Monday, 25 July 2016

Using online business strategy development and execution tools to increase collaboration

It is hard to avoid the fact that the digital revolution is transforming almost every aspect of almost every business. As strategists, it is important to remain abreast of these trends in order to able to advise our employers or clients appropriately.

But one often over-looked aspect of the digital revolution is how digital can change the way we do strategy itself. Most strategy processes still boil down to circulating large Powerpoint decks or Word documents by email, just like we did 20 years ago.

Fortunately, that is now starting to change. StrategicLearningApp is an online business strategy development and execution tool designed to increase collaboration.

StrategicLearningApp is arranged around a unique Strategy Board which brings together the 4 core stages of the strategy development and execution cycle:
  1. Analysis
  2. Articulation
  3. Planning
  4. Control

Analysis


The Analysis module is all about understanding the organisation's operating model, capabilities, strengths and weaknesses, as well as its operating environment, such competition, and industry forces and trends. StrategicLearningApp provides a number of tools for doing this, such as:
  • Porter's Value Chain analysis for understanding how the organisation uses it operating model to create value. (Learn more.)
  • McKinsey 7S analysis for understanding the internal factors which lead to success. (Learn more.)
  • PEST analysis for understanding the Political, Economic, Socio-economic and Technological trends. (Learn more.)
  • Porter's 5 Forces analysis for understanding the forces that shape competition in your industry. (Learn more.)
  • Strategy Canvas for comparing and contrasting how different competitors win customers. (Learn more.)
  • BCG Matrix for understanding how different products and services in your portfolio contribute value. (Learn more.)
  • SWOT analysis, a useful way of summarising your organisations Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. (Learn more.)
The different models are all integrated behind the scenes where this makes sense, so that insights generated in the other tools will automatically show up in your SWOT analysis, and can also be attached to processes in the Value Chain analysis, etc.

Articulation


The Articulation module is where you express what your strategy is. StrategicLearningApp allows you to articulate your Vision, Mission and Values. It also allows you to set your strategic Goals, Objectives, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Targets and Actual Results using a Balanced Scorecard framework.

The Performance Plan Map provides a useful summary of you Goals, Objectives KPIs and Targets and helps you identify any gaps in your strategy.

Planning


The Planning module allows you to map out exactly what you plan to do to deliver your strategy. You can organise your Initiatives in timeline or Gantt view, as well as lay them out in a Three Horizons view, helping to ensure you strike the right balance between short, medium and long-term activities. You can link Initiatives back to the Goals they support, and capture Cost and Benefit details.

The Goal/Initiative Matrix allows you to map your Initiatives to your Goals and highlights any Initiatives which don't explicitly support your Goals, or any Goals which don't have any initiatives supporting them.

Control


The Control module runs across the other modules providing tools to assist in the development and execution of your strategy.

A RAID log allows you to record Risks, Actions, Issues and Decisions, and to link these to your to the appropriate items within the other three modules. (Learn more.)

You can also record Stakeholders, either Individuals, Organisations or Generic Groups and, using a RASCI framework, map them as being either Responsible, Supporting, Accountable, Consulted or Informed regarding Goals or Actions.

The Meeting Manager allows you to record which Stakeholders participated in which meetings, together with Agendas, Minutes, Actions and Decisions. The Actions and Decision are automatically included in the RAID log and can also then be linked back to the relevant Insights, Goals and Initiatives, etc.

Lastly the Scorecard provides a graphical summary of all of your KPI's Target and Action Results so that you can easily track if your strategy is delivering, and also feed this back into the ongoing Analysis and refinement of your strategy.

Collaboration


Collaboration is baked into StrategicLearningApp at every step along the way.

To invite someone into your strategy project, simply enter their email address. StrategicLearningApp will then email them with appropriate instructions which will then link them to your project. Only people you invite can see your strategy projects.

All changes are recorded (using a familiar legal red-lining approach where applicable) and timestamped together with the author who made them, so you'll always know who did what an when. There is also a handy notes feature allowing team mates to annotate and comment on any element of your strategy. This ensures that all collaboration around your strategy remains attached to the strategy content to which it relates - no more trawling through email archives and old versions of documents to remember who said what when!

Once a day, StrategicLearningApp will email you a summary of all the changes and notes your team mates have made, ensuring your always up to date and engaged in the conversation.

Reporting, Search & Multi-device


Using the Reporting module you can extract a snapshot strategic plan at any stage in your journey. Because it is a dynamic snap shot at a point in time, your strategic plan truly becomes a "living document", not an annual report which just sits on the shelf until next year.

You can also export your strategy plan into Strategy Markup Language (STRATML), which is the ISO Standard XML Schema for Strategy and Performance Plans and Reports.

Your projects are also fully searchable, and available from any device connected to the internet, be it a PC, laptop, tablet or smart-phone.

Give it a go, NOW


StrategicLearningApp is free to use for up to three projects. If you want to do more than three projects, there is a subscription version available for a small monthly fee.

Why not click here to give it a go, now?