Strategy Dynamics Briefing 82: Capabilities and business processes

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The mapping and deliberate design of effective business processes has become almost ubiquitous amongst larger organizations since business process re-engineering (BPR) came to prominence in the 1990s. At the time, many businesses were using information technology to automate activities that were pointless, rather than redesigning processes to incur the minimum essential activity. The result of redesigning or re-engineering the process would often be a considerable improvement in speed, reliability and cost efficiency.

In summary, BPR first identifies the activities involved ...

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Strategy Dynamics Briefing 81: What exactly are capabilities?

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Briefing 80 explained briefly that a capability is the ability to get something done – fast, well and cheaply. To clarify the difference between resources and capabilities it is worth noting the same classification of asset stocks we used when explaining intangible resources in Briefing 73 (Figure 1).

Figure 1: A classification of resources and capabilities. (Click image to view larger)

A classification of resources and capabilities

Capabilities are asset-stocks, but not resources. They accumulate ...

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Strategy Dynamics Briefing 80: Introducing capabilities

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A capability is the ability of the organization, function or team to get something done, and is therefore quite different from resources, both tangible and intangible, that generally do not denote activity. In grammatical terms they can be recognized by the suffix ‘-ing’ or ‘-ment’ – hiring or recruitment, marketing, purchasing, product development and so on. We will define them more clearly in the next Briefing, but let’s start with an example.

What does it mean to have a stronger ...

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Strategy Dynamics Briefing 79: Quality-related intangibles

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“Quality management” has been of central importance to the outstandingly effective operation of huge numbers of admired companies. But quality is of considerably more importance than merely to make firms cost-efficient and reliable. Quality-related intangibles are of critical importance to the strategic progress of organizations. That is, it has a substantial impact on medium- to long-term development. Intangible quality-related resources show up in many forms:

  • Every aero engine that comes off the production lines comes with a large number of manufacturing ...
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Strategy Dynamics Briefing 78: The knowledge resource

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“Knowledge” is now known to be so important to business performance that it has become a sub-field of its own within strategy research. Technology-rich industries clearly rely on large quantities of technical knowledge, accumulated over many years, and protected by secrecy and sometimes by patents. But knowledge is also important in many other sectors, from retailers who use knowledge about customer behavior to the likes of Amazon.com and eBay, who voraciously gather information and insight about the best approach to ...

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