Best Practices of Microsoft


Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has credited his best practices or new rules of how to function in the new digital business infrastructure. They can be applied in other businesses. The rules include:

  1. Insist that communications flow through email
  2. Study sales data online to share insights easily
  3. Shift knowledge workers into high level thinking
  4. Use digital tools to create virtual teams
  5. Convert every paper process to  digital process
  6. Use digital tools to eliminate single-task jobs
  7. Create a digital feedback loop
  8. Use digital systems to route customer complaints immediately
  9. Use digital communication to redefine boundaries
  10. Transform every business process into just-in-time delivery
  11. Use digital delivery to eliminate middlemen
  12. Use digital tools to help customers solve problems for themselves.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Managing Technology


A significant organizational challenge confronting managers today is the set of issues involving the management of technology. Technology is the mechanical and intellectual processes the organization uses to transform inputs (raw materials, parts, cash, facilities, people) into products or services. Managing technology is essentially a reactive process. Whenever a supplier came up with a new piece of equipment to replace an old one, the organization buys it and trains its workers in how to use it.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Technology and New Knowledge


Technology is one of the most powerful forces affecting business and society. Improved technology includes machines of all sizes, shapes, and functions; processes that enable business to produce goods at faster speeds, with lower costs, and with less waste; and software that that incorporates new forms of learning into formats that direct machines (hardware) to perform functions that would have taken much longer, and been less reliable, if done by other means. Technology involves harnessing human imagination to create new devices and new approaches to the needs, problems, and concerns of a modern society.

Technology also involves drawing together fields of knowledge that coverage, enabling new ways to solve problems or perform tasks.

Although new technologies have the potential to benefit large portions of the population, they may also negatively affect some people. As new technologies become available, the challenges to sound decision making become even more ethically complicated.

Technology is creating what experts call the knowledge economy. This is an economy in which new knowledge, in all of its many forms, is reshaping and transforming old industries and businesses, creating new industries and businesses, and ultimately affecting individuals, families, communities, and institutions throughout the world. For these reasons, technology must be understood as one of major drivers of change in both business and society.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Value Chain Analysis


The term value chain describes a way of looking at a business as a chain of activities that transform inputs into outputs that customers value. Customer value derives from three basic sources: activities that differentiate the product, activities that lower its cost, and activities that meet the customer’s need quickly. Value chain analysis (VAC) attempts to understand how a business creates customer value by examining the contributions of different activities within the business to that value.

VCA takes a process point of view: it divides (sometimes called disaggregates) the business into sets of activities that occur within the business, starting with the inputs a firm receives and finishing with the firm’s products (or services) and after-sales service to customers. VCA attempts to look at its costs across the series of activities the business performs to determine where low-cost advantages or cost disadvantages exist. It looks at the attributes of each of these different activities to determine in what ways each activity that occurs between purchasing inputs and after-sales service helps differentiate the company’s products and services. Proponents of VCA believe it allows managers to better identify their firm’s strengths and weaknesses by looking at the business as a process—a chain of activities—of what actually happens in the business rather than simply looking at it based on arbitrary organizational dividing lines or historical accounting protocol.

Judgment is required across individual firms and different industries because what may be seen as a support activity in one firm or industry may be a primary activity in another. Computer operations might typically be seen as infrastructure support, for example, but may be seen as a primary activity in airlines, newspapers, or banks.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

From Financial Capital to Human Capital


The new corporation differs from the old in both goals and basic assumptions. In the industrial era, when the strategic resource was capital, the goal of the corporation could only have been profits. In the information era, however, the strategic resource is information, knowledge, creativity. There is only one way a corporation can gain access to these valuable commodities—that is, through the people in whom these resources reside.

So the basic assumption of a re-invented company is that people—human capital—are its most important resource. What used to be one of the radicals’ favorite slogans, “People before Profits,” is finding its way into the boardroom and being transformed into a more businesslike but equally humanistic “People and Profits.”

In an information age society, human resources are any organization’s competitive edge.

One expression of the importance of human capital is the new corporate preoccupation with health and fitness. Corporations are treating their human assets with new concern, encouraging their people to stop smoking, lose weight, exercise, and learn to manage stress. What might have been considered an intrusion into one’s personal life in the past is fair game when people are a company’s strategic resource.

The new re-invernted corporations stress inordinate regard for the two most important types of people in an enterprise: employees and customers.

They have discovered that by being both pro-people and pro-profits, a company can earn more than it it had targeted profits as its only goal.

It is not a question of being nice to people. It is simply a recognition that human beings will make or break a company.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Lectures, Line of Sight

Walking and Talking Customer Value


To survive in this value era firms concentrate on improving four key business processes: designing, making, marketing, and supporting. Customer value is maximized when product, order, and experience—which are outcomes of the first three processes—are correct, timely, appropriate, and economical.

We are moving into the value era and firms will no longer survive if they simply focus on price and product features. Several non-price factors are thought to have great influence on customers perceptions of value received: 1) the length of customer lead times; 2) variation from promised delivery dates; 3) condition of product on arrival; 4) sales call and order initiation procedures; 5) credit, billing, and collection procedures; 6) effectiveness of after-sales support; 7) product documentation; 8) product performance; 9) product downtime frequency and duration; and 10) maintenance cost and difficulty.

There are four key business processes responsible for creating better customer value: 1) design—integrating the “voice of the customer” when building the product; 2) making –getting key inputs from suppliers and transforming them into other components or finished products leading to filled customer orders; 3) marketing—transforming sales leads into sales calls, sales orders, service calls, and sales support which lead to completed service transactions; and 4) support—those activities and tasks that serve internal customers.

In addition, the four key business processes must be reengineered and firms should strive for: 1) simplicity—provide the required variety of outputs at low cost and with minimum capital intensity; 2) focus—customer and supplier processes should be treated at the same process; 3) energy—employees should be empowered and also have problemsolving skills; 4) continuity—processes must have extensive improvement and refinement; 5) linearity—subprocesses within each process must be linked together and be customer driven; and 6) dependability—strong customer-supplier relationships assure the success of each process.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

The TQM Concept


Total quality management (TQM) is an enhancement to the traditional way of doing business. It is a proven technique to guarantee survival in world class competition. Only by changing the actions of management will the culture and actions of an entire organization be transformed. TQM is for the most part common sense. Analyzing the three words, we have:

Total—Made up of the whole

Quality—Degree of Excellence a product or service provides

Management—Act, art, or manner of handling, controlling, directing, etc.

Therefore, TQM is the art of managing the whole to achieve excellence. The Golden Rule is a simple but effective way to explain it: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

TQM is defined as both a philosophy and a set of guiding principles that represent the foundation of a continuously improving organization. It is the application of qualitative methods and human resources to improve all the processes within an organization and exceed customer needs now and in the future. TQM integrates fundamental management techniques, existing improvement efforts, and technical tools under a disciplined approach.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

The Androgynous Manager


Clearly, the corporate world is still a man’s world. Under this male-bastion model, corporations, for a number of reasons, are losing out as much as women. Every corporation wants the most competent people woking on their side. But companies which permit themselves the luxury of unconsciously sexist attitudes lose out on a wealth of talent which resides equally in men and women. That is simply bad for business.

 When women and men are segregated in the workplace, formulating stereotype of each other’s behavior, they can become blind to genuine abilities each possesses. Women, for example, are rarely considered great-deal-makers.

 But women are actually more flexible, less deceptive, more emphatic, and more likely to reach agreement, while men are just the opposite. When a man visualizes a negotiating situation, he sees it as a one-shot deal to win or lose, like a sport or a game. A woman sees it as part of a long-term relationship. Since most business situations involve long-term relationships, the female approach is more productive.

 But in the information society, as the manager’s role shifts to that of the teacher, mentor, and nurturer of human potential, there is even more reason for corporations to take advantage of women’s managerial abilities, because these people-oriented traits are the ones women are socialized to possess.

 The problem is that most women feel that they must be more like men if they are too succeed in a male-dominated corporate environment and that is a mistake both for women and for companies.

 The appropriate style for the manager of the 80s was an androgynous blend, one that combined the best of traditional male and female traits.

 Men and women should learn from one another without abandoning successful traits they already possess. Men can learn to be more collaborative and intuitive, yet remain result-oriented. Women need not give up being nurturing in order to learn to be comfortable with power and conflict. Women can transform the workplace by expressing, not by giving up their personal values.

 My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Impact of Time-based Competition on Employees


The level of financial performance improvements achieved by companies as they become time-based competitors is difficult to match with conventional cost-cutting techniques. For example, the improvements are completely out of the range of what is achievable by the following methods:

  • Cutting direct labor wages through renegotiation or going offshore.
  • Reducing overheads by de-layering management structures and/or narrowing the line of products and services offered
  • Automation short of the
  • ‘people-less’ factory
  • Obtaining superior economies of scale.

The only way to achieve this degree of performance improvement is by transforming the company into a time-based competitor. Furthermore, the transformation must be made before a competitor makes it.

 

Probably as important, and maybe even more important than the profit improvements, though, are the intangible rewards to the organization of being a time-based competitor. People like to believe they are winners. Growth and improvements in financial indicators clearly tell an organization and the world that that they are winners.

 

Competitors of time-based competitors are often frustrated by their inability to match the growth and returns of their rivals. But they may misjudge the competitive factors contributing to their difficulties. Many complain that their industry is one where no one can make money because of cut-throat competition by companies that do not know how to make money. On two points they are correct: the competition is cut-throat and it is their throats that are being cut. This is the classic case of the retreating competition not understanding the strategy and capability of the advancing competitor.

 

Management should look to time-based competition not only as a source of above-average returns but also as opportunity to make their people feel like winners.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Increasing Knowledge Intensity


Knowledge (information, intelligence, and expertise) is the basis of technology and application. In the 21st Century competitive landscape, knowledge is a critical organizational resource  and is increasingly a valuable source of competitive advantage. Because of this, many companies now strive to transmute the accumulated knowledge of individual employees into a corporate asset. Some argue that the value of intangible assets, including knowledge, is growing as a proportion of total shareholder value. The probability of achieving strategic competitiveness in the 21st Century competitive landscape is enhanced for the firm that realizes that its survival depends on the ability to capture intelligence, transform it into usable knowledge, and diffuse it rapidly throughout the company. Firms that accept this challenge shift their focus from merely obtaining the information to exploiting the information to gain a competitive advantage over rival firms.

 

Conditions in the 21st Century competitive landscape shows that firms must be able to adapt quickly to achieve strategic competitiveness and earn above average returns. The term strategic flexibility describes a firm’s ability to do this. Strategic flexibility is a set of capabilities firms use to respond to various demands and opportunities that are a part of dynamic and uncertain competitive environments. Firms should develop strategic flexibility in all areas of their operations. Such capabilities in terms of manufacturing allow firms to “switch gears—form, for example, rapid product development to low cost—relatively quickly and with minimum resources.

 

To achieve strategic flexibility, many firms have to develop organizational slack. Slack resources allow the firm some flexibility to respond to environmental changes. When the changes required are large, firms may have to undergo strategic reorientations. Such reorientations can drastically change a firm’s competitive strategy. Strategic reorientations are often the result of a firm’s poor performance. For example, when a firm earns negative returns, its stakeholders are likely to place pressure on the top executives to make major changes. To be strategically flexible on a continuing basis, a firm has to develop the capability to learn. The learning continuously provides the firm with new and current sets of skills. This allows the firm to adapt to its environment as it encounters changes.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

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