Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Porters Five Forces - Substitution of Product

I have being reading about the dramatic increase in the sales and use of tablet computers this week. The tablet is rapidly becoming the technology device of the moment with technology providers who have not developed in this area being reported in the media as suffering badly.

It seems in recent years that the force of substitution of product, particularly in the technology sector, is changing the fortunes of organisations by the month. The compact camera is under threat from the smart phone, the laptop from the tablet - what next.

Apparently the "Phablet" is on the rise; a cross over between the phone and the tablet. The dilemma has got to be the size in the pocket versus the useful size of the screen I'm not sure how this gets balance as some of these new smart phone seem to be getting larger to accommodate application functionality above that of size. Seeing how many expensive phones are getting cracked screens as a result of being too big for the pocket seems to emphasise this point.

Some reviewers are predicting a tablet and a small flip phone as an alternative or a blue tooth device connected to a tablet as the solution; the market is moving quickly so we will know quite soon.

Porter's classic 5 forces model asks some pertinent questions of companies whilst formulating their business strategy and the older tools are often the best and the area of the force of product substitution is at the forefront at present.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Organic versus active or planned design.

I helped facilitate a workshop this week where we discussed the pros and cons of taking control of your design from a top down holistic perspective as opposed to allowing the business to evolve without intervention i.e. organically.

One of the interesting points to come out as ever was language.

Organic growth to some particularly finance people means growth from within as opposed to growth through mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

To others it means growth without intervention using the agricultural analogy of organic growth being growth without  inputs - fertilisers or chemicals. Organic also means to some natural growth or growth without human intervention. Organic design as described by the building architect Frank Lloyd Wright meant design in line with nature; he argued that form and function were one and form would naturally evolve from function..

All of these interpretations mean growth within - neither party is wrong here, it is just a different perspective due to richness of the English language.

I understand the issue and that the word organic means different things to different people; so the learning point here is to make sure the audience does hear something or reach an interpretation  that you didn't intend. Be ready to step inside others shoes and see where there use of language is taking them.

Organic growth in design terms means "Businesses become what they become" whilst  in the case of Planned or Active Design "Businesses become as they are designed". In other words businesses evolve through the default  "survival of the fittest" rather than by management taking active control and directing holistic business change.

Sunday, 4 November 2012


An acronym for a cross functional set of views used to represent an enterprise without functional structural bias. Customer, channel, product,process, organisation, location, data, application and technology. Can have additional letters for additional views e.g. R&C risk and compliance.

The use of these base nine dimensions are more rich and meaningful than first impressions may suggest. Can be used as a basic framework for a business/enterprise architecture.

Dominant in business dimensions with specific focus to customer centric approaches.

Used for describing operating models, gap analysis and for project or change impacts and baselines.

A valuable business front end method to couple with TOGAF 9 or other Enterprise I.T. architectural frameworks.

Was developed and enhanced in Centrica Plc. (British Gas) from the original POLDAT framework originally created by the Computer Science Corporation CSC. Widely used in UK financial services organisations.

Acknowledgements to: CSC. Farnborough Hants. and specifically Jim Murphy/Dawn McMylor  of Centrica Plc. who originally  brought this to my attention and evangelised the technique in the early 2000's.