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Consultants File 2010: Business management

BST Global’s Eduardo Niebles explains why business system technologies are critical in developing successful international business strategies.

In one manner or another, all firms have experienced some sort of volatility as a result of the uncertainty in the current economic environment.

It goes without saying that firms are looking beyond their domestic boundaries to find new work. For many companies, solely looking at one’s home base will not be enough.

Current World Bank projections indicate that by 2050 China and India will together account for nearly 50% of global gross domestic product (this is roughly equivalent to the current share of the G7 today, which is expected to decline 25% according to the same projections).

With that in mind, firms cannot afford to ignore a global business strategy in the years ahead. A global strategy involves several dimensions and challenges.

“Successful execution of one’s strategy is the accumulation of many decisions made every day by teams acting in accordance with the information they have.”

Eduardo Niebles

One area that many firms tend to overlook until postglobal rollout is in their business system technologies. Effective management of a diverse team requires a high level of transparency to ensure information flows where it’s needed across geographical and multi-company locations.

Successful execution of one’s strategy is the accumulation of many decisions made every day by teams acting in accordance with the information they have.

In a global strategy, the right information going to the right person becomes even more critical to maintaining the business focus, streamlining operational efficiencies, demonstrating accountability to shareholders, whilst ensuring the reputation of the company brand.

Business management systems developed specifically for the consultancy and engineering industry must go beyond providing the functionality of managing projects, finances, and resources. They need to give firms the ability to drive forward critical business performance traits.

To do this they must ensure that information flows seamlessly across organisational boundaries, both internally and geographically. They must ensure that in-country managers have access to the metrics needed to measure key drivers of their business and that each staff member understands the decisions and actions they are responsible for from the information flow provided.

It is also important that systems enable each staff member to see the bottom-line impact of their day-to-day choices. Finally they must ensure that critical local knowledge is quickly processed and delivered to headquarters.

Accurate, relevant, and timely information is needed for effective decision making as firms manage a global strategy, global resources, and global projects.

“Business management systems can help in closing the gap between global business strategy and effective execution.”

An effective business management system can help to ensure that strategies are adapted for anticipated risks, and then help realign the changing business conditions.They allow global teams to make cohesive and collective decisions

This is regardless of the distance involved by using the same information from an integrated system — the one version of the truth.

Any firm looking to execute a successful global strategy needs to identify key performance indicators, which will enable management by exception, improve visibility, and enable flexibility and should be an integral part of the business system strategy.

Research has shown that firms with strong effective execution have improved information flow across all boundaries, and clarified decision rights based on roles and responsibilities.

As firms consider going global, systems technology should not be a post-decision implementation, but rather should be at the forefront of existing operations, supporting domestic strategies, and yet being flexible enough to support global ventures.

Business management systems can help in closing that gap between global business strategy and effective execution.

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