I chose Business Consulting as my profession because I loved creative challenges if offered, shifting landscapes, the ability to gain expertise across a range of industries, the need to stay on the leading edge of the popular technologies, and lastly, though, the glamor of lifestyle it affords.
It hasn’t always worked well. There were many challenges. It was tough to manage the cost cutting attitude of clients. All this made me think always how to design low cost solutions. This in turn drove me to show small improvements and short-term gains. So it took me a while to understand that actual selling was in the big picture which was just a surprisingly small part of my job. But creating a big picture wasn’t easy either.
From a customer perspective, I understood that business needs to be designed with the “customer journey” in mind. We have evolved from the days of “colonial bazaars” and multiple distribution channels to the age of current digitized business ecosystem. We also recognized that people don’t simply buy products, but buy aspirations. In this era of when technical superiority is changing market dynamics almost every quarter, businesses must embrace agility as a virtue just to survive before they can hope to thrive. Agility to develop every capability needed on the fly to reward customers given the brand promise.
The collaborative process of creating big picture for a major initiative in a large organization is often tiring. Several spreadsheets, systems and reports which are held in silos driven by political agendas, personal insecurities, personality differences, deeply held prejudice about “what is right” and what doesn’t, all these impede reaching consensus.
Although equipped with this hard-earned wisdom, it was still so hard to produce anything to convince my clients and getting people on the same page. I used to spend a great deal of time trying to understand the create PowerPoint presentations to depict the big picture with their customer journeys. I have suffered the frustration of seeing my great works die – some clients had hard time to understand them. And some I wasn’t covering the ground. But most said they cannot see the big picture they have wanted to see! Eventually it all proved that many of my rejected ideas were indeed viable, but lacked that easy comprehensible big picture. All those hard enterprise facts that I gathered painstakingly couldn’t get the buy-in from the right people at my client organizations to make it happen. It would be easy to say that they “didn’t get it,” because they didn’t. But I failed to convince them.
In a sense, I realize, we all are sales people of the grand roadmaps to realize the possibilities, avoid disruptions or to become disruptors. So it was important that I found a way to map these big pictures easily and quickly. Thank god, I found Enterprise Evolver!
Recently, there was a new service development project for a major IT Services company soon after I started using Enterprise Evolver where the client wanted me to create multiple scenarios of how their current resources and capabilities could be leveraged for the new service to be launched so that they could make educated investment decisions. In addition, there was the expectation that they would expand their operations in 2 new geographical locations.
I delivered close to 6 scenarios in a weeks’ time. Three of them were appreciated by the company’s top leadership for the holistic views supported by different capabilities and resources.
I use Enterprise Evolver! And no more the laborious ways I’ve been used to. I map and manage more clarity of not only what they-have-to but also how-they-have-to for my clients.
Here are the 3 keys to mapping a business idea to a select initiative and roadmap in to a big picture:
1. Get the business goals and objectives on the top. Establishing realistic goals, and evaluating achievement – all this will be part of how you negotiate the fine line between broad vision that motivate your clients and those that deliver on it.
2. Capture capabilities and underlying resources. This is an obvious second step and important enough to stand on its own. Starbucks doesn’t just brew and sell Coffee, but it does a service that customers relish most and make their customers a community. So it is not just technical individual functions of an organization but a combination of capabilities and resources (both tangible and intangible) that help create the outcomes.
3. Put yourself in the Client Shoes. We all know that data pertaining to capabilities and resources, convincing cost ROIs and value propositions aren’t enough to sell initiatives. When it comes to executive buy-in, the truth is often “I’ll see it when I believe it.” So, rethink those capability models in terms of mental models to sell your idea to executives and users. Capture not only what they see, but how they see. Without the right visual models, they won’t see the problem, understand the benefits, or approve the changes.
To understand the power of Enterprise Evolver, consider creating your own versions of mental models of how it makes sense of the vast amount of information to be processed in the big picture; create the views through which we see the business opportunity. Then sieve through all the fluff and align the framework for attributing cause and effect.