There is a growing demand for education around strategy for managers in supporting functions such as IT, HR and finance.
Many qualified professionals get promoted from non-line positions in functional areas that don’t have a great deal of training around strategy. There are a small number of programs emerging to help address this need. There is growing demand for information, education and support for functional managers around business strategy. Whereas once a company might have hired a consultant to create, for example, an IT strategy, there is now a desire for organizations to develop their own strategy. Business action combined with strategic thinking is growing in importance. Organizations are starting to invest in education to build strategy capability into a wider range of the company.
Technology is changing the game on the customer and marketing strategy side.
New tools and technologies are now available to better understand the customer base. There are also new ways of gathering and analyzing that data which are much cheaper and much more valuable than even a few years ago. There are more opportunities to do a more refined strategic approach with respect to customers, markets, and competitive analysis.
Customers are exercising an increasing influence over company strategy.
Customer feedback is easy to hear these days and many companies are engaging customers proactively, for example in online communities, that help the company to shape strategy. Technology allows companies to interact with customers along the whole purchase process. In many cases, customers are helping to shape not so much the product itself as the services, and the ancillary benefits and extended features that accompany an offering.
Companies are more connected than ever, which opens up more opportunities for strategic alignment than ever before.
Companies need to be connected and to communicate well in order to foster strategic alignment and decision-making. New technologies are enabling connection and communication like never before. Technology makes it much easier to stay connected, which gives companies the opportunity to remain strategically aligned in a way that was more difficult to do before the world became networked.
Globalization has made business strategy more complicated.
With globalization comes more markets with more nuances. As companies grow they often find that their local solution does not fit every market. A great deal of tweaking may be required to position the product in the right market and in the right manner. The key to managing this complexity is to discover your company strength. Ask: “What are we best at and how do we leverage our core strengths across the organization?” There are many opportunities to express what you do well in one market across multiple markets, but do not assume that you can duplicate your success in different markets without first learning how each market is different. If getting your strategy right is difficult in one country, imagine what it’s like to adjust it for 30 countries. Global markets make matters more complicated because of the range of choices required – but they also mean more opportunities for success.