It has been a while since I’ve read good Gartner material, around three years I think. Nevertheless I’ve picked this up recently – a set of scenarios that enterprises may find themselves within. I really like it – the first time I came across Scenario Based Strategy was 1998, and it still remains a key aspect of long term strategic thinking for me. Enjoy these extracts – more from Gartner of course.
Wizard in the Crowd
In the highly fragmented world of the Wizard in the Crowd scenario, communities form and dissolve rapidly around specific issues. Within communities, there are high levels of trust; between communities formed around different values, trust is limited or nonexistent. Governments at all levels are less powerful and effective.
The successful enterprise in the Wizard in the Crowd scenario is externally focused—on the community that represents its market and on a wide range of external collaborators. Intensive, ongoing collaboration within and across enterprises and communities is standard operating procedure. The preferred management style is team-oriented and expertise-based (as opposed to authority-based).
The CIO in this scenario is the chief innovation officer, whose responsibilities are heavily weighted toward support for development and collaboration rather than toward operations.
The Benevolent Parent scenario is dominated by large, powerful commercial institutions that set the rules for participation in a wide range of markets and opportunities. Markets are defined by ecosystems in which everyone appears to participate and benefit. The dominant enterprise cultivates a wide range of relationships with external contributors, ensuring that the contributors concentrate on initiatives that will benefit the ecosystem.
The CIO in this scenario is the chief connection officer, whose systems bridge the needs and interests of talent and stakeholders inside and outside the enterprise. The IT team must support innovation with the kind of development and bulletproof operations expected of ecosystem leaders. This dual role leads to an IT organization with a split personality, similar to the split between operations and development currently exhibited by Google. Strong governance mechanisms are essential for allocating resources between these competing missions. Management styles, furthermore, vary between operations and development, with the former considerably more top-down than the latter.
The Wild West
In the Wild West scenario, enterprises and nations are competitive and uncooperative with each other. Communities and governments alike lack the power and cohesiveness to promote common agendas. Petty warlords and bandits thrive, in and out of the business. Skilled talent is rare, commanding a high price when available.
Pervasive distrust and intense competition for fleeting rewards limit collaboration and innovation, internally andexternally. Long-term relationships are perhaps the greatest and rarest competitive advantage of all.
The CIO in this scenario is the chief exploitation officer, whose mission is to support rapid response to emergingmarkets. The IT organization is squeezed hard for operating efficiencies, often to the point where operations are starved for resources.
Winner Take All
In the Winner Take All scenario, powerful institutions acting on their own behalf set the rules in the public and private sectors. The dominant public and private institutions work in tandem, tightly controlling political power. The enterprises that dominate promote stability at the expense of innovation. Enterprise talent focuses on incremental innovations that extend existing markets without replacing or cannibalising them. External innovators are co-opted or exiled, with external collaboration always conducted according to terms of the dominant enterprise.
A great deal of personal and institutional energy is spent on controls, and productivity at personal and enterprise levels is relatively low. Though markets are large, overall growth is slow.
The CIO in this scenario functions largely as the chief enforcement officer. Corporate control is centralised, andoperations are heavily standardised throughout the enterprise. Process expertise inside and outside IT aims above all at reliable operations.