Every enterprise has a strategic plan. However, according to PwC, not even half of them manage to be successful in their execution. This phenomenon is called the strategy execution gap.
In case you’ve fallen victim to the gap, take solace in the fact that you’re not alone. The only question you have to ask yourself is, “Did I choose the right kind of enterprise software solution to ensure strategy success?”
To help you in your research, I’ve created a list of the most common types of enterprise software solutions which claim to support the strategy effort one way or another.
Every Pot Has a Lid
- Business Intelligence (BI)
BI is probably the most common solution used by enterprises. It’s used in specific industries such as retail, food and others since it fits their demands better, in general companies use BI to measure their industry-specific metrics and KPIs.
It provides dynamic data analysis for sales, marketing, and other business units for better decision making. There are various benefits from using a BI solution, ranging from cost reduction, better targeted sales, and general business insights, among others.
CIO magazine states: The core of BI is still reporting rather than process management. And another problem rests with the data validation. BI relies solely on data, and once its quality is impaired, subsequent insights can not be trusted.
BI could return its investment effectively in terms of identifying the products which aren’t profitable. However, in terms of bridging the strategy execution gap, it isn’t the tool for strategy effort and plan.
- Balanced Scorecards (BSC)
BSCs are in fact designed to be a strategy performance management tool. The idea behind them is simple. Each parameter is being categorized by a score, which has been ascribed according to the strategic direction the company wishes to follow.
By scoring, a company aligns business activities to its vision and strategy, improves internal and external communications, and monitors performance against goals.
The value in using BSCs is that they present future implications of certain actions, instead of merely revealing past events on which we no longer have any affect. The result is that we can receive valuable insights, and adjust according to plan, thus preventing the strategy effort gap to become any wider.
BSC solutions’ critical disadvantage is outweighing its advantage. It doesn’t take every criteria and data into consideration while showing us a result. Too many important pieces are lacking to create a true picture if there was a full implementation of a strategic goal.
- Business Process Management & Corporate Process Management (BPM and CPM)
BPM and CPM solutions are often confused around their similar labels and in capabilities. They differ in mainly one aspect.CPM was designed for large businesses and BPM fits every business. BPM and CPM were originally planned to plan, report, and forecast.
Recently they have been promoted as capable of supporting corporate transformation and re-organizations. In the 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant for CPM suites, Gartner defined a distinct category of “Strategic CPM” solutions which support organization-wide transformation and growth.
These suites include strategic planning and forecasting, predictions and what-if scenarios, and strategy management capabilities such as scorecards and strategy maps, initiative/goal management and dashboards.
The biggest downside in these solutions is that while there is a strong emphasize on corporate transformation, strategy management and many more features which eventfully contribute to strategy output, the emphasis is more on the planning side, rather than on the result. Also, they specialize on the financial side of the enterprisers, instead of the holistic vision.
- Governance Risk Management and Compliance (GRC)
Although it isn’t originally designed to enforce strategy, GRC possess valuable features that make it suitable to a certain degree for the process. Some GRC solutions have advanced reporting capabilities and it is aligned with many IT assets to insure accurate information.
GRCs are designed to solve specific issues, therefore narrowing its scope to enforce strategy efforts within larger enterprises that face many strategy ‘breaches’. However, it isn’t aligned at all to the budget and finance assets, making it virtually impossible to be informed the most crucial aspect of the strategy process.
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
Sometimes referred to as ‘expenses, pain and regret’, ERP is the most common enterprise software solution on the market. Every medium and large enterprise uses an ERP or at least an ERP module to some extent. They offer uniformity of data, visibility, work flow enforcements, and works as a modular system. However, it’s this modular system that often causes disconnect and offers siloed information.
Another downside for ERP systems to be used for strategy framework is the lack of cost effectiveness and long duration of an ERP deployment. Most enterprises come up with a strategic plan for the next 1-5 years. But usually an ERP deployment in a large enterprise could take up to 3 years.
- Organically Grown Strategy Execution Solutions
These solutions are designed specially to encounter the issue of bridging the strategy gap.
They are somewhat of a hybrid version of the later solutions I introduced, and each one of them puts more emphasis on different sides such as change management, collaboration, transparency, accountability, connectivity of all resources, work plans and budgets, unified communication and much more. They are purpose-built for the explicit goal of strategy by giving an end-to-end holistic view for the entire organization.
In summary, there are various solutions you can use to address strategy gap. Use of any solution not built from the bottom-up for the express purpose of implementing your strategic goals comes with many disadvantages. And these disadvantages can cost you money as they include lack of cost-effectiveness, long deployment time, too few capabilities, not connecting all the dots you need to connect to ensure implementation and more.
It all comes down to one question: Where is your greatest pain and if you believe it can be solved from the top down, by aligning every actionable item with a strategic goal, then why try anything less than a purebred strategy execution solution?