Why do winning teams use Business intelligence to win?


Last year, using Infor Performance Management solution at our firm Sherwood Group Consulting, we rolled out a very successful business intelligence solution for Krung Thai AXA.  It was a winner, that has helped  this Company to leap ahead in a watch this space  style growth.

Krungthai-AXA Life Insurance aims to triple its growth as one of Thailand’s top three life insurers within three years.

We claim of course this is due to our skill to deploy this rich world class software. But the clip_image002truth is business intelligence needs more than that to be a winner. It really works best when you either use it to create a winning team or you already have a winning team that wants to move to the next level.

Mike Plaxton by anyone’s standards, stands out in his class. As a long time Insurance industry Icon and veteran,  he presently heads up Krung Thai AXA as its CEO. He guides this partnership which joins the very successful AXA and Krung Thai Bank, headquartered in the “City of Angels”, better know as Bangkok in Thailand.

His aim for their new business intelligence platform was simple: To bring all the company data into one consistent and cohesive place to allow the business teams to collaborate to drive and control the business.  Meeting that challenge was actually relatively easy to get all the data together so it can be believed. The plan was not just a passive tool with vague benefit but to use it decisively to increase momentum and aggressively grow the business.

When I had asked him for guidance to get engagement and how he had already been able to create the winner team he already had, he referred me to the mantra hanging on the walls in the offices. He said it was developed by his team and is a constant reminder of what makes a winning culture: 

You will quickly note as you read thru it that it is not about individuals but focuses as a collective of team based customer service values and aims. This is a generic version of what he is happy to share. 

  1. Be a winning Team
  2. Have a passion for excellence in everything we do everyday
  3. Focus all we do on our customers
  4. Be driven to achieve results; to deliver our promises
  5. Be professional, unyielding integrity and socially committed
  6. By open to ideas sharing transparent and trusting
  7. Be ambitious and challenge each other
  8. Be entrepreneurs, embrace change and risk
  9. Make the Company a Great Place to Work
  10. Have a sense of humor
    I am very sure the Infor PM solution and our self proclaimed brilliance to deploy it helped  this Company to grow so fast. But just having a a list of nice words and a business intelligence tool is still not what makes it all work.

What does make it work is living the values as a code of conduct and culture to continue to rise to challenges The embedded value they bring is enhanced by sharing information routinely in a quality a measurement process. Without doubt quality leadership too, capable of spotting the gaps is vital. All together I firmly believe that is what makes a winning team.

To what extent does your IT function inform the enterprise about potential business opportunities enabled by new technologies?

A joint PwC and IT Governance Institute research paper, just released has perhaps a less enthusiastic opinion of IT’s contribution As explained by this figure 3 which form part of their finding to this question.”To what extent does your IT function inform the enterprise about potential business opportunities enabled by new technologies?” was:

One-third of the respondents relayed that their IT function does not inform the enterprise of new business
opportunities made possible by new technologies, or does so only to a limited extent.

Another third indicated that such communication occurs only to some extent. Only one-third of enterprises can count on their
IT department to provide this type of information—information that could create a competitive advantage. Implied in this is a call to action for IT management to better communicate and align IT’s capabilities to enhance business growth through innovation.


The study which may be very useful reflective reading to consider who drives IT is aimed at Executive Teams and IT professionals, and has 28 graphical figures with expanded findings under the embodied questioning elements.

  1. Contribution of IT to Delivery of Business Strategy.
  2. IT’s Contribution to Innovation, Efficiency and Effectiveness
  3. Frequency With Which IT Informs the Business on New Technologies
  4. Creation of Value From IT Investments
  5. Barriers Preventing Full Return on IT Investments
  6. Barriers Identified
  7. Perception of IT Performance.
  8. Accountable for IT Governance
  9. Key Champions for IT Governance.
  10. Accountability for IT Governance Activities..
  11. CIO as Member of Executive Team.
  12. Equality of CIO’s Views With Others on Executive Team..
  13. CIO Reporting
  14. Reason for CIO Absence From Executive Team
  15. Frequency of IT on Board Agenda ..
  16. IT Topics Discussed by Board
  17. Alignment of IT and Business Strategy..
  18. Methods of Aligning IT and Business Strategy..
  19. Sources of IT Governance Guidance
  20. Relationship of IT Governance to Enterprise Governance
  21. Perception of IT Governance Maturity ..
  22. Correlation Between IT Governance and IT Outcome
  23. Average IT Outcome Index..
  24. IT Importance and IT Governance Indices for Strategists and Operators
  25. IT Outcome for Strategists and Operators
  26. Impact of IT Importance and IT Governance on Outcome .
  27. Strategist and Operator Perceptions of IT Governance Maturity .
  28. Profiles and Behaviours of Strategists and Operators

Download Here>>>

ISACA  an independent, best practice IT governance association, has further related published additional research

Is your Business Intelligence humming and if not why not; or do you actually need it?

If you are a business manager or information provider and don’t think you have or need a BI system you may find it there anyway but it is just called your reports. Then ask yourself the imagehumming  part of the question.

If you find reporting is slow, fragmented and hard to access; or it is  hard to drill into or do meaningful analysis and does not delver the information you need to move quickly on decisions, then it needs attention.

One acid test is to ask yourself “does it constrain your ability respond to and understand the market behavior and constrain how quick you are to be able respond to it compared to your competitors.

I agree with Lachlan James who talks about maintaining a healthy fully utilized Business Intelligence (BI) as a cyclical, never-ending process

Traditionally any branded retailer, for example, knows good analytics and business intelligence are mandatory for category planning. Hence good BI systems with potent analytics capabilities are vital and must be kept up to date.

Now days so do the Hospitality, Food and Beverage Industry, Banks and Logistics companies and in-fact many more with mass market businesses as do all multifaceted high-volume sales organizations. But not everyone one has so-called Business Intelligence tools or even know what they are. So this must be cleared up first before we can start to debate on how to maintain quality.

In both front line management and leader second chair roles e.g. CFO, IT HR or even as advisors, we all know well good information is vital to our business. Good reporting and analytics defines and shapes the business by its very nature to show where it has been and where it may be going in terms of both its market place and planning relative growth

In one way or another every business must do some reporting and analytics of some sort be-it systematic or or sporadic. Product mix, profitability client and sales activity, capital and operating expenses, projects and so on must always under constant watch. As must all mission critical aspects of their business and the market. 

As you consider updating your BI system give some serious thought to a performance management based business intelligence system that can help you with budgeting and planning too and can sit on top of all your data so you have assess and can use it well.

Once you have one or plan to get one or grade what you have that is clearly defined it must evolve with the needs and the company itself. In his writings Lachlan goes on to say that maintaining in a BI platform is like maintaining a vintage car so its body keeps sparkling, and the interior always permeates a new car smell.

His original is post linked here and is also below the fold, with the 9 key ways listed to ensure an always successful BI: As an advisor at Sherwood Group Consulting as with many others who do this work, these are mantra’s for our clients success to always be current.

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  • Looking back in on leads-can be fruitful. They will remember the investment you made in them.


    As a teenager in school, I never had much luck meeting girls. Or when I did I was last in line. My mate had much more success, so I asked him his secret. He said no one cared that he spent time with the lower grade girls. But like the moth metamorphosis, when it happened and they become beautiful butterflies he did not have to stand in line.

    Getting active to get new leads into meetings is the aim to kick start the year and get ahead of the budget for the first quarter. And getting momentum back up is always a challenge with a New Year break. 

    A useful thing to do as you ramp up again is to look back on who you met some time ago. Remember that you already know those prospects especially the near qualified leads that before may have gone to powder. Even if they went with the opposition on a solution they may be back in the market and thinking about the same sort of things as they get up to speed. And adverse things that may have stalled or lost you the sale may have changed. Taking a moment to consider or find out if there is still an opportunity may be very fruitful. 

    And even if they are not ready now you don’t have a solution for them just yet, adding an already established contact to your touch plan could be a very smart move for the future. Things arguably always changed for the better and especially after downturns. And even with those who closed forever, the people will most likely bob up again in time, so it is good to keep in touch.  Remember you are also more mature and may have more to offer.

    So like my schoolmate and his romance success many of those