Corporate Governance

We work within and respect your regular governance structure. Our experience shows that typical assignments usually follow a pattern:

1. Engagement. Advisory relationships usually start when talking about the existence of a problem or opportunity.  You'll often know that something must be done, but are not sure what, the timing of any intervention or how to approach the challenge.  We usually spend a couple of hours speaking with you and then provide value in the form of 2 sides of A4, or some slides, encapsulating some opportunities to move forward. This will then allow you to socialise the idea with your fellow Exec members.  This work is usually part of our 'cost of sale' so we won't charge for it.

Aston Beck Corporate Governance

2. Discovery.  If either you or your leadership board think our suggested approach is worthy of further exploration, then you might give us 5 to 20 chargeable days to undertake a wider discovery and to provide context, scale and indicative benefit associated with the challenge, including options to turn an imposed obligation into a positive outcome. We often call this an 'Idea Paper'.

If you have a Design Authority, our Idea Paper would first be submitted to judge if this is a 'good idea' with respect to your published Enterprise Architecture.

3. Definition.  If you are happy with the outcome, this usually leads to a formal initiative which is given funding, and access to organisational resources.   This period of work is usually undertaken alongside one or more of your own people, and is either a feasibility study and/or a definition of what can or must be done, together with a view of the ‘art of the possible’ from market enquiry.  It may also include a tender phase to appoint one or more partners.  It will conclude with production of  a business case, securing the capital investment and appointment of the correct people to oversee implementation and/or run the new organisational structure.

If you have a Design Authority, the emerging Solution Design is submitted part way through this stage, to judge if this is still a 'good idea'. The Business Case gets the full attention of your Investment Committee, who hold the purse strings.

4. Delivery.  This stage is all about executing on the strategy. On occasion we are asked to stay on as Programme Directors to oversee the implementation of the new world we have described and gained funding for. Whilst we are often content to do this, it is possible that you may wish for a cheaper resource to lead the work.

5. Drive Value.  Similarly, from time-to-time we are asked to stay on beyond implementation as Interim COO, to run the transformed organisation and to embed practices that will release the hoped for efficiencies and value gain. We normally limit this engagement to the time required to recruit a permanent member of staff.

Incremental Success

Every transformation initiative needs a method to follow to give it structure and purpose.  

All of our work within the Definition and Delivery stages outlined above follows a more detailed pattern.

Once the initial Discovery stage is complete, and the wider team is mobilised, we iterate a Diagnose - Define - Implement - Learn change cycle to ensure that we are constantly helping you make incremental advances towards a customer-centric organisation, and that you are seeing clear benefit before further commitment.

Change Cycle

Iteratively following the change cycle ensures momentum (velocity), direction and governance (focus), and creates an enabling environment for success (flexibility).

In theory, this cycle is self-controlling and we could carry on delivering value endlessly, but we have found that the majority of our clients prefer us to pause after Discovery is complete, recognising corporate governance needs. We follow the cycle multiple times during Discovery to get a clear understanding of what is required, and then repeat the cycle multiple times during Delivery to implement what has been agreed by the Investment Committee.  

Once the organisation has started to transform away from a hierarchical Capex company to a cross-functional Opex focus then your Investment Committee will be content to let our change cycle run, as we work with your people to follow our small-team, cross-functional, self-directing, 2-week sprint mantra.

Transformation Types

As part of the Discovery stage we'll talk to you about what you'd like to start first, and then we'll use the change cycle to iterate through each.

We believe that there are four different types of transformation activities, each supportive of, and building on, the others.
Major Transformation Activities

We recommend progressing all four types of transformation, but they don’t all have to be done at once, or in any particular order.  Each will inform the other.

Transformation Activities

Here are some of the major transformation activities we'll progress with you:

Empowering Employees

  1. A shared vision - making sure that the everyone in your company knows what you are aiming for, and why. This includes listening to feedback.
  2. Decentralised decision making - employees feel secure in their ability to make decisions which increase customer value.
  3. Tooling - for collaboration, mobility and knowledge sharing.
  4. Corporate Memory - create a method easily storing and retrieving the reasons why actions were taken and decisions made, and what the decisions were.
  5. Communication - regular and rich engagement with the workforce, and responses to feedback.
Foster collaboration, fuel productivity and maximise mobility to attract and retain top talent, while mitigating risks that come with providing freedom and space to employees.

Transforming the Customer Experience

  • Customer interaction - create a dedicated customer networking team who are constantly alert to discussions about your brand or products on third-party sites or social networks.
  • Actionable intelligence - generate predictive insights from your immersive view of your customers.
  • Personalised messaging - draw on your knowledge of what each customer likes to hear and see, and how they like the messages delivered.
  • Ease of interaction - revise the company's systems of engagement so that the easiest and most fulfilling company to deal with is yours.
Customers no longer line up meekly at our shop door, impatient to buy what we have to offer.  We have to be active where they are active, and try to influence their decision by explaining the value we offer.

Transforming Operational Processes

  1. Small teams - reorganise staff into cross-functional teams, each team aligned to a Product or Service.
  2. Funding - transition to Opex funding for the new teams - they are constantly iterating through feature updates, so no need for major Capex initiatives to renew legacy product.
  3. Analytics - there is so much data available that data scientists can now perform advanced analysi to inform your next steps and to confirm longer-term trends.
  4. Automation - any transactional and/or repetitive work in a system of record should be automated, so that the headcount efficiency realised can work on realising customer value instead
  5. On Demand - if you haven't done so already, all systems should be built using Cloud infrastructure.
Time-honoured organisational structures, funding methods and ways-of-working are no longer relevant, so they must be changed.

Transforming Business Models

  1. Innovation - create a path for ideas to flow up for consideration. Encourage staff to try a better way of working, and allow it to fail without penalty.
  2. Platform - build platforms rather than just products, so that the commercial eco-system can augment your offering and build on your value, whilst rewarding you.
  3. Value - adapt your value proposition to follow the market, the consumer, the technology - and stay relevant.
  4. Re-invent - listen to what your customers want, and give it to them.
  5. Re-imagine - predict what your customers need, and give it to them.
To keep up with digital-first companies, businesses need to adapt not only their technology but also their existing business models and offerings, finding ways to differentiate with new products and services.

We'd be pleased to talk about how we can help with what's on your mind at present.  

Drop us a line