Why organizational maturity matters


PillarsI wrote “Business Transformation” to guide leaders through a journey to transform their organizations. I included methodologies and examples gathered throughout my 29-year consulting career to assist them.

Every executive and leader focuses on how to use resources to produce value. Of course, value can be defined in many terms including profitability, market share and other objectives.

In my work with organizations in many industries, I've seen numerous cases where marginal business value is produced when an organization focuses on a particular business function or process.

But I've never seen greater value than when organizations broaden their focus beyond a specific business function to a holistic and enterprise-wide view and approach.

Organizations are complex environments with many components. Some of these are pure cost centers and operational units. Other components are profit centers focused on delivering customer value. And others are innovation groups exploring new ideas and lines of business.

Organizational Pillars

Effective and visionary leaders understand the DNA and dynamics of their organizations. They use that knowledge to enhance the capabilities of four organizational pillars to support overall business objectives. And more importantly, they focus on aligning these interconnected pillars with ever-changing business objectives. The four pillars are:

1) People and the skills they bring -- value is produced when the organization is able to hire the right talent, in every relevant area (including analytics).

2) Processes used by various groups -- with the right processes to obtain information, people can use their skills and technology to explore ways to produce value, optimize processes, understand customer behavior, and more importantly, innovate by creating new products and services and exploring new markets.

3) Information Infrastructure and all the capabilities it brings -- value is produced when this infrastructure produces integrated and relevant enterprise information.

4) A business Culture that encourage collaboration, innovation and sharing and appropriately rewards people for promoting and enhancing a business and analytical culture can create ongoing value.

The shelf life of new products and services is shrinking so fast. Progressive organizations understand the nature of our dynamic global market. They succeed by constantly thinking about what's next. If they don't, the value they offer their customers may disappear.

New market dynamics also blur the lines between industries: retail organizations are offering financial products, for example, while telco carriers are experimenting with offering customers the ability to buy products with their phones. Boundaries are collapsing, removing historical safety nets for many industries. Success for organizations depends on understanding these new realities. Dealing with and leveraging these new market dynamics requires a much higher level of organizational alignment, agility and maturity.

Organizational maturity is the process to evaluate how current organizational capabilities support business objectives. This process must also determine required capabilities across the four pillars, and define root causes of weakness in every area. The results of this evaluation can then be used to develop a strategy and a pragmatic roadmap that propel the organization forward.

This ongoing journey toward organizational maturity can produce value at each step, but it requires consistent executive support. It is a journey that incorporates relevant technology and analytics to introduce efficiency, identify unnecessary cost, and focus on the most profitable products, customers and markets. It is also a journey that produces lasting impact on the organizational culture, and can provide a competitive edge.

NOTE:  I’ll be speaking on "How to Transform Your Organization Into an Analytical Enterprise" at Analytics 2014 in Las Vegas on Oct. 20th. For more information and to register, visit the Analytics 2014 WebsiteHope to see you there!

Photo by David Ohmer // attribution by creative commons


About Author

Aiman Zeid

Head of Organizational Transformation Services, SAS Global Business Consulting

Aiman Zeid has helped numerous organizations on four continents evaluate their organizational maturity and readiness to deploy business analytics. His focus on enterprise-wide approaches has made him a sought after consultant for starting Business Analytics Centers of Excellence. His new book, Business Transformation: A Roadmap for Maximizing Organizational Insights, shares a structured approach for organizations to achieve maximum value from their data. Zeid has 29 years of experience in information management, business consulting and technical implementation of business analytics and performance management solutions. He holds an MBA and a BS in engineering (computer science diploma) from George Washington University. Prior to joining SAS he worked as a consultant for Battelle Institute and the Hay Group.

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