Increasing the Cadence of Strategic Decision Making

Increasing the Cadence of Strategic Decision Making

The cadence of organizational decision making must keep pace with rate of change in the business environment.  The strategic planning process must become more adaptive and responsive to changes in the market.  Bringing information sciences and decision support solutions to match the rhythm of the dynamic nature of today’s business environment.

It is no longer possible to spend a year planning, then the next three to five years trying to execute the plan.

The rate of change within the business environment requires a more evolutionary and iterative process. As market shifts are no longer measured in years, but in months and weeks, we need to be adaptive and responsive to our business environment.  Establishing strategies as trends emerge and threats/opportunities present themselves. We need to be able to modify strategies as their value propositions change and eliminate strategies that are no longer viable.

As the tempo of business increases, organization strategic planning must become more dynamic.   Reacting to the change without damaging the organization means improving the agility of execution.  Organizations that understand the inter-dependencies strategic elements have a head start in managing this change.  By capturing inter-dependencies and assessing potential impact of change, organizations can guard against the introduction of unexpected impact to the overall plan.  

As dynamic behavior increases, there is a higher potential for chaotic behavior to negatively impact the organization’s plans.   Adequate change management must become part of the evolution.  And change management must have a complete picture of the risks caused by necessary adjustments.  

Information technology can support a management architecture that is dynamic and that provides actionable knowledge and decision support.  Information tools that are adaptable and that enable automated reasoning can support analytics that can identify challenges, help mitigate risk, and even predict change.  

The pace of organizational decision-making will increase, blending operational and strategic emphasis. These processes must rely on decision support tools to provide cross functional cooperation and provide better insight into the business environment. Informed decision making allows the organization to become proactive as the market shifts and informs leadership of the current state of operations.

So how do organizations make the leap to become more adaptive and responsive?  Sometimes a change in leadership style is required.   Understanding the organizations culture is important to navigate the transformation successfully. Leaders will need to augment their skills and encourage buy-in and stakeholder engagement.  Integrating teams with planning that includes traceable objectives and compatible goals. 

Cross organizational thinking is required to leverage insight and knowledge of the organization. Data driven organizations often find that the decision-making processes can be pushed down deeper into the organization. Decisions that require planning and execution by cross functional teams.  Insight gained by a holistic information architecture can greatly increase the success of cross functional behavior.  

Prior to Desert Storm, missile launch detection and analysis took tens of minutes.  Information systems were used to detect launches, analyze the event, and assess the impact of the event.  This data would be used to develop strategic plans.  During Desert Storm intelligent solutions were developed to reduce the detection processing time to near real time, allowing for detection and mitigation of risk from the event.  Further advances in predictive analytics has enabled preemptive responses that eliminate threats prior to an actual event.  The mission changed from influencing strategy, to impacting the outcome of tactical situations, and now to preventing them.

Transformation of Mission, Driven By Informatics

Prior to the introduction of the internet, world wide web, and social media, the marketing function was to build brand, create positioning, and reach potential customers to fill the sales channel.  But today, marketing is a cornerstone element of measuring customer satisfaction with company service levels, how well products serve customer needs, identify customer segments, develop customer requirements, and identify emerging market/competition trends.  The marketing function goes from an outward facing function to driving product and service change.

Netflix matured from an online access point for entertainment, to driving change in cable/broadcast industry and creating original content that is tuned to knowledge they have derived from usage patterns.  Changing how entertainment is consumed the world over.

Amazon has gone from an online store front for books, to completely changing the retail industry. And like Netflix, offering original content and merchandise.

These are examples are of companies that have used information to transform the competitive landscape, creating agile and responsive offerings that are dominating their competition, anticipating their customer’s needs and desires, defining their own marketplace.

Next up… Creating the information architecture that helps agility and responsiveness.

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