Do you understand the importance of strategy frameworks?


I am a true believer in business- and strategy frameworks. I did not "get it" in my earlier career, but it finally "sank in" when working on my doctoral dissertation within the Information Systems science domain. My Professor had a simple question he posed to me: "Do you want your dissertation to stay relevant for years to come?"

As part of doctoral research, you attempt to bring new information to your domain by adding to the previous research. The seminal article "Strategic Alignment: A Model for Organizational Transformation via Information Technology" by Professor John C. Henderson and Professor Venkat Venkatraman was the one I selected as the foundation. I used the framework to model analytical application software product platform theory and software product engineering through the lens of the alignment framework that the professors portray in the article.

The focus on the framework has "stuck" with me since the early days. Without the learnings in my research, I don't think I would be today where I am with my US-based boutique management consulting firm, TELLUS International, Inc. All of our workshop deliveries and educational sessions are based on solid industry-standard frameworks that allow organizations to create a predictable execution strategy. I have emphasized to many clients that "it does not matter what framework you use, as long as you are consistent with its use and feel you are getting value from it".

In this review, I wanted to highlight a book by Professor Venkat Venkatraman, an excellent example of a book that will outlive years to come because it is based on a framework. The first version of the book "The Digital Matrix: New Rules for Business Transformation Through Technology" came out in 2017 and an updated version in 2023 to reflect the changes since the initial publication. The thesis in the book portrays the three different avenues that an organization can go through in a transformation:

­čÄ»Experimentation at the Edge

­čÄ»Collision at the Core

­čÄ»Reinvention at the Root

The book introduces a matrix called "The Digital Matrix," with one dimension portraying the type of organization (Tech Entrepreneur, Industry Incumbent, Digital Giant) and the second dimension portraying the three avenues mentioned above how an organization can transform itself. One could argue that there might be other new types of players appearing today that could be added, but I feel the three organization types are still very accurate. Looking back at the tens of workshop deliveries I have facilitated over the past 15 years, they all fit into one of these three categories.

What is also fascinating in the book is that it also ties in with the concept of ecosystem play and platforms, which has been close to my heart for so many years especially when working with Microsoft global ISVs and their strive to build value-added layers on top of Microsoft cloud platforms and most of these focused on a vertical industry. Microsoft's approach with most of its partners is to focus on industries and Microsoft has even built its own industry-specific clouds where third-party vendors are tying their solutions and services.

If you are in consulting, delivering services, or building intellectual property (IP), do not ignore basing your thinking on frameworks that allow your organization and potential stakeholders to align what you are trying to accomplish and how everything ties together. Shooting from the "hip" with ideas without having a robust framework does not provide a foundation for your work.

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Dr. Petri I. Salonen

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