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Sometimes Execution Means System Changes

When execution does require system changes, there are keys to success that Lucas has learned from being an operating executive and teaching the alignment of strategy and systems.

The keys to IT support of execution vary from one enterprise to another, but here are some Lucas would want to work with a client to evaluate:

If your IT function is working hard to maintain a complex set of legacy systems (about 75% are) then there's some work to do before developing new systems or changing systems to support execution:

The work: standardizing on commercially available software, simplifying infrastructure and choosing then implementing right mix of in-sourced, out-sourced and off-shore services.

The reason for this detour: most companies that are mired in maintenance just end up spending a lot more money if they try to move directly to better alignment behind strategy execution.  

The path to success: effective IT first, then alignment behind execution.

There are other important matters to discuss: what decisions should and shouldn't be delegated to IT management, how to organize IT management, overcoming incompatibilities making it hard to answer questions about your business, how to develop new systems without big overruns, and what Web-based innovations mean to your firm's future.

You and he speak the same language, and he'll teach what he's learned to your team.

This knowledge can be incorporated into an EMBA, so your key team are more likely to stay and bring a new level of systems thinking to bear on your strategy execution.  


Sources: Recent work published by McKinsey (in the McKinsey Quarterly) and Bain & Company (at Bain.com and the Sloan Management Review), and Lucas experience of over 40 years (details: Dr. Gordon Lucas)   




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Last modified: April 18, 2010