As mentioned above, an essential element of strategic essence
is differentiation -- that which enables the organization to compete and
Without differentiation we do not have
customers. When an organization cripples that which differentiates
it, it loses customers. When it enhances it, refines it, takes it to
the next level, customers flock through its doors.
An example: a stalled project, ERP plus Warehouse Management
System. Customer was also involved in Brand Management for a
range of global brands and, in fact, its ability to manage and enhance
those brands, was the reason it was successful. Yes, it was good
at distribution but that was not the essence. The stalled project totally ignored brand management and focused on the warehouse.
I developed a Product Classification for the ERP that focussed
on the brands, right down to what we called
the "brand line", the specific component of the brand that groups distinct
elements of what you find on the retailers shelf. I
then designed some software to use the intelligence in the
Product Classification to facilitate new product take-on so that the Master
Data was highly intelligent and of the highest possible quality.
I also added a range of
customer specific custom strategic attributes to the
Product Master File that uniquely classified the
products in accordance with the way my client and their
customers viewed the products from a marketing
then specified a further piece of custom software that
provided functionality to auto-generate marketing
projects into the Projects module of the ERP based on
the Product Classification (i.e. the Brand
The client now had a
project per brand line coded in such a way that they
rolled up per brand and supplier with a budget and
actual cost bin per brand line, per month across 29
marketing cost lines.
Overnight the client went
from massive manual analysis in clumsy and unreliable
spreadsheets with double punching to a comprehensive
suite of brand management reports that NONE of their
competitors were able to match anywhere on the
couple of years their turnover was up significantly and they won one of
the most prestigious brands in the world away from their competitors;
because they could do something their competitors could NOT do.
Read case study.
At this point the cost of the project became insignificant relative to the improved turnover and profitability that resulted -- they could do more, better and with the same headcount!
That is the power of strategic essence.
Yes, there were months of grunt work using specialized techniques to make it all work, but if you start out on the wrong road it is all fruitless; and most business systems projects do start off on the wrong road!
The absence of understanding of these factors is what makes most business system and ERP projects frustrating to executives.
Understanding and applying strategic essence is the great opportunity for any organization embarking on a business systems project today. It is also the opportunity
for any organization whose systems and operating
procedures are slowing it down and getting in its
way. Small adjustments relating to some of the points raised above can give rise to a very substantial improvement.
Introduce strategic essence thinking and methods into everything that you do, refocus your efforts and your investment and you will be surprised at what you can accomplish.