the event, but did not see. The dichotomy I speak of in my post is the example of the lack of showing of that change in mentality.

    Can they do it? It would be easy to say “we shall wait and see”, but my belief is that they are already doing it — but it is working as upward-moving evolution, something that the people at the “lower levels” (not management) realized before management and began to implement. The formalization of the process by management as exemplified in this event is going to help them move faster forward.

    So, my vote is on “yes, they can do it. they are already doing it”. The question i don’t think is CAN as much as WHEN.

    Great post, thanks for doing this work…

  • Ray,

    What a great post. Although you talk about metrics which is close my heart as a BI professional, what you are saying goes beyond BI. Even if one has to implement a transactional system software the focus on metrics is key. For example, tracking the days and accuracy of the Order to Cash cycle before and after a system implementation. Not only does it help keep things on track and focused, it lays a good foundation for future analytics with good data quality and the ability to measure KPIs. Regardless of the state of the economy, this is how software should be approached.

    More on my blog post here
    http://blog.pivotlink.com/2009/12/its-all-about-about-tracking-metrics/

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