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Capabilities bridge strategy and execution gap

How do Capabilities bridge strategy and execution gap? 

Capabilities bridge strategy and execution gap by linking strategic intent with operational initiatives and IT enablement.  This is how you can ensure your operating model is working efficiently and effectively. 

Capability based strategy to execution optimization

The current method of communicating feature/function requirements between business and technology – which is project-based and involves feature-based requirements – has become sub-optimal and has led to redundancy and replication of capabilities.

Capabilities bridge strategy and execution gap:

Context:

For large global firms, oftentimes, the information technology landscape is complex with a proliferation of applications and systems, many of which were built as silos in the past to serve specific business needs. While recent developments like the embrace of the cloud, adoption of the agile methodologies have yielded positive results, there is much work that needs to be done. The relentless competitive dynamics involving both established and emerging firms, the strategic imperative of innovation and digitization, and the need to achieve scale and efficiency while offering personalized experiences is going to be the drivers dictating the enhancement and evolution of the IT Landscape.

Challenges:

There are several challenges that global 2000 business and technology teams need to address to leapfrog to the next level of IT enablement.

  • The current method of communicating feature/function requirements between business and technology – which is project-based and involves feature-based requirements – has become sub-optimal and has led to redundancy and replication of capabilities.
  • Not having a comprehensive and cohesive picture of what business needs, and the associated churn to get to an actionable roadmap oftentimes causes time to market delays
  • While many needs may converge at the core, there are nuances and divergences at how different groups/offerings want a Capability to manifest to serve their/their clients’ needs
  • A system/application oriented thinking perpetuates the encumbrances of the present, rather than focusing on the evolution of a Capability.

Capability-based strategy to execution:

One of the potential approaches, among other alternatives, is to leverage the discipline and tenets of business architecture in general, and business capability modeling in particular, to help alleviate the challenges.

  • Define requirements as an ongoing inventory of evolving business needs driven by competition, customer expectations and enterprise goals and objectives. Anchoring requirements to specific Capabilities provides traceability and specificity reducing the requirements churn
  • Leverage a core set of Capabilities as Lego blocks to manifest a product, platform, program, offering, initiative and document what needs to be enhanced/evolved to meet the business needs
  • Document the “Why” (the business strategy), the “What” (the business capabilities), the “How” (journey maps, activity streams and process models), the “Who” (the stakeholders, the segments), and the “Where” (locations, channels) cohesively and coherently.
  • Combining the art and the science of Capability-based thinking as an integral part of the corporate transformation initiative will catalyze and accelerate the results/outcomes.

The Solution:

Capstera is an easy to use strategy to execution optimization tool that leverages capabilities as a foundational building block to help provide a structured, yet flexible, model for capturing the essence of what business wants and communicate to technology/architecture teams in a common language.

To help support the goals for aligning business needs with IT execution, and manage the process of structured, yet flexible business definition, let’s propose a capability-based approach to encapsulating what the business is focused on and communicating to technology using a common language and framework. Capstera is an easy to use strategy to execution optimization tool that leverages Capabilities as a foundational building block to help provide a structured, yet flexible, model for capturing the essence of what business wants and communicate to technology/architecture teams in a common language.

Capstera Solution Overview:

Capstera is a SAAS (Software as a Service) platform that provides a structured, yet modular and flexible, business capability modeling and business architecture framework to define the essence of business needs using capabilities as foundational build blocks. Using Capstera, the business owner/product manager/business analysts can:

  • Document the Strategy using predefined templates or build from scratch. The goal is to be succinct and specific leveraging the “SOAP” (strategy on a page) paradigm.
  • Define Business/Customer Outcomes and impact/implications on various other areas to achieve the north star
  • In conjunction with the tech/arch teams, define, refine and continuously evolve the Capability Model(s) pertinent to the business scope
  • Use the Capabilities as Lego blocks to manifest a program, product, initiative, or an offering by creating Folios
  • Detail out how workflows with Activity streams, and Process maps
  • Develop Personas and their unique Journeys
  • Draft Specifications on how to evolve and enhance the capabilities to meet business goals
  • Create a Roadmap with MVP as well as related next phases

The tech/arch teams use the business inputs to:

  • Form notional business services using Capabilities and their needs
  • Review holistically the Why, What, How, Who, Where, When to define target architectures and design an optimal solution
  • Map Systems/SOA Services to Capabilities to understand the footprint of systems across capabilities.
  • Conduct an analysis of systems and services and juxtapose against Capability assessments and needs
  • Define the modularity and granularity of the SOA Services to deliver and render the functionality
Align business and technology teams using capabilities

 

Benefits to the Business Team:

  • Document Capability needs as an ongoing endeavor and not wait for a project to be created for gathering requirements
  • Capability assessments, systems assessments and the roadmap outlining the evolution/enhancement needs at a capability level can become a powerful business case in and of itself
  • Use a common vocabulary and syntax so that communicating with technology/architecture teams will be seamless
  • Know ahead of time what the entry and exit criteria are for a successful business definition of an impending project/program/initiative
  • All the content that is generated is in line with what technology needs and consume so that there is no ambiguity or misalignment
  • Allow for traceability of needs at a capability level
  • A centralized repository of core knowledge that can be shared by all relevant teams and stakeholders without an endless series of iterations and email documents
  • Editing and maintenance becomes easy thus focusing on content rather than updating hard to update documents and keeping everyone in sync

Results and Outcomes:

  • Incoming demand for changes to capabilities is continuous, dynamic and ongoing. No months of time wasted in creating a project to conduct formal business requirements gathering.
  • Shared vocabulary and usable/valuable content. No more hundreds of pages of documents which are unwieldy and hardly read, in which the contents become dated the moment they are crystallized
  • Reduce ambiguity and churn in understanding and executing the projects. No more endless conceptualization sessions amidst execution
  • Allows for calibration of resource alignment and planning based on incoming demands

Not a Big Bang:

Please pick one or high-value projects/initiatives from your portfolio

  • Allocate a few individuals from your high performing teams to be trained in the Capstera content meta model, the framework and the tool itself
  • Participate in a collaborate effort to use Capstera to define the business needs using the structured, yet flexible, content framework in the one or two projects/initiatives
  • Evangelize and support the paradigm so as to reduce any resistance or change management issues as anything new seems to foster some FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt)
  • Monitor progress and assess the results quantitatively and qualitatively
  • If the initial pilots become successful, roll out the paradigm across the board in a phased and evolutionary manner

If you need help in learning how capabilities bridge strategy and execution gap in your firm, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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