By: Ste Consulting  09-12-2011

We consider Strategy, Tactics and Execution to be the three pillars of success for a services and support organization. There is sometimes much debate over the definitions of strategy and tactic. We have a simple way of viewing it. A strategy is a short plan which outlines the high level goals of the organization. It clearly states the current mission and how it supports the greater corporate mission and goals. Tactics are the actions needed to achieve those goals and support the mission. Execution is the realization of those actions. A well crafted strategy with comprehensive cohesive tactics combined with flawless execution is the ideal state. It has been said that a brilliant plan with mediocre execution is worse than a mediocre plan with brilliant execution. How many times have we heard that the best product does not always win? The same is true with service and support. Strategy: In many ways crafting the strategy is the easy part. It is clearly important. If the strategy is flawed then everything else will suffer. Still it is usually more apparent what the strategy should be or it is not a lengthy process to determine it. It may require some facilitation but nonetheless it is not very time consuming. Again this is not to minimize the importance of strategy. How can a goal that is poorly conceived be achieved? How is it possible to even know if it has been achieved if it is not clearly stated? Tactics: This is where the real action is. Tactics are all encompassing in their scope. They need to cover all aspects of the business. Typically tactics cover organization, staffing, delivering, selling, marketing and technology. Notice technology was last because, although it is valuable, in and of itself it has no intrinsic value. Too many companies have fallen into the “let technology solve my problem” pit. For example, much has been said, written and done about Customer Relationship Management. CRM is not just a technology solution; it is a way of conducting business. Knowledge Management (KM) is another area where technology can be valuable. Leveraging existing knowledge throughout an organization is clearly desirable. If the system is not properly used or is not perceived as adding value then it will be yet another wasted use of time and resources (human and capital). Technology merely facilitates the implementation. In developing the tactical plans alternatives and new ideas should all be considered. What are the current best practices? How (or should) we use them? How do we staff and train? What is our pricing model? Should we outsource? How should we sell and market? What is our go to market plan? How do we differentiate ourselves from the competition? These and much more are all part of the overall tactical plan.Execution: Aside from having incomplete tactical plans, this is usually where most efforts fail. It is vital that the plans are implemented as designed. The most important aspect is the internal acceptance and buy-in of the plan. The entire organization needs to fully understand what the plan is, how it supports corporate goals and what role they play in it. A thorough communication plan is the first step. Operational aspects such as training, goals, metrics and feedback mechanisms are all vital components to success. STE Consulting can assist you in any and all areas of your services and support business. Typical engagements cover: