Real SMB IT:The Value Chain, IT, And Getting To YES!

August 5, 2009

The Value Chain

The Value Chain

Even in smaller organizations, it is critical that your senior IT staff are knowledgeable about your business objectives and customers.

My opinion for this is that with strong IT leadership and strategy you can then begin to see areas where there is friction in the links between pieces of your value chain.

So, What is a Value Chain?

The value Chain – using the definition by Michael Porter in 2001, is;

the set of activities through which a product or service is delivered to customers

Each of these activities that deliver your product or service don’t operate in a vacuum, each activity touches other activities, they may touch customers or may touch suppliers.

Sales and marketing professionals already understand that with each of these touch points you are trying to win a Yes! that keeps a prospective customer in the sales pipeline.

But what about IT?

From raw materials in a manufacturing business, to knowledge or skills in a service business, multiple activities are performed from inception  to the time the product or service is delivered to the customer.

And just about every activity in your value chain today can involve the creation or consumption of information that is tied to  your product or service.

As I have written previously in; Creative vs. Scientific Process, that wasted effort and time often creeps in at the intersections (or hand off) from one activity to another. That could be the fax on someones desk, the e-mail to the person on vacation, or waiting for the meeting that is required for some approval.

An IT strategy that looks at these links (or hand-offs) with the goal of reducing that friction generated (the wasted time or wasted effort) will have your suppliers and your customers saying; YES! These people are so great to to business with!

Smallbiztechnology.com has one great example here, plain and simple, the horrible delivery window that most of us have to put up with

The SMB Takeaway

Minimize the friction, improve those links. Make your self drop dead easy to business with.

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Photo Credit Jinho.Jung via flickr

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