strategy execution

Data, data everywhere!?

I was recently in Sweden speaking at a Business Intelligence conference. All the BI software vendors were lined up at the exhibition, and nice dashboards were shown. Most of the presenters looked at data as the “holy grail” and claimed that “the knowledge and power are in the data”.

As a Strategy Execution advocate, I gave a different speech. I was afraid that they would start stoning me when I referred to Jim Collins’s book “From good to great”. When Jim Collins researched what made companies, “World Class companies” he found something very interesting:

“We found no evidence that good-to-great companies had more or better information than the comparison companies. None.”

When I presented this statement I was glad that I had a body guard with me to protect me! I explained the difference between Strategic Performance Management and Business Intelligence.

Strategy Execution SoftwareBusiness Intelligence/ Data warehouse
Overall goalImplement strategyTake better decisions
MethodDescriptive/ text – establish goals and targetsData driven – discover interrelationships in the data
FocusFuture. Focus on reaching a strategic destinationHistorical data can explain current performance and predict future
ApproachAction orientedAnalytic oriented
OutputStrategic Journey – from «here» to «there»Report oriented
Key stakeholdersBusiness and managementBusiness order and IT execute
StructureNot fully structured. There are always deviations when describing reality.Data is structured for analysis
Business logicEasily available in a business configurator tool.Programmed/ configured in the Data warehouse


So, I concluded the presentation with the following :

  • BI tools are not built for Strategic Performance Management. You can try to get a BI tool to help you with your Strategy Execution Process, but it will be an expensive experiment and you will most likely fail
  • A specialized tool for Strategic Performance Management is a necessity if you want to work with Strategy Execution in medium or large organizations
  • A Strategic Performance Management Suite can add to the benefits of a well working BI platform.
  • BI tools can be valuable, but they are cannot help you execute your strategy
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