posted 24 Jan 2011 in Volume 14 Issue 4
The Intelligent Company – Five Steps to Success with Evidence-Based Management
Title: The Intelligent Company – Five Steps to Success with Evidence-Based Management
Author: Bernard Marr. Foreword by Thomas H. Davenport
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Using the exponential growth in organisational information and data volumes as a backdrop, the latest book from Bernard Marr, author of the bestselling titles, Managing and Delivering Performance and Strategic Performance Management, promises five steps to success using evidence-based management principles.
In The Intelligent Company, the five steps to more effective and competitive decision making are described as:
“Step 1: More intelligent strategies – by identifying strategic priorities and agreeing your real information needs;
Step 2: More intelligent data – by creating relevant and meaningful performance indicators and qualitative management information linked back to your strategic information needs;
Step 3: More intelligent insights – by using good evidence to test and prove ideas by analysing the data to gain robust and reliable insights;
Step 4: More intelligent communication – by creating informative and engaging management information packs and dashboards that provide the essential information, packaged in an easy to read way; and
Step 5: More intelligent decision making – by fostering an evidence-based culture of turning information into actionable knowledge and real decisions.”
Arguably The Intelligent Company’s biggest strength is its practical approach to resolving some of the issues faced by managers on a day-to-day basis. These challenges, according to Marr, have occurred as a result of ineffective management of an overwhelming amount of data, along with a skills shortage in areas such as analytics, data presentation and communication. The lack of a connection between relevant and informative data, and strategic decision making, must be readdressed. Using a combination of theory, suggested techniques and best practices, the reader is guided through the implementation of such tools as business intelligence, analytics, KPIs, balanced scorecards and reporting.
Readers can dip in and out of the book using the action checklist at the back, which provides chapter summaries, self-assessment techniques and snippets of key advice. This will no doubt be a useful tool for managers tasked with large change-management projects and requiring a quick-reference guide. Similarly, each chapter has a useful ‘conclusions’ section, so the content is highly accessible.
Case studies interspersed at regular points throughout break up the theory nicely and satisfy the requirement for real-life examples of the principles that Marr is recommending. These could perhaps have been beefed up slightly – maybe even given a more ‘warts and all’ slant – so that readers could benchmark their own work – but this would possibly defeat the object of having such a practical (almost toolkit in style) guide.
I found The Intelligent Company to be an engaging and informative read. Although many of the skills outlined were complex and technical in detail, the practical format of the book ensured that it wasn’t a difficult or time-consuming read. It was also helpful to see a number of popular frameworks linked together so seamlessly, in such a user-friendly format.