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Mahesh is the CEO of a mid-sized firm in business for several decades in the construction industry, managing to carve for his firm a unique position in certain parts of the value chain. In many ways the firm is a typical SMB (Small and Midsize Business) – relying on personal contacts and relationships to grow the business, heavy reliance on repeat business but a need to continuously innovate to differentiate, simple operating structure but made complex day-to-day by lack of processes and rudimentary use of technology. Mahesh is faced with the problem of making the firm’s execution faster or face further constraints to its growth resulting from blocked cash flows and reputation risk. Some of his managers tell him the main problem is their basic ERP system and recommend a major upgrade. Mahesh knows the problem is deeper and the ERP is only the tip of the iceberg. He knows that communication and collaboration between the field force and the rest of the organization is lacking, causing a drag in execution. As their projects get bigger and more complex, the problem exacerbates. Mahesh engages with Raj, his trusted advisor having decades of experience in digital strategy consulting and delivery. If you were Raj, what will be the key elements of the digital strategy you will recommend to Mahesh, given the nature of their business?

Suggested Solution

Raj first met with Mahesh to understand in-depth his perspective of the issues, the organizational dynamics, business strategy and the market outlook. Then he did a detailed assessment with all the firm’s business unit and department heads, covering all the dimensions of business strategy and organizational performance, client relationships, people, business process, finance and risk, and technology. While Raj came up with a comprehensive set of recommendations implementable within the organizational constraints, here are the most important elements of the strategy he recommended which then formed the basis for a prioritized roadmap of initiatives:

  • Increased collaboration and coordination across various parts of the organization identified as a key priority.
  • The single biggest issue in the way the firm operated was that there was no recognition of the value that can be derived from all the organizational data, leave along the sharing of the same. Getting an integrated view of all organizational data, data sharing between field force and back-office, generating insights from data and using it across key management functions to make the firm more data-driven received highest priority.
  • Data-driven approach to reduce manual tasks and time wasted in follow-ups, more efficient materials management through cutting down on excess purchases and getting material to site just-in-time, data-based financial risk management, etc.
  • To enable data-driven way of working and process-orientation across the firm, define a clear set of business KPI’s, baseline current performance and targets for each KPI, and interlink with a revamped employee performance management system based on these KPI’s.
  • Upgrade to Cloud-based ERP, CRM, and 3D Building Information Management (BIM), with automated workflows, ready information made available in real-time on mobile devices.

Ramki Sethuraman