Many trends in recent years deal with digitalization. The “art of management” has so far been neglected. Time for a change.
Never before has a company had so much data, information and enormous knowledge at its disposal as today. Production, finance, sales and support are linked via ERP systems, market analyses and information on the Internet are open to all, and geographical information is available digitally. After all, the manager should have all the knowledge available in a system to perform his core task: to make the next good business decision. But what is the current situation in management support?
Data is passed on to decision-makers in large quantities via so-called “BI systems”. With that, the digital work is already done. In the majority of companies, “Master Excel” then reigns supreme – if at all. The rest of the decision-making information ends up unstructured in Word, PowerPoint, e-mails – or simply on paper.
In management, simple questions have to be answered “at the push of a button”:
- What are the strategic directions based on the company’s vision?
- What strategy is served by each decision/action taken?
- Does a budget really reflect the sum of all measures of the coming business year in a comprehensible way? As a variance analysis, do I get an explanation that I as a manager have to rely on, or is there a common content framework that I can use to track the changes? Does a new short-term event automatically adjust the budget, or do I miss the opportunity since the budget is set as a simple number?
- Do I have a POSSIBLE view of the performance of my current business, rather than an overloaded data graveyard? Or do I have an integrated view of all the company’s knowledge and information that will enable me to make the next good decision?
- Do I know the organizational pillars of shared management – an overall management process?
- Do I know the necessary information for each meeting in advance and, above all, the necessary contexts of the information? Am I aware of the state of discussion about the decisions to be made prior to the meeting – aside from emails that are for information only?
- Do I have a clear picture of the sum of the measures taken in the company and their current status?
If only one of these questions is answered in the negative, there is a need for action, as the necessary overview of the company is lost.
Concrete implementation of digital possibilities
The next indispensable step is digital business management. Associated with this are the following criteria.
- The capture and processing of “management knowledge” in digital and structured form directly in a management system. Moving away from strategic measures in a power point slide to a database driven capture of every single strategic statement and measure.
- Complete view of the current strategy status through appropriate and mutually agreed key figures and early indicators as well as structured integration of strategy follow-up into the management process.
- Incorporation of the strategic view into an integrated operational BI decision-making system with a balanced overview of the company performance figures à la Balanced Score Card.
- Electronically traceable process for transferring all measures and expectations into a plan. Establish a process for how I arrive at changes in the numbers for my planning cornerstones.
- A continuous linking of strategies with all agenda items and actions from decision meetings.
- Away with WORD protocols! With more than 20 meetings a month, the best I can do is get back to the previous information in the next meeting. Protocols must be recorded in a management collaboration system. The sum of the agenda items and all actions from the various meetings incl. of the status must be available “at the push of a button”.
Exploiting the full potential
So what is at the core of digital business management?
- Electronically secured, mapped connections between strategic-tactical and operational view of the company.
- Embedding of corporate decision-making processes in a central workflow-based system.
- Central, comprehensible view of correlations between company key figures and company decisions.
- Ultimately, financial planning arises from substantive measures – not the other way round.
- Automatic scenario representation of a possible company situation after a seized opportunity or an emerging risk.
- Comprehensible view of the process of decision making including Discussions, proposals and possible scenarios.
At present, to put it provocatively, almost all companies are ineffectively positioned in this respect. A timely evolution towards a digitally managed enterprise represents a key strategic advantage and an opportunity to increase efficiency and effectiveness.
In order to be able to accompany the change to a digitally controlled company, TD Trusted Decisions provides the necessary overall competence. Only a combination of organizational, process-related and IT-related consulting and implementation expertise is suitable for increasing the “digital fitness” of a company.
Gerold Polster | 07.12.2017