Strategic Enterprise Management Software

Definition: Strategic Enterprise Management (SEM) software is a suite of tools designed to enable executives to form and implement the strategies necessary to advance the objectives of an enterprise.

These tools allow management to gain both a broad overview of the enterprise as well as to drill down to details concerning cost management, profitability analysis and performance measurement.

What is SEM?

It has long been a challenge for CFOs and CIOs to find methods of effectively managing the strategic information requirements of their enterprises to best utilise their potential. A problem especially obvious in large organisations is the fact that there is an enormous disconnect between the people formulating business strategies and those charged with implementing them. Clearly, the executive level of any enterprise cannot be expected to spend their valuable time personally supervising the implementation of their strategies, so there can often be problems down the line.

Strategic Enterprise Management SoftwareThese problems can prove costly. It has been suggested (by Fortune Magazine) that less than 10% of strategies are successfully implemented, while the vast majority are either fudged at some point between their formulation and implementation, or are just plain misguided to begin with.

Clearly, then, there is something wrong. In order to increase the success rate of strategies it is necessary to implement strategic enterprise management. SEM attacks the problem of strategy failure from two angles:

* Formulation of strategy

Executives must have access to the data necessary to formulate effective business strategies. Without accurate, timely information executives cannot be expected to make the best decisions to move the enterprise forward.

* Progress Feedback

Strategies cannot be expected to come to fruition the moment they leave the boardroom. Instead, the progress of strategies as they move from the executive level down to the workforce and onto implementation must be carefully monitored, with data returning to the boardroom continually.

Aspects of SEM

In order to effectively manage the strategies of an enterprise there are several basic principles on which SEM is based.

* Continuous Process

Business strategies are simply a set of ideas about what the future of an enterprise will look like and the best method of reaching that future. In order to ensure that the desired destination is reached, the strategy must be continuously monitored as it progresses.

* Everyone’s Job

The strategy of an enterprise is carried out by every member of that enterprise. While formulated at the top, strategies will be refined as they are executed at the bottom. Effective SEM will ensure that every member of an organisation understands the strategies, are aligned with them and are capable of executing them effectively.

* Knowledge Networks

While executives would prefer to believe that they are the members of an organisation most qualified to create strategies it is often the case that the lowest level of the workforce is more knowledgeable. Those working in the ‘front line’, the customer service staff and delivery people, often know much more about the needs and preferences of the customer base than the executives charged with marketing the products of the enterprise. Effective SEM supports the establishment of cross-disciplinary knowledge networks – the sharing of intelligence beyond traditional vertical hierarchical structures.

* Strategic Leadership

There is a difference between management and leadership. While managers take care of the basics – planning, budgeting and organising – leaders define strategies and inspire the workforce to implement them. SEM enables managers to become leaders, allowing them to create a vision for the future and implement strategies to reach that destination.

Benefits of SEM Software

Strategic Enterprise Management is used to manage enterprises of every size, from simple one-man bands to the largest and most complex of organisations, such as NASA, and SEM software is available from a wide range of software companies (SAP is perhaps the best known vendor). SEM software is a vital tool in the struggle to ensure that business strategies succeed from the moment they leave the boardroom until the product cycle is complete. SEM software provides tools that allow management to monitor a wide range of data regarding the progress of their strategies, giving them the information they need to control and adapt them to meet a changing environment.

SEM software also enables management to simulate alternative scenarios based on real world information to determine the effects of possible alterations to strategies, allowing them to follow the best possible route to making those strategies a success.

With applications offering financial reporting, planning, budgeting and forecasting as well as risk management analysis, corporate performance reports and scorecards, SEM software offers multiple solutions to strategy planning requirements for all large enterprises.

Further information about SEM can be found at NIST.