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BY: CAROLE O’BRIEN

For many years enterprise businesses have been using Business Capability mapping as a stable reference to reach its objectives, it is an anchor point for all strategic change, and ultimately  resulting in the growth and strength of a company. For the SME market they have not been so widely used or even heard about but as even the smallest boat needs an anchor this is an area that  needs to be changed. 

WHAT IS A BUSINESS CAPABILITY MAP AND WHY ALLBUSINESSES SHOULD HAVE ONE?

A Business Capability Map (BCM) is a visual bespoke representation of elements or building blocks a business needs to reach its objectives. Starting from high-level capabilities (Level 0) these are  the core of the business, the essence and impact of strategy decision making that enable a business to run effectively. Level 1 is the top level of how Level 0 is fulfilled. It outlines the divisions that make it happen. Level 2 (and beyond if needed) are the subsections of Level 1. The underlying individual areas or functions

Once a full capability map is complete adding all over arching support, resource and IT enablers will complete the 360-degree picture of the business. Showing a unique combination of the people, process and physical things that enable the organization to do what it does, and clearly shows the inter-relationships to each other. When done properly, a well-structured visualisation serves as a  clear model of your organization and assists in focusing on which capabilities need to be improved, replaced, or established. In essence, before improvement and optimisation can be achieved you  need to understand what you do best and what your capabilities are, and BCM gives you the tools to do so.

       

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO A BUSINESS?
Going beyond the obvious of knowing every area of the business and the connections between functionalities there are several key benefits from taking the steps of BCM.

  • Gives the ability to understand interconnections, silos, gaps, overlaps, and synergies.
    • Siloed departments will in turn cost more but looking to connect either through automation, process or other change can save as much as 75% on resource that can be used on more  beneficial areas for the business.
    • Seeing where gaps are in resource, application, or process are critical for effective working. Often the gaps are in the process where people all conduct a role in a separate way.
    • The consequence is a disjointed, time absorbing, inefficient way of working and especially noticed in time spent and accuracy of reporting.
    • Overlaps of application licences is regularly seen, where the primary application has the capability to operate more functions than used, and additional applications are purchased.
  • A clear link from defining strategy to execution (evidence based not gut instinct)
    • Having clear information will give obvious evidence for change. It alleviates the who shouts loudest gets budget, or resource. The mapping will highlight the priorities for change needed  and will always have the big picture at the core of any judgment.
    • Manage change, assess risk, and prepare for innovative endeavours.
    • Change is inevitable for a business to grow, by having the capabilities of the business mapped it allows priorities to be seen, understand the impact of any change across the whole  business and therefore reduce the risk. Where gaps and silos do exist, it gives time to explore modern alternatives and better solutions.
    • For new streams of work (expansion, additional services, or products) , knowing the capabilities you already have will reduce costs. As you know the capabilities of what you already  have only essential supplementary needs have to be added. The mapping can also instigate innovative ideas for other streams.
  • Business Capabilities create a common language across all business leaders/ devoid of business and technical lingo.
    • With everyone using common language of the capability maps it becomes business centric and ensures everyone is on the same page. The focus of strategy is now on the outcomes of a  capability and the need for technical or business lingo is alleviated.
  • Enables all over-arching support to best meet the needs of the business
    • As a business knowing that every cost is best meeting the needs of the business allows the focus to be on growth.
    • As  times have changed and the way we work have evolved many have fallen foul to money being wasted on support not matching the need.
    • The BCM will highlight waste and focus on productive  positive change.
  • Gives a company a competitive advantage
    • Once all the mapping is done, waste is removed, inefficiencies addressed, the business will be in a stronger position. Focus can now be on growth,  with solid foundations, knowledge, and insight to develop faster, greater at reduce risk can only be a positive.

In this uncertain world, the capabilities of your business are stable yet the need for continuous improvement is paramount. New influential factors, both internal and external continuously need to  be addressed. The mapping gives the foundations to manage new requirements, reduce the risk and increase productivity. The cycle for continuous improvement, gives an impartial unbiassed view  that has the depth to absorb additional requirements. It does not matter the size or sector of a business, whether your product or service based, mapping out your business will return any  investment of time or money many times over. The results when appropriately defined, will increase efficiencies, save money, decrease risk, enable growth, and give you control and stability in an  uncertain world.