November 8, 2011 6 Comments
Capabilities from this context are the “what do we need to be able to do” to enable the strategy. This requires more thought than just saying we need the capability to collaborate. Collaborate by itself is just an activty with no context. If we add a software application associated with collaboration we’re still not talking about a real strategic capability. There is a lot still missing from such a short capability definition. To be effective a capabilities definition should contain what activitiy, who is envolved, what is to be accomplished and how.
Using capability to collaborate as an example, it would be neccicsary to define the what and who of collaboration. This could be “we need to have our marketing staff around the country collaborate on collecting and analyzing market intelligence to determine new opportunities”. This moves the definition from a broad and vague initiative to a supportive activity that could be associated to a strategy such as “the enterprise being more market agile and adaptive than competitors”. When associated with this strategy those in the organinzation can see why collaboration capability is important and how it should be implemented.
This definition also brings to the surface that developing a capability is more than just providing technology, it infers that there are people to be envolved with skills and knowledge, information that needs to be supplied and further sub-activties to be accomplished other than just sharing the base information. This underlying information with the objective of usage or what is to be accomplished provides the context on how the capability is to be used to provide the what of the satrategy. With this context established the further refinement of creating the capability by selecting the technology, configuring its, and informing staff on its usage is kept in alignment with the strategy. Too many technology driven projects often are successful in deployment of software, but fail in implmentation for te business. Further research had shown that while the technology was functional, its usage was never thought of or publized in context to the enterprise strategy. In some exterme cases the implementation and thereby adoption was actually counter to the enterprise’s goal. As such while capability discussions seem simple these are crictially important and is where most of the loss of value occurs. It is my believe this is where most initatives start going off track and further deviate from the path as the activities move from the abstract to the concrete.