The Teeter Totter of Business Decision Management

A teeter totter is a plank balanced on a fulcrum.  Business decisions are very similar with the options management decide upon like –


opportunity teeter

There are more categories depending on the magnitude of the impact to your business.  But you get the gist.

One of the most important factors that most any decision  in business impacts is

efficiency teeter




– If you decide to go after market share

– you increase your sales and marketing spend

– you add staff

– you add products / services

– you acquire another company

– replace your ERP or other major software

for example…

You tend to do more than one of these together and they all impact efficiency and your effectiveness.

The critical part of all the above (and other components you are working in) is to ensure success focus on effectiveness in achieving your objective over any inefficiencies your business/staff will experience.

Laggards on your staff will passive aggressively put up speed bumps (hopefully not roadblocks) with claims of making things more efficient by slowing down a change, hedging on the depth of a resource requirement allocation and/or swamping out non-priority activities that they are more comfortable performing than the top priority actions that will directly impact the attainment of the objective.

Therefore, executive managers must pay special attention when making major changes that their measures are effectiveness focused.  Examples from expanding from the above are –

– If you decide to go after market share > effectiveness > focus on the overall budget, the attainment of market share and competitive response vs lie item budgets

– you increase your sales and marketing spend  > effectiveness > obviously it is gaining targeted or better market share and revenues

– you add staff > effectiveness > how quickly can you gain effective work from the new hires

– you add products / services > effectiveness > increase top line revenues, adding new customers, larger share of existing customers spend

– you acquire another company > effectiveness > increase top line revenue and market share

– replace your ERP or other major software > effectiveness > higher quality data collection and standard processes followed for data collection/processing

My old coach would say keep your eye on the ball which is what effectiveness is in the end.  Yes, you could have a more compact swing, better hip turn to use your legs more and quieter hands to improve your hitting the ball.  But, first and foremost, KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL!




Business functions separated by a common language.

Two nations divided by a common language“, this quote normally attributed to Oscar Wilde is about Britain and the USA.  Brit and the USSince my daughter has become engaged to a Brit, this is a frequent occurrence in my family.




So when I was reading the latest Gartner CIO survey results and read the below chart –

Top 10 Business Priorities


Top 10 IT Priorities


Increasing enterprise growth
Analytics and business intelligence
Delivering operational results
Mobile technologies
Reducing enterprise costs
Cloud computing (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS)
Attracting and retaining new customers
Collaboration technologies (workflow)
Improving IT applications and infrastructure
Legacy modernization
Creating new products and services (innovation)
IT management
Improving efficiency
Attracting and retaining the workforce
Implementing analytics and big data
Expanding into new markets and geographies
ERP Applications

My first thoughts were to the quote above.  When the line of business, be it finance, marketing or another department talks to IT or vice versa you can see from the chart above that they are speaking English, but not the same language.

On the left business is saying what they want to DO and on the right IT is saying what they should BUY and IMPLEMENT.

The issue is who is ensuring that the right side from IT will DO what business wants on the left side.

That is an important exercise that both line of business and IT must do is not just at budget time, but throughout the year.

Let’s start with Increasing enterprise growth.  growthWhat is IT doing on the right to increase growth?

1. Analytics and BI can identify untapped markets, great customer sales potential and run tests to improve market success of new products/services.

2. Analytics, Collaboration technologies and ERP apps tied to Mobile technologies can provide field sales the ability to outshine competitors in front of customers.

Delivering operational results – results

1. Again analytics and BI can play a large role in provide visibility to internal processes, tie that to mobile technologies to speed decision-making and leveraging optimized ERP applications to improved processes.

2. The most obvious is that Cloud computing, Virtualization, and Legacy modernization can reduce IT cost and thus help the bottom line.

Reducing enterprise costs – see above  reduce

We can go through the entire list, but you get the idea.  The important note here is that both IT and the lines of business should have their strategies and tactics matrixed to clearly demonstrate alignment is clear.  Also, they need to communicate, measure and promote this alignment throughout the company during your fiscal year and across years for longer range projects.

Performing a constant translation is important, as this year it is Cloud, Analytics, and BYOD requiring translation from the IT to the LOB side.  Depending on  your industry there are several business terms IT will need the business to ensure they have clear translations.

Article Review: 7 Perspectives of IT in 2020

images (1)Please do, yes do read Ms. Zhu’s full article and determine for yourself your alignment or not with her perspectives.  For me,  I believe the overall basis is that IT departments in companies will go through the evolutionary leap achieving the gains of both political and strategic power that IT leaders, pundits, analysts and so on have talked about for more than 15 years.

Hmmm, ao in the next 7 years (2020) IT will achieve the missing link of change it has strived make happen in the past 15, 20, well since the 1960’s.

I agree with the 5 through 7 is the most likely.

5. Abundance of Opportunities and Risks

– Democratization of IT:

– Every opportunity has risks:

– Governance:

6. Pervasive IT & The Planet of Apps

– Pervasive IT:

– The Planet of Apps:

– App-enriched Community Management:

7. Talent Paradox

1 through 4 for some, I really mean some (like 30) large enterprise companies and a handful of mid-market companies who have a CEO that trusts (not loves, not wants – trusts) technology and the people they have hired to run that for them.images

My perspective is that by 2020, IT for most companies will evolve into a centralized utility of network, messaging and data storage, with the application and data analysis work around processes pulled into the lines of business units.  They will utilize a combination of SAAS products (ERP, CRM, WMS, Analytics, etc…) and low-level macro object programming changes by medium to high level power users.

IT will be strategic, just not called IT.  The utility part will be service based similar to today’s power utilities.  So, it will roll under the facilities budget.

The app and analysis type work will roll under individual departments.  There will still be a need for a coordinated of data sharing across applications and thus a role for a C-Level, but it will become more focused on governance, compliance and direction like a in-house legal counsel versus a department head.