Make your business capabilities disruptive

Think outcome-based solutions

Many software solutions passing your desk seek to prove amazing gains in hitting the golden bell of ‘cheaper, better and faster IT’. These must have solutions often go into the ‘solution looking for a problem tray’ and no further. It’s strikingly strange in today’s world where there are so many problems and so many solutions that linking them together in a useful way is still challenging.

Often we get lost at the first question. What business challenge are we seeking to address?


We frequently jump into a detailed IT requirement phase (what we want) before understanding the business outcome we are seeking to achieve (what we need). When given the opportunity to build the next disruptive solution, thinking about presenting from a business capability point of view makes a huge difference to securing stakeholder and peer buy-in.


Capability has become an overloaded word, meaning different things to each of us.


Let’s use a definition:


Capability: the combination of people with skills using tools and definable practices to deliver repeatable value to the consumer AKA the customer!


The expectation from any capability driven interaction is to obtain “value”. Value is the customer’s measure when deciding how well an organization’s given capability has wowed them!


Capability management has practical and disruptive value in your competitive business world. Knowing where to measure value from a customer’s perspective, gives you the real insight into your customer’s needs and how best to optimize to win e.g. through its Customer Services capability, company x delivers a great range of home service products that really wow the customer.


Net effect is the company has a competitive advantage that is not easily copied. By measuring and focusing on capability value, an organization empowers disruptive thinking. An organization’s disruptive value, while understood by competitors is difficult to copy. On the other hand a technology driven solution is easily copied.


So without writing a book on capability based change management, here are some tips to help business champions match great solutions to challenging problems.


  1. Start with the business capability in mind. For example “we want to improve our marketing capability by increasing the rank listing score gained through our “Search Engine Optimization (SEO)” function. It might seem a funny way to phase it at first, but the idea is to start with the real business goal in mind
  2. Understand which service offering a business function within a given capability belongs to. A capability owns one or more services i.e. the ‘SEO’ function within the Marketing capability is part of the ‘Online Marketing service’. Visualising this relationship helps determine which services are most at risk i.e. “If we don’t drive better online presence, standing still in SEO ranking means we are falling behind our competitors. Upgrading our SEO skills, practices and tools is our success equation”
  3. Understand which business behaviors and skills need to be adapted and then focus all change efforts on making a sustainable shift in behaviours e.g. “SEO need to develop more aggressive and proactive targeting techniques over current practices to show a performance gain of x% in our SEO scores”. (Don’t fall into the pit of new tools plus old behaviors will equals better results. Think disruptive – it’s the word we live in today and figuring out better ways of working early on, saves a lot of pain change and money.)
  4. Explain the value of changes proposed in context of the capability’s customer gains, not just the organizational internal process efficiency or cost improvements: Businesses are complex and any given business capability will have many concurrent changes happening at once. For each capability, maintain a benefit statement linked to its maturity road-map to show the balance of benefits perceived from planned changes against real benefits delivered into production. This will help capability stakeholders see the earned value being gained over time and what ongoing service delivery risks are being proactively managed. Your stakeholders will love the visibility of a capability benefit statement and the continuity of understanding a road-map gives to show where all the change efforts are making a real synergistic difference to the ‘triple’ bottom line – people, profit and practice.
  5. Finally: Always fit a technology solution within the full business solution: Technology provides 1/3 of the value found within a capability. It’s all about people and growing their skills for success, their ability to optimize their practices to remain competitive and their innovative use of tools. The old adage ‘Giving a person a dictionary doesn’t make them a journalist’ still rings true today. The dictionary is no more than the tool – in the hands of a skilled craftsman great things will happen.


In summary, drive technology change by linking it to the maturity of your business capabilities. Prioritize doing the right capability changes at the right time. Regardless of organizational size, capability-based planning works to gain competitive advantage and be seen to be a disruptive player.


Measure business gain by your customer’s satisfaction score i.e. know your Key Value Indicators (KVI) for each capability you identify: If you don’t know how your Customer’s measure your value, you can be sure your competitors will.


Measure and track the risk score of proposed business change in terms of expected improvements in operational inefficiency and business complexity. Plan for and expect disruptive innovations i.e. by understanding your external Key Risk Indicators (KRI) you can understand the behavior changes needed.


Measure business functional improvements by the performance gains seen through the eyes of your customers. Ensure you gain convergence on the right practices, right skills and right tools to deliver a functional customer ‘wow’ i.e. measure and use Key Performance Indicators or KPIs, it will leave your competitors wondering how you do it.


Call to action: Go out and start being disruptive, start capability-based planning to drive rapid and sustainable business growth. Enjoy!


If you need help to get started don’t hesitate to reach out to Six Factor, Our goal is your success.