TASKS AND COMPETENCIES
In this section, we take a closer look at which tasks and therefore also which competencies are required in a BACC. As always, we want to emphasize that competence profiles are not individuals, but roles. One person may well fulfill several roles. For example, a data miner will typically be statistically knowledgeable and thereby able to take on two roles or competence areas. Likewise, an IT-oriented person may well have business and strategic insight, too. Similarly, a competence profile could easily require a combination of several employees.
Establishing an Information Wheel
The primary task for a BACC is to deliver the right information and the right knowledge to the right people at the right time. This is the whole definition of BA used in this book. In other words, it's a question of keeping the information wheel turning, as shown in Exhibit 7.1. The information wheel sums up the concepts that were described in Chapters 2 through 6. First we specify which knowledge and which information the business requires, based on its chosen strategy. Data is then retrieved and condensed to information and knowledge, which is delivered to users. In the model, we have introduced the concept of wisdom, which refers to knowledge management, which seeks to create and retain learning over time—in this context, to be activated at a strategic level.
Knowledge management is essentially being able to summarize overall learning about how we establish, improve, maintain, or close down business processes and store them for the use of others.
Exhibit 7.1 The Information Wheel: From Demand to Supply of Business Support
One common feature across strategies is that they have the tendency of centralizing company activities to capture and benefit from local skills and make use of these throughout the organization. It is also not uncommon that a few years later, another decentralization strategy is presented, with the purpose of releasing the creativity of the organization. Over time, this strategic heartbeat keeps organizations adapting to new market conditions via decentralizing and implementing new ideas organization-wide during the next centralization strategy. It is, however, a very costly maneuver for an international organization to make strategy changes at this level, and this is where knowledge management comes in. The purpose of knowledge management is to have the best of both: a decentralized organization releasing its full creative potential while at the same time making sure that other decentralized units reuse the good ideas generated.
In the simplest form, this could be done via a follow-up procedure on all campaigns: A document is created that describes the campaigns, how they were managed, and what their results were (lead and lag information). Now a business unit in France can search on how to make a cross-selling campaign toward small customers and be given decision support on how that was done in, say, Ghana, Brazil, and China. Not only might France get knowledge person-to-paper, but they might be able to see who actually executed the campaigns and contact them person-to-person. Suddenly, we have created task-specific virtual networks that, say, a strategy team could rely on, as shown in the information wheel in Exhibit 7.1. In smaller organizations, this could mean making knowledge that is specific to a person public, and making that knowledge sustainable across generations of employees and jobholders.
As discussed here, we are talking about many information wheels that need to be established and maintained, typically one per business process that is based on BA information.