Aligning Business Focus
Is it possible for a group of
diverse businesses to develop a common vision of their future
together? Is there any benefit in developing such a vision?
The benefits of a common vision are cohesion,
complementarities of focus, and mutual or shared support. These
are obviously important to an integrated business, but are they
also important to a group of disparate businesses? We believe
the answer is yes, because if there is no advantage from cohesion
and shared support, what is the competitive or commercial value
of creating such a group in the first place?
One practical example is branding. Branding
provides a 'fast track' for appropriating the reputation of successful
transactions in other group companies to your own business. With
the increased choices now available to potential customers, branding
is becoming increasingly important. But without some degree of
cohesion and collective commitment a problem arises, because
effort invested in helping other group companies in this way
(referrals, leads, brand advertising, consistency) provides no
guarantee of return.
Siemens Shared Services faced exactly this
issue. A diverse group of independent businesses which had little
recognition of the benefits of working closer together, and strong
doubts that a common vision was even feasible, let alone beneficial.
But through a collaborative process (based on a derivation of
QFD) they have found a lot of common ground and more mutual benefits
than they anticipated. Through this, they have developed a coherent
vision and values, and a number of common processes, not least
of which is 'Business Development' which encompasses their approach
The picture above shows the General Managers
of the different service businesses evaluating each other's proposals
against the common vision, and providing feedback.
As a result of this work Shared Services
have achieved an annual growth of over 20% and maintained its
profitability while delivering an additional £6.8 M in
cost savings to its customers.
During the same period, customer satisfaction
has risen from 69% to 79%, and employee satisfaction from 67%
to 74%, while the level of queries has fallen to less than a
third of its previous value.
To read the case study of this work, click
understand more about QFD, click here
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