In the Proformative webinar “Business Intelligence: Raising the IQ of Your Data,” Tom Kelly, Managing Director at T-Edwards, Inc., discusses how companies can better utilize the information they have to make good business decisions. Tom Kelly discusses having a vision and mission, aligning your tactics with your overall strategy, and using the business alignment model to drive results. The webinar was held on September 27, 2012.


Do You Have a Vision, Mission, and Plan?

There are many great tools out there that allow companies to do things faster and more efficiently. The Cloud is one of those examples. And while speaker Tom Kelly is a big fan of the Cloud and its uses for businesses today, he also says it’s important for your organization to have a vision, a mission, and a plan for where you’re going.

This includes setting targets, strategic planning, performance management, budget creation, and forecasting and planning your finances. In your first financial quartile, your company should align your strategy with your tactics, use corrective action for your forecasts, and frequently report on what is being measured.


Align Your Tactics with Your Strategy

The most important thing you can do for your company is to align your tactics with your overall strategy. For example, your company should target opportunities by accurately quantifying and prioritizing new revenue streams. Your company also needs to motivate people by providing a measurement system that drives the desired behaviors. Last but not least, you need to justify the investments you make by quantifying and evaluating the return on investment every time.


The Business Alignment Model (BAM)

In the business alignment model, your projects ultimately help you reach your mission and vision because they fit into your overarching goals. Your goal might be to increase your gross revenues. This can be accomplished by increasing sales for a particular area of your business. Your everyday projects should then further the goal of increasing sales in that location.

It works the same with other goals, whether you want to develop business leaders or improve overall workspace efficiency. Each big goal should have smaller goals. These goals can then be achieved by localized projects designed to further your objectives.


The Desired State of Your Business

Ideally, your vision and mission is clear, your strategies are in line with your vision and mission, and all of your strategies support one another. Your operating managers should be driven to reach your business goals.

Of course this requires your company to be very clear about what your goals are. Finally, your organization should establish a broad framework for improving overall performance of your organizations. Last but not least, you may want to add a vision for how your organization will operate in the future.

In an ideal world, your organization combines long-term strategic objectives with short-term improvement projects and tasks. This is often done with linked goal setting.


The Importance of Linked Goal-Setting

Many company goals are set by the executive team. For example, the company’s mission or vision is an overarching company goal that is set at the top. The executive team also sets strategic objectives, which are pathways to realize the company’s mission and vision. These objectives should directly tie into the overall vision and mission.

The next step is for management and team leads to set broad initiatives. These initiatives are small steps that lead to realizing the strategic objectives. At the bottom of the goal-setting ladder are the departmental projects that are created by management leads and team leads. These projects are the tactics that help realize the broad initiatives.

In a way, your company’s vision and mission can only be achieved by starting at the bottom and working your way up. But this only works if all of your goals within your company are linked and synergistic.


How Can Your Company Drive Results?

The short answer is that results can only be achieved by using effective measurements. The trouble with most companies is that they have access to too much data but too little information all at the same time. Data is basically everywhere, whether you’re looking for information on accounting, bookkeeping, taxes, payroll, sales, HR, or customer information.

One of the reasons data is everywhere is that the workforce is becoming increasingly mobile. Your employees may be disbursed all over the country or world. They’re also using their own devices, possibly even their cell phones to get work done.

Another reason why data is found everywhere is that customers and employees can have access to it from anywhere at any time. Many organizations are leaning towards self-service to keep customers and employees happy.


Leveraging the Cloud

As a business, it’s important that you understand how to leverage the Cloud. The Cloud offers many opportunities to increase efficiency and improve the accessibility of your data. Using the Cloud also helps your organization effectively and efficiently run the company. But most of all, using Cloud-based applications helps your company focus on what matters most.