Findings - Effective Strategy Execution Survey

More than 100 individuals from 13 countries participated in the survey conducted by the author. The majority of the participants were in executive (33%) or managerial (37%) positions and the majority possessed a business experience of more than 10 years (8% 30-39 years, 23% 20-29 years, 23% 10-19 years). The size of the organizations represented in the survey was wide spread with about half of them being large organizations (46% had more than 1000 employees and 57% had a revenue above 100 million US$) and the other half being mid-sized or small organizations (54% had less than 1000 employees and 43% had a revenue smaller than 100 million US$).

The problem that the strategy execution was found to be ineffective in the Harris Interactive survey[i] as published in the year 2004 was confirmed by the survey of the author in the year 2015 in many respects, even though the responses were slightly more comforting.

The findings in 2004 were:

  • Strategy barrier:
    • Only 37% had a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why.
  • Management barrier:
    • Only 10% felt that people have clear, measurable, deadline driven work goals.
  • IT barrier:
    • Only 10% felt that success measures are tracked accurately and openly.

The findings in 2015 were:

  • Strategy barrier:
    • Only 29% felt that the organizational strategy and goals are precisely understood by everyone.
  • Management barrier:
    • Only 27% felt that clear and measurable key performance targets are established for each employee.
  • IT barrier:
    • Only 36% agree that all relevant key performance measures are tracked.
    • Only 50% agree that information systems provide accurate and timely info about performance measures.

Several of the recognized deficits from the study in 2004 could be confirmed. Organizations obviously still often lack an effective communication of their strategy and strategic objectives as well as establishing measurable key performance indicators, which align the individual performance objectives with the strategic objectives of the organization. A lacking infrastructure, capturing all relevant key performance indicators, remains a challenge for the majority of organizations.

Additional questions in the survey in 2015 evaluated which of the business intelligence applications for past, current and future analytics as described in the Strategic Business Intelligence Framework are already used, prepared to be used in future or not used yet. Understanding the level of adoption of these different applications allows to identify the status quo of the innovation adoption.

 BI Adoption

Obviously business intelligence is far from being fully adopted and a further diffusion of the innovation can be expected. Participate in the Big Data and Strategy Execution Effectiveness Survey yourself to see how your organization is leveraging business intelligence and how effective the strategy execution is in your organization compared to the other participants of the survey. You can even contact the author to perform a comprehensive organization-specific survey, which helps you to uncover opportunities for improvement on the strategy, management, and IT-level and leads to a more effective strategy execution.

[i] (Covey, 2004)


Kontakt Bernd Heesen 

Book recommendation:


"In an increasingly performance-oriented society, metrics matter. What we measure affects what we do. if we have the wrong metrics, we will strive for the wrong things." (p. xvii). This valid statement is not only relevant for companies but equally for our society. In 2008, Nicholas Sarkozy, President of the Republic of France, appointed the Commission On The Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, headed by the three authors: Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel Prize Winner), Amartya Sen (Nobel Prize Winner), and Jean-Paul Fitoussie. The aim of the commission was to identify the limits of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) as indicator for economic performance and social progress.

GDP or GDP per capita are commonly used metrics and governments are pleased when they can report that GDP per capita has risen, say, by 5%. But these metrics have many flaws. GDP per capita does not reflect income inequality. While much economic activity occurs within the home and contributes to the well-being, it is not accounted for in the GDP. Parents taking care for their children or parents instead of having a paid job are not accounted for in the GDP. If they would use professional service organizations to take over their responsibility it would increase the GDP. Traffic jams may also increase the GDP because of the extra gasoline used. The GDP also increases after an earthquake or a car accident because of the repairs but this increase in GDP does not reflect an improvement of the well-being. They provide many more examples and conclude with a set of twelve recommendations. Well-beeing is multidimensional and requires an evaluation of several Key Performance Indicators reflecting: Material living standards, health, education, personal activities including work, political voice and governance, social connections and relationships, environment (present and future conditions), as well as insecurity (economic as well as physical).

The authors state: "The whole commission is convinced that the crisis is teaching us a very important lesson: those attempting to guide the economy and our societies are like pilots trying to steering a course without a reliable compass. The decisions they (and we as individual citizens) make depend on what we measure, how good our measurements are and how well our measures are understood. We are almost blind when the metrics on which action is based are ill-designed or when they are not well understood." (p.5).

The significance for all organizations and individuals is obvious! Thinking about the measures actually stimulates a dialogue about values and objectives. Sometimes this dialogue is even more valuable than the result but clearly the authors see value in both. A real visionary initiative and book.

The results of the commission are available at :