The Minefield Between Strategy and Projects


“I wish my stove came with a Save As button like Word has. That way I could experiment with my cooking and not fear ruining my dinner.

– Jarod Kintz

Business is changing, quicker than the way that enterprises can adapt, and deliver customer expectations. Existing customers often wonder why it is taking so long for a company to keep up with the rest, right before that customer churns the competitor. This is happening quicker than before. Market disruption can be the dagger in the heart of some businesses, violently taking away their market for some new startup.

Sound familiar?

Well sadly for these companies;

  • Blockbuster
  • Borders
  • Tower Records
  • United States Postal Service

They didn’t listen to their customers or spot the trends others did.

These new companies, Quickly disrupted the red ocean with blue ocean products and services


Here is what is fascinating:

  1. Big corporates have plenty of resources, a huge customer base, experts in market research etc. Why is it that they fail to innovate? 
  2. Startups most of the time lack resources, a customer base, experts in market research etc. How do they come up with innovative, disruptive and eventually successful business models?

How does a large company successfully transition to the blue ocean before small start ups do? Well, that is a tough one, and there are many pieces to the puzzle, Only a few large companies have been able to move into the disruptive blue ocean of innovation effectively … but what is the Red and Blue Ocean? well before I tantalize your taste buds with Biz Design methods I will reference some material from “The Lean entrepreneur” below;

Red&Blue Ocean

How can Business Architecture.. AKA Biz Design radically enhance the businesses from enterprise strategy through to execution? Is this a one size fits all?

Firstly I will tackle the latter – No, one size does not fit all – Company maturity, culture play a big part in determining how efficient and effective business architecture can be. In some cases, the companies need to build external companies to validate the market, initiate customer development and deploy MVP’s – pivot until they are established and focus on scaling. This however is a luxury, and most companies will try to innovate internally, this is tough if the basic information is not available.

In comes Business Architecture #BizDesign. As Biz Design specialists, We work tirelessly to make sure, that the Business motivation, Business Model and Capabilities are well understood so that the execution has a higher chance of success due to managing all of the uncertainty out of the strategy…

Remember, that 70% + of programmes / projects fail due at the strategic level

What usually happens is, the business strategy is often cascaded down into different functional business units for delivery, however this often leads to a series of programs that are functionally divided across the business units. Why does this happen? Each business unit tends to create their own strategies to achieve the enterprise goals – this in itself causes fragmentation.

The above highlights fragmentation as the killer, yes this is one of the main business pain points that drastically hinders your ROI and this is all the way up in the strategic layer…hmm so How does #BizDesign provide a solution for this, and what is the investment needed?


#BizDesign has a series of models the link together, this isnt easy – some prodding is required – information is needed and no.. a genie does not appear granting you 3 wishes. The above H/L model is a complete solution to the “execution layer”

The Biz Motivation Model takes into account current state and future state, why the business needs to change, what external environmental influences are going etc to provide robust broad statements that a qualitative in nature to some sore of tangible action or cause for the business.

The Biz Model, created by of Alexander Osterwalder is an ideal tool to describe, analyse, design and prototype strategic business models at a high level. Allowing for a “front office” and “back office” approach that everybody understands.

Its here where you decide on the priority, are you going to focus on the business Operations, Value Proposition or Customers, as this determines the type of investment in the Business Anchor model.

Business Anchor Model, otherwise known as a Capability model is the “Map of the city”, It describes what the business can DO, but now how it does it. Like a city map, the Business Anchor Model #BAM, has many overlays – each communicating a different message on the same underlying structure. A Capability is a bundle of 3 things, all used to enable the business to DO something – the bundle is a mix of;

  • People
  • Process
  • Technology (Applications / Tools)

Now as a business flowing through this method, It helps that you have great business hygiene, and no discovery work is needed in either the Organisation Model, Value Chains or Application landscape.

Value you get from the #BAM and its overlays:

  • Supporting impact analysis and business communication
  • Business concerns and issues
  • Current and planned investment is identified
  • Hotspots and Issues
  • Technology assets and their health

Everyone loves self discovery, but as a business needing to do a “stock take” mid way though any business change initiative is tough, especially if market pressures are dictating quick turn around… REST ASSURED its not the end of the world, depending on the project life cycle method chosen, you should be able to iterate quickly IF and new People, ValueChains or Applications are found.

So, again, how can Business Architecture #BizDesign, radically enhance the business in the strategy – execution space… By subscribing to a change method that has the future in mind, but is conscious of the NOW that must be dealt with… Subscribing to the #BizDesign Methodology above will increase your success rate in the highest failure area, optimise speed to market and build what is actually going to drive the business forward, revving the enterprise motor harder and faster than your competition.

However, the most important thing is, you must be able to EXECUTE

BizModel Execution


Sounds good right?

Great you said YES

How are you currently making sure that your business is boiling the Blue Ocean with your innovation?


Are you sustaining the Red Ocean, running the same risk like

Boarders & Blockbuster

Design your future before someone else does it for you




Craig Martin – COO and Chief Architect @ EnterpriseArchitect

Manuel Koelman @ LeanEntreprenure


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s