The time is well past when an organization can spend years delivering a major business initiative, even very large ERP type initiatives must be delivered in phases.  In fact, the pendulum might be beginning to swing back from favoring large monolithic initiatives to a more nimble approach of delivery where interim solutions are delivered that build upon each other.  This nimble approach is one that I am in favor of for a couple of reasons; it supports and encourages a frequent delivery cycle that brings business value more quickly, it supports a process of evaluation of the interim delivery solutions to validate and adjust course as necessary to increase the benefits delivered based on the actual results.  How does collaboration across your network fit into this nimble delivery strategy?

A key aspect supported by network collaboration is the validation and results evaluation process required to adjust strategy and course as necessary to ensure results and expectations are met.  This is enacted through a collaborative continuous improvement cycle that is supported and embraced by your partners.  This requires a review process with your partners to obtain buy-in for your initiative.  This is an important ingredient in itself for any strategic initiative, this is so important because any strategic initiative impacts your partners as much as your own organization.  Providing a method to share results and obtain feedback from your partners in order to validate and improve your solutions will ensure support from your partners because it provides a means for your partners to participate and achieve their own benefits from the initiative. 

With your collaborative continuous improvement network in place and support from your partners you can then begin to increase the velocity of delivery of your strategic initiatives.  Encouraging and obtaining feedback from your partner network and then including and encouraging your partner network to participate in the evaluation will decrease the length of time to perform the evaluation.  In addition, as a result of the expanded information available and the partner expertise and viewpoints as inputs in the evaluation process your evaluation results will come quicker and your course adjustments will come quicker.  The greater number of viewpoints, expanded areas of expertise and also greater volume of data for evaluation and validation will increase the accuracy and decrease the time required for the validation and revisions.

I don’t mean to mislead anyone in making this sound easy because it is not.  This collaboration in delivery will require a great deal of effort from all parties involved in order to first build the process and then to maintain and even increase the momentum.  Your monolithic initiatives will be replaced by this collaborative delivery process and this will require effort to maintain over a long time period.  However I believe the results will far outway any bumps encountered along the way.

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?