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:

The two-second advantage

Vivek Ranadive & Kevin Maney are convinced that in turbulent times it is not only critical to make the right decisions and execute them but time is of the essence. They use the ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky as an example: "Like Gretzky on ice, the most successful people in various fields make continual, accurate predictions just a little ahead of and a little better than everyone else. It is the one common denominator of almost all consistent success. Talented people don't need to have a vision of the future ten years out or even ten days out. They need a highly probable prediction just far enough ahead to see an opening or opportunity an instant before the competition. That's true for athletes, artists, businesspeople, or anyone in any field" (p. 6). These concepts apply anywhere: "The salesman who sells more than anybody else had developed a talent for anticipating people's reactions to his pitches, allowing him to steer the conversation before it gets off course. The teacher who seems to get the most out of her students with the least effort has developed predictive models in her head for how kids behave and respond to certain teaching methods" (p. 8).

Predictive analytics (Business Intelligence) allows Sam's Club to know what its members are going to want to buy when they walk into the store (p. 11).

The problem is often not only the availability of information. There is an abundance of information. "As it turns out, getting just a little bit of the right information just ahead of when it's needed is a lot more valuable than all the information in the world a month or a day later"... "using an efficient 'mental model' to get a little ahead of events and make instant judgments about what to do next" is key to anticipate customer needs or avoid carrying too much or too little of a product (p. 12).

Even with computers getting more powerful every year, business can't search all its data each time it needs an answer (p. 14). Designing and implementing a business intelligence framework to support the unique "mental model" of the organization is what successful organizations need to work on to be at least two seconds quicker than their competition...