Good strategy has to be underpinned by sound analysis, of which the external environment is key. Understanding what our customers really want; the market trends as well as competitor moves are all required for appropriate positioning of your company.
AIA views strategy from a resource allocation perspective – with finance being a vital tool for making strategic decisions. From a project perspective, few tools provide the rigour as discounted cash flow modelling does – in standardising projected returns.
Over time, companies with a dominant core outperform the competition, while growing and creating sustainable value through moving into adjacencies. A deep understanding of who and what the most profitable customers, channels, competencies, products and services are is essential to adequately defining and profiting from the Core.
An important component of the strategy development process is facilitation of management, executive and board sessions towards desired outcomes. This key step ensures full spectrum of strategic possibilities are explored while working towards buy-in and support.
Having a clear and consistent framework for analysing and prioritising both your project and asset portfolio is key in deliverying sustainable and superior returns. Relationships between market share and returns, with a focus on the core, influences portfolio decisions.
Defining the strategy is the culmination of several key pieces of analysis and engagement. Macro external analysis, internal financial and operational analysis are all minimum requirements to understand the decisions that need to be made. The strategy (including resource allocation) must be clear on the desired or expected outcomes to be realised as a consequence of implementation.
Where do we create and how do we capture value? Our products and channels that deliver competitive advantage must evolve as new platforms and channels emerge. Digital shifts have seen significant changes in business models - and those who evolve, survive; while those who innovate, thrive.
Strategy without execution can be worse than no strategy at all, as it often leads to a false sense of progress. Formulating strategy is hard, exeuction equally so, as it requires focus in the face of noise and distraction. Having systems and or processes to manage execution is often what seperates the top performing from mediocre companies.
How do the interfaces between our people, systems, technology and infrastructure work? Are we effective in creating value? Is it done in a way that is most efficient in resource utilisation? Where our Business Model speaks to ‘what we do’, our Operating Model speaks to ‘how we do it’.
Organisational design brings operating models to life through efficient and effective organisation of people in terms of capacity, allocation and decision making. One of the critical considerations when designing a structure is: does the structure and decision making within the structure enable the organisation to fulfil its purpose in the most conducive manner? Is value optimally being created and captured?
Business Processes are the lubricants that make organisations work by connecting the different elements thereby creating value for stakeholders. Efficient processes - that does what the organisation needs - is the backbone of business and cost efficiency.
In the battle for the soul of an organisation, culture always wins. Understanding the culture required to succeed in any given environment, while instigating changes to make it stick is amonst the most difficult tasks required of management teams. We utilise the latest in behavioural sciences to influence and embed behavioural changes to ensure sustained organisational success.
Systems and relevant technology are key enablers of processes in realising an organisation’s strategy. Are the systems and technology requirements meeting the needs of process and service requirements of the organisation? Are they adding value in achieving the organisation’s strategy.
When dealing with the organisation, it is the leadership that most carry the burden of expectation. But it is a justifiable one as the decline and failure of many organisations can ultimately be attributed to failures in leadership. Ultimately, do the key individuals have the skill and will to lead change? Is there cohesion within the leadership team? Do the real issues get on the table for open and constructive debate?
Tracking and measuring the real drivers underpins long terms organisational success. Similarly ensuring superior performance is suitably rewarded and mediocrity is managed (including managing out) are key traits of trully successful companies. We help to understand the drivers of value and design systems to ensure these are embedded within the organisation.
Digitisation has (and will have) far reaching impacts on an organisation. It can extend the organisation’s reach, improve how products and services are developed and taken to market, and vastly assist in improving management decisions. At AIA, we focus our understanding on the consumer who drives the need for digitisation while driving through the changes in business and operating model.
Customers are interfacing with our clients primarily through digital channels. Creating immersive experiences that drive the customer value proposition becomes a requirement in customer attraction and retention. This is equally true for employees; who benefit from experiences that seek to embed change and influence behaviour facilitating growth, development and understanding. Together with our partners, AIA assists in understanding and tailoring specific experiences that improve customer retention while similarly driving and enhancing employee engagement.
Through increases in digitisation, more information is becoming readily available. Internal sensory information on both the customer and operations is opening possibilities never before imagined, As information increases, sophisticated tools are required to appropriately analyse the data, but also, to critically use the data to provide customised, localised and digitised solutions / products to customers.
Cloud Service Offerings – Software as a Service – is changing what defines core services. As more companies move towards SaaS in return for reduced cost based activities and improved customer experience, the competitive arena demands that businesses re-evaluate their product offerings. Our expertise provides a strong insight in understanding what the transition should be to a SaaS model, and building it through lean processes to ensure the core service is delivered through an effective SaaS offering.
Does formal training capacitate employees and equip them for their current and future job requirements? AIA utilises a blended approach to provide a customised experience to trainees through interactive classroom activities, practical experience and digital learning catering to a variety of needs. We offer SETA-accredited courses (ranging from short courses to full qualifications) as well as customised training based on client requirements. AIA leverages off our sister-company Resonance Institute of Learning.
A critical part of any sustainable project is building internal capacity to follow through. No initial plan is ever perfect. The secret to successful, sustained improvement is building internal capacity that can recognise, analyse and overcome roadblocks. We have adapted a unique combination of consulting and capacity building with our clients – termed Project Based Action Learning (PBAL). We are a leading provider of public sector PBAL in Southern Africa – having trained in excess of 5000 middle to senior managers utilising this approach. These concepts are about ‘Learning while doing’ and are internationally proven methodologies. Most critically, it builds cadres of managers who have been exposed to our ‘Virtuous Cycle’ of implementation.
A critical lesson from projects in the public sector is that a well-structured, managed and capacitated PMO is vital to success. Where we have seen clients underperform against plan it is almost always a result of underinvestment in this vital change management function. Successful change interventions require (1) the leadership support of the organisation and (2) a properly staffed Project Office and governance structure to coordinate and prioritize all interventions.
Most, if not all, of the organisations we have encountered have not had a formal process or system to manage and integrate strategy and performance management. Through our system Strategi EXE, AIA has a deep focus of embedding strategy through a systematic process of integration, alignment, communication and collaboration - ensuring strategy, its implementation and performance management all work together towards a common objective.
Making change stick is perhaps the most difficult part of our jobs - and often where most transformational initiative fail. Large scale transformation requires buy-in support of those who are expected to change. AIA utilises a blended approach in terms of utilising technology and behavioural science to embed change within an organsiation.