From Words to Action

By Faisal Hoque  |  Posted 2009-04-16 Print this article Print

Business models are serious business -- too important to leave to the marketers and pitchmen.

Each of these elements has subjective and objective – or, textual and numeric -- attributes (metrics, priority, and feasibility, for example) that help give the SEA the depth of description and interaction that distinguish it from a simple diagram or drawing. For example, the element “high value customer” could include attributes such as a textual description of who is considered a high-value customer and numerical values that describe the estimated number of customers that fall into this category and the revenue a customer needs to account for to qualify as high-value. This information provides an important basis for developing business scenario models. Scenarios could vary according to the revenue required to qualify as a high-value customer.

Keep in mind that explaining an SEA by example poses somewhat of a problem.  Although it explicitly differentiates an SEA from misconceptions like the cocktail napkin one-liner and the financial model in disguise, companies aren’t limited to one empirically correct set of elements that should make up the SEA. So while the categories and elements expressed here provide a pretty good example, they shouldn’t be considered a cookie-cutter mold after which every SEA should be patterned. Each company’s culture will inevitably produce a unique approach, none of which is necessarily better or worse than any other.

One of the first things we notice about successful companies is that they have a mission, an identity, a personality, a story to tell about what they are and what they are trying to achieve. This, not one of those abstract “mission statements” framed and hung here and there in the halls. Rather, this is a clear understanding and articulation of the reason the firm exists.

Most large organizations have used a variety of internal and external resources to document bits and pieces of the way they operate over time – organization charts, business plans, statements of policies and procedures, and the like. Many of these documents are of little value. They do not use commonly agreed-upon standards and terminology, and are only partially complete. Therefore, they cannot be logically connected to formulate a cohesive picture.

The direct benefits that companies derive from SEAs come from two sources. First, and most obviously, there are the specific elements and attributes that make up each SEA. Second, and of equal importance, is the actual process of researching and defining the SEA – whether constructing a current SEA from scratch or developing scenarios for impact analysis. The deliberate act of creating the SEA compels decision-makers to think through the complete business landscape and ultimately uncover hidden opportunities for improvement.     

This is obviously not a matter for a two-day meeting or a weeklong offsite. Nor is it the province of some ad hoc committee. It is a matter for everyone, and because the world doesn’t sit still it is a continuous activity. “Know thyself,” the ancients instruct us. Building on that, Shakespeare wrote, “To thine own self be true.” This for an enterprise is the essence of an SEA.

**The above article is adopted from the BTM forthcoming research series, “Contours of Convergence.”

Faisal Hoque is an internationally known entrepreneur and author, and the founder and CEO of BTM Corporation (www.btmcorporation.com). His previous books include Sustained Innovation and Winning The 3-Legged Race. BTM innovates business models and enhances financial performance by converging business and technology with its products and intellectual property. © 2009 Faisal Hoque | info@btmcorporation.com

Faisal Hoque, Founder, Chairman and CEO, BTM Corporation Faisal Hoque is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of the Business Technology Management Corporation. BTM Corporation innovates new business models, enhances financial performance, and improves operational efficiency at leading global corporations, government agencies, and social businesses by converging business and technology with its unique products and intellectual property (IP). A former senior executive at General Electric (GE) and other multi-nationals, Mr. Hoque is an internationally known, visionary entrepreneur and award winning thought leader. He conceived and developed Business Technology Management (BTM) to direct the social and economic growth of organizations by converging business and technology, helping transform them into "whole-brained enterprises." He is the author of "The Alignment Effect," "Winning the 3-Legged Race," and "Sustained Innovation," among other publications.

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