By Lisa Cavanagh, Practice Executive
This is the second blog post, in a series of five, about achieving business agility as experienced by a technology business partner. Look for the remaining posts in the coming weeks:
- Business Agility: What is it & Why is it Critical to your Business?
- Achieving Business Agility: Focus on Value Creation
- Achieving Business Agility: The role of Data
- Achieving Business Agility: Modernizing Operations
- Achieving Business Agility: Confronting Reality
In my first blog, I reviewed the concept of business agility and why, now more than ever, it is critical for organizations to evolve to achieve greater agility.
I also discussed that while each organization’s transformational journey is unique, there are several key tenants that every organization can leverage to support their transformation. I have been fortunate to be a part of several transformations, with the most recent as a team member of a technology business partner. In this blog, I will be discussing the importance of focusing on value creation and sharing our approach and experiences as a part of our evolution to drive greater business value for our customers.
FOCUS ON VALUE CREATION
“Digital” may play the role of a disruptor in digital transformation, yet the actual transformation is grounded in the business. As you embark on this journey, you have to ask:
- What does your business value?
- What drives the business?
- What do you want the business to represent?
Micro Strategies’ founder and CEO, Anthony Bongiovanni, was very clear on the answers to these questions. He had an awareness of what contributed to the organization’s success and the changing market conditions that were impacting the organization, as well as an understanding of where the organization needed to evolve to continue to achieve success. His ability to have that awareness, as well as articulate a clear direction, allowed the transformation to be grounded in the key values he established. Anchoring in those key values, we then turned our focus to the creation of highly empowered teams organized around those value areas.
Although this may sound straight forward, this a common misstep for organizations. In many approaches, teams are formed around technologies or organizational structures. It is common to default to an organizational structure that is driven by technology or business skill sets, yet this approach does not take into consideration the complexities as to how the technologies integrate to deliver business value.
Another common shortcoming is to focus too heavily on tactical items such as team size. I have witnessed consulting firms stressing the importance of “two pizza box teams;” the belief that the right size team is no larger than the number of slices in two pizza pies. If only it were that easy.
There are many factors that need to be integrated into the establishment of value stream teams. It is not to say that skills, technologies and team size are not factors to be considered, but first and foremost is the value the team is driving. A few questions you need to ask yourself when considering the teams for your organization are:
- Can these teams become “micro” businesses within the organization?
- Can they support their own P&L? Do they drive enough value for the cost of the team members?
- Can we align critical business objectives to them?
- Are the objectives the teams are focused on short- or long-term?”
At Micro Strategies, we anchored in the core organizational objectives set by our CEO. We then identified the components needed to achieve those objectives allowing us to drive value for our customers, our partners and our organization. Ultimately we built teams around those components, taking into consideration leadership requirements, skills, resources and size implications of each team. This process was iterative; there wasn’t a simple checklist that we followed.
WHY ORGANIZE AROUND VALUE
You may be wondering why such thoughtfulness is required to develop these teams. Why is organizing the teams around value so important?
Every organization’s goal is to drive some type of business value and to be able to understand the outcomes and impacts of that value. The technology and resources needed to support driving value continue to become increasingly complicated due to the number of options available, the integration points between them and the speed in which they need to be delivered.
When aligned to value, each of these teams become individual organizations within one organization, considering critical questions to ensure that the “micro” organizations are healthy and appropriately contributing to the “macro” organization. Each of Micro Strategies’ teams focuses on their strategy, identifying and developing solutions that combine intellectual property, service offerings and technology sourced from a variety of partners or suppliers. The process of developing these solutions is informed by our customers’ internal needs and the external demands placed on customers due to market conditions. As the teams focus on delivering solutions, they integrate learnings, enhancing the solutions to achieve greater business outcomes for our customers with shorter time to value cycles due to streamlined implementation approaches.
This cohesive approach to strategy and execution tied to business outcomes is only achieved if the alignment is focused on business value. In this approach the team’s objectives are clear, the technologies, skills and resources needed to achieve those objectives are understood, the costs associated with those technologies, skills and resources are identifiable, and the outcomes and impacts can be associated with those costs. This provides tremendous visibility for organizations. You are able to create an internal “investment portfolio,” understanding the returns your investments will drive, when it may make sense to invest as well as how much is needed to invest in new value areas, and when it may make sense to divest value areas given current market trends.
Like many other organizations, Micro Strategies is on a digital transformation journey. Yes, how we define ourselves continues to evolve as a result of the “digital” disruption. What remains the same is our perseverance to consistently drive value for our customers, partners and the organization. To achieve this, we recognize that as we transform we must always ground in focusing on the value areas which enable our objectives and organizing the teams around them.
This post is the second in a series of blogs on achieving business agility as presented from a technology business partner’s perspective. Interested in hearing more? Check out the first blog or contact us.