Blog archive - November 2011
Use the blog to discuss and comment on the latest industry insights provided by our analyst experts.
When the Growth Team Membership (GTM) program surveyed corporate strategy executives to identify their top challenges for 2011, the primary challenge was, for the second year in a row, developing effective strategy implementation plans. When asked to identify the root cause of this challenge, respondents indicated it was a lack of common objectives. Because of this lack of alignment on the desired outcome of corporate strategy, strategists find it difficult to develop and establish implementation plans throughout their companies. Therefore, to address the root cause, strategists need to ensure that the corporate strategy planning process encompasses the appropriate corporate and divisional stakeholders, and mechanisms to secure agreement on the goals and tactics to achieve them. The strategic planning process must deal with the following issues head on: Lack of Strategic Alignment—this problem is most pronounced when corporate objectives have to be adopted and adapted by the business units or divisions. Division leadership needs to understand clearly how corporate imperatives need to shape their own strategies and operations. Moreover, the corporate strategy function must support the divisions in using corporate goals as a framework for their own annual planning. Division Silos—even when divisions integrate the corporate strategy with their annual planning, there is still a tendency for each division to do so without any reference to the plans of the other divisions. Without any cross-divisional collaboration in planning, companies risk potential redundancy, internal struggles for resources, overlooking cross-functional dependencies, and ultimately reducing their strategies’ effectiveness. Employee Engagement—strategists identify a collaborative environment and widespread employee engagement as necessary for effective strategic planning. Involving a larger set of employees in the planning process builds a holistic picture of the company’s capabilities and needs and secures buy-in amongst the people who eventually have to execute the tasks that implement the corporate strategy. However, when GTM asked about employee engagement with strategic planning, respondents admitted it was still the preserve of senior management. Globalization and the size of many companies have strategists struggling to find communication and monitoring methods to ensure corporate initiatives are consistently adopted companywide. All of these strategy development and implementation challenges necessitate strategists developing a supportive corporate culture and open communication strategies. While there is no single solution to the implementation challenges inherent in strategic planning, there are lessons from the experiences of companies using best practices. A number of these firms have developed an integrated strategic planning process that drives alignment on the objectives and coordinated execution of the plans at all levels of the firm. Want to learn more about best practices for integrated strategic planning? Access a complimentary webinar featuring how Sundt created an integrated strategic planning process to break down silos, establish a shared corporate vision, and coordinate strategic and tactical planning for effective implementation. This webcast includes a Q&A session with Richard Condit, Chief Administrative Officer at Sundt and Steve Haines, Founder and CEO of Haines Centre for Strategic Management.
In arriving at its UBB decision today, the CRTC had quite a few policy options at its disposal: - Bell's revised proposal that independent ISPs be charged 17.8 cents per gigabyte of usage (instead of the overage fee of up to $2 per GB which was its initial proposal that met a lot of opposition) - the Canadian Network Operators Consortium (which represents some of these smaller ISPs), whose "95th percentile" proposal calls for charges based on the measured peak network traffic travelling at the point where their networks join the network of the wholesale network providers (i.e., Bell Canada) - a hybrid approach proposed by MTS Allstream, which calls for wholesale providers to charge independent ISPs based on the capacity of the link between their networks and independent ISP networks. The price includes the cost of upgrading other parts of the wholesale providers' networks to be able to meet traffic demands from the indy ISPs for the foreseeable future. It is interesting to point out that MTS acts as both a wholesaler and a buyer of wholesale services, depending on the region... so it had a pretty good perspective from both sides of the fence. At a first glance, it looks like the CRTC opted for a variant of that third option, which is to bill for Internet services based on capacity (i.e. speed or throughput of the network), not on usage (i.e. volume of data going through the network). In other words, small ISPs will have to pay for the size of the pipe, not the volume of data flowing through that pipe. Of course, this is a "Canadian" solution. Bell and wholesalers get a way to charge more if they provide faster Internet services, which allows them to upgrade their infrastructure to deliver even faster Internet service. On the other hand, smaller ISPs won't have to pay based on how much data their customers use in a given period of time. The key question going forward is how will these independent ISPs plan out their Internet service needs and what will the SLAs (Service Level Agreements) call for? Throughputs at the peak busy hour is one way to measure the speed of service, but those can be tricky and that method does involve some over-engineering of the network (i.e. during off-peak hours, the speeds could be higher). So, as a smaller ISP, do you buy Internet services to meet that peak demand, and incur more upfront cost, or buy to meet the baseline demand, and have enough resources to "rent the spike"? Some will choose the former (resulting in extra costs for the end-users), while others the latter (which results in more or less the same costs), but worse (slower) performance. Then again, it will be hard to measure this lower performance since some users of services like Teksavvy were already being "throttled down" by providers such as Bell. One thing for sure: as a result of this ruling, there will be more demand for policy infrastructure (from vendors such as Tekelec (which bought Camiant) and Amdocs (which recently acquired Canadian-based Bridgewater)) that could be leveraged for many purposes including "demand shaping", among others. End-users will stick to what's cheap - and follow the "theory of rational expectations".
- page 1 of 1