Finance / Strategy Execution

Prioritizing Business Investments

At the outbreak of COVID-19, the business world entered unprecedented territory. Within just a few weeks, companies big and small had to halt nearly all capital spending, transition entire workforces to virtual workspaces, and in some cases, furlough or terminate employees. To ensure business survival without knowing how or when the crisis would end, companies across the world locked down their financial budgets and braced for the worst.

Though we are still navigating unknown variables, as the adage says, “this too shall pass.” We are already starting to see our society and economy opening back up, and we are beginning reentry into a new economic landscape. But what does this mean for businesses as they begin to open their doors again? As capital budgets are released in limited capacity, how will business leaders prioritize their investments? Projects that were placed “on hold” will be queued for funding, and project sponsors will line up to request funding that addresses specific business needs backed by real business cases. Leaders will have to make tough decisions about which projects to prioritize and greenlight.

There are so many factors to consider. With budget limitations and continued uncertainty, how will you decide which projects will receive investment dollars first in 2020 and which will be delayed to 2021? If you are a leader making these decisions, how do you know you are funding the right projects that are likely to have the biggest positive impact on your business? With the right approach, we believe that making these decisions can be as “easy as ABC and 123.”

Check your grades.

First define your capabilities and align them to the critical steps in the customer journey. Grade each of your organization’s major capabilities as they stand today relative to the major players in the industry. Then, think three years into the future and assign a grade for each capability relative to how you would like to be positioned against your key competitors.

  • Reserve the grade “A” for current or future capabilities that you want to mature to be Industry Leading (i.e. capabilities that the company desires as differentiators in the marketplace). Hint: Very few future grades should be an “A.” This ideal state would require limitless resources.
  • Assigning an “F” to a capability should NOT be perceived as negative. “F” indicates that the capability does not exist, is in its infancy, or is only in a pilot / incomplete state. Hint: Your company should rate all capabilities that you do not wish to leverage in the future as an “F.”

Pick your top three.

Identify up to three key initiatives for each capability that will mature the capability from where it is today to where it needs to be to achieve the desired future grade. You can create a Capability Maturity Map to help identify initiatives that are more immediate in nature. Then ask yourself this critical question: what are we able to deliver that has the most impact in 2020?

[epq-quote align=”align-center”]Create a Capability Maturity Map to identify immediate initiatives that your business can deliver that have the most impact in 2020. [/epq-quote]

Start at the top.

Select the top initiatives that drive the most progress against the company’s strategic vision leveraging the Capability Maturity Map and begin the funding allocation process. Priority initiatives may have been defined prior to the COVID-19 crisis and placed on hold, or they could be new initiatives. Consider the following guidelines when prioritizing initiatives for consideration:

  • What is needed to maintain or build market differentiators?
  • What projects are aligned to the future strategy and will deliver the most short-term value? Prioritizing these projects will be key to your financial recovery in a challenging year.

Answering these questions thoughtfully will help companies prioritize the key investments that offer short-term success and long-term value. When the process seems daunting, Thought Logic can help. Thought Logic partners with business leaders to assess key organizational capabilities against the capabilities of other key players in the industry. By rapidly setting the foundation that aligns your company’s specific capabilities with its strategic objectives, we can help you build a business roadmap that gets your business back on track.