Our current business climate requires organizations to respond quickly and effectively to change. This type of resiliency necessitates an understanding of every strength and weakness across a business. Resiliency is built on knowledge.
Strategies in the past may have been delivered via PowerPoint presentations, but we can no longer afford to wait for updates to decks. Our strategies will gather lots of data and we can use Microsoft Excel pivot tables or newer strategy aware tools like SharpCloud to document a strategy’s findings. Multi-dimensionally aware tools allow us to make our strategy dynamic. We can update key program’s status or priority to re-calculate potential changes in the firm’s direction.
Calculating Return on Investment (ROI) can be very challenging, but is a critical aspect to a successful strategy. We may save money, increase market share, or improve our brand recognition and reputation. Even if ROI calculations are not perfect, the process of putting a value to programs and initiatives helps us to decide when to make necessary changes. Calculating ROI allows an organization to make better decisions.
The first area of data gathering involves people, or stakeholders. This involves customer, employees, owners or shareholders and external partners like society, suppliers or outsourced services. We can understand each by identifying their journeys. For example, a customer journey typically involves stages like the following:
- Gaining knowledge of your business
- Conversion of prospect to customer
- Change from customer to loyal customer
- Movement from customer to abandonment
Along the journey are pathways of success or failure and each will involve an emotion that will help to understand the stakeholder’s mindset as they make decisions. For example, we see hundreds of advertisements on the web every day. Studies show that we choose to ignore or pay attention to advertisements based mostly on emotions. Getting your customer to ‘see’ you means understanding what they value. This understanding may differ as the business climate changes and finding customers during stressful times may require a change in how you move prospects to clients.
For each stakeholder, you should list the stages they go through from understanding to exit. Each stage will have a positive and negative outcome based primarily on emotions. A very loyal customer may require more negative emotions to leave you than a casual customer, but the pathways are the same. Whether the economy is exuberant or depressed may change the level of emotions required to change a stakeholder’s pathway. Understanding what your stakeholders are going through will help you to better serve all your stakeholders.
We can document the value or ROI for our stakeholders choosing one pathway vs. the other. We can invest in programs that increase ROI at a higher rate than the program’s cost. As we document every stakeholder’s pathways based on ROI, we increase our ability to be resilient to change.
The next blog in this series will discuss processes and policies to detail and assess in an Information Management strategy.