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Solutions for organizational sustainability is an ongoing goal sought by almost every organization. Although most organizations may not speak of or know of resilient sustainability, organizations are actually always making decisions that contribute towards resilient sustainability. For organizations to utilize resilient sustainability solutions they must understand what resilient sustainability is. In the case study titled IBM Canada LTD.: Implementing Global Strategy, Peter Silvanovich is responsible for a making a decision in regards to the implementation of a customer relationship management (CMR) system. The decision that Silvanovich must make places him at an inconvenient crossroad: halt current progress and allow the delayed implementation of the new CMR system, or risk implementing the new CMR system before everyone has received adequate training. Which ever road Silvanovich decides to take, he must ensure that he satisfies all parties involved. Delaying the implementation may create frustration amongst employees that have been trained and transitioned to the new CRM system because their efforts to meet the implementation deadline was not required. On the other hand, if Silvanovich decides to implement the new CRM system at the specified deadline, remaining employees that were inadequately trained for the new CRM system may obstruct the organization from realizing the benefits of the new CRM system.
The framework that will be discussed in this report is called the Comprehensive Framework for Resilient Sustainability. Resilience is the ability of a system to withstand disturbances without falling into a qualitatively different state. For example, disk drive manufacturing companies rely on domestic and overseas labor. If there was a natural disaster to the overseas labor division, such as a flood, that damages all buildings and halts operations overseas, then the workforce for the hard disk company is dramatically reduced. A resilient company will need to find methods to maintain operations at a level that still satisfies all stakeholders, but without the larger workforce that was available. Sustainability is the ability to endure with given constraints. Reflecting back on the hard disk manufacturing company, the company must continue operations with a new set of constraints such as a limited workforce, loss of resources, current available resources, and lower capacity for production. With these new constraints, the hard disk manufacturing company will need to devise a plan to maintain operations in a way efficiently consumes organizational resources as if these constraints will always be present.
The CFRS is a combination of a multi-level framework and tools for strategic planning. According to Irv Beiman, there are four assumptions that the CFRS is based on:
- We know more than enough to start.
- Clarity, focus, and alignment enable improved results.
- Strategy maps enable agreement.
- Parallel action at multiple levels accelerates movement toward critical objectives.
Beiman believes that all organizations know enough about designing and managing strategies, therefore, organizations will be able to implement resilient and sustainable solutions. Organizations need to clearly understand what critical issues are present and align organizational efforts to solve such issues with respect to the organization’s strategies and goals. To help the organization understand what steps to take, a strategy map offers a visual tool to outline a strategy to reach a desired future state. To accelerate progress, action should be taken simultaneously at multiple levels. There are five stakeholder levels that Beiman refers to: Global (L1), Regional (L2), Organizational (L3), Cities and Communities (L4), and Individuals and Families (L5).
Alignment of organizational objectives is key factor for the CFRS in order to initiate and prolong the use of a strategy, (Beiman, 2009). Alignment is important to the CFRS because it defines the purpose of resilience and sustainability goals. If the goals for resilient sustainability does not support organizational goals, then there is no alignment and stakeholders will not understand how such actions resemble a resilient and sustainable strategy, (Beiman, 2010). For example, if an organizational goal is to reduce the amount of paper forms used for administration, it does not make sense to formulate a strategy to transition to solar energy to accomplish the goal. The CFRS utilizes principles from performance management and the balance scorecard to maintain alignment. CFRS also makes organizations consider applying risk management to their decisions. Resilient sustainability requires a strategy to focus on risk management. With constant changes to our environment, the direction of resilient sustainability is always changing. For example, if there is a government policy that forces business to use solar power as an energy source instead of wind power within the next 10 years, organizations must change their energy provider to accommodate the change in the given time frame. A policy like this forces organizations to make a choice. An organization could start off with wind power if for some reason wind power costs less for them, then make the transition to solar power. Or, the organization could scrap their current wind power plans and go straight to solar. It is up to the organization to assess the costs and risks of each path to see what options are more feasible, (Stenzel, 2011).
According to the case, IBM Canada has already been taking actions that resemble the CFRS. IBM Canada has accomplished the following to move towards resilient sustainability: became more globally integrated, focused on virtualization to consolidate servers, and reduced the number of software applications needed for operations. Although IBM Canada has the tools necessary for resilient sustainability, the outcome of their implementation of the new CRM system has not proved itself as a sustainable solution. To help restructure IBM Canada’s plan to implement the new CRM system, IBM Canada should examine their implementation strategy through the following: Learning and growth enablers perspective and sustainability drivers.
Learning and growth enablers serve as the foundation for resilient sustainability solutions. Through this perspective, the organization will focus on human capital, information capital, and organizational capital. Human capital is important to the CFRS model because human capital helps determine what resilient sustainability solutions are possible. The human capital of an organization needs the proper training and education to achieve the solutions that are considered. On top of having the proper training and education, human capital needs to see the value and be motivated about the resilient sustainability solutions. Information capital is important the the CFRS because it is a tool that measures the progress of the organization’s actions. Depending on performance objectives, the organization can make changes to their strategy to meet their performance requirements. Organizational capital is important to the CFRS because it determines the objectives and the risks of their actions. If necessary, the organization must create new objectives to create support for sustainability development, (Stenzel, 2011).
Because of the progress IBM Canada has already made, they already have the components for information and organizational capital. IBM Canada has already realized the need to implement sustainable strategies. Since IBM Canada knows that the implementation of the new CRM system has not been successful, they obviously have the information capital necessary to measure performance and track progress. With the information from the case, it is apparent that IBM Canada is lacking in employee development. Employee training is a necessary component for the implementation for any resilient sustainability strategy. To ease the training process for employees, IBM Canada should view the implementation of a new CRM system as another form of change management.
Sustainability drivers are sustainability processes, risks, and strategies that the organization must perform well to add value. What is critical to sustainability drivers is acquiring sustainable innovations. IBM Canada is trying to move to a new CRM system because it is a sustainable innovation. The new CRM system is supposed to consume less resources through the use of a globally standard interface. An ongoing excuse that the employees of IBM Canada repeat is that the employees did not have the time to train themselves to use the new CRM system, thus leading to the delayed implementation. Employees of IBM Canada need to examine their work processes with an emphasis on sustainability. For example, the employees need to work with their supervisors to determine how can the organization increase work flow without sacrificing the quality of work. To implement the new CRM system and provide a more efficient means for employees to perform their duties, IBM Canada can utilize outsourcing and cloud computing to facilitate a work environment that is based on follow-the-sun principles. Follow-the-sun refers to operations taking place where ever there are daylight hours, (Stenzel, 2011). With the use of cloud computing and follow-the-sun principles, IBM Canada will be able to make use of potential employees across the globe and create virtual teams to accomplish more tasks while using less daylight hours. Virtual teams provide increased productivity when team members are selected on opposite sides of the globe to make full use of follow-the-sun operations. Another benefit for the use of virtual teams is that organizations will have access to knowledge that may not be available locally, (Gartee, 2011).
Silvanovich of IBM Canada has the ongoing problem of employees not having enough time to acquire training for their new CRM system. Because of the lack of training, Silvanovich must determine whether he should continue implementing the change to meet the given deadline, or request for an extension. There are a few problems that have lead to this situation. In order to solve IBM Canada’s problems, Silvanovich can look towards resilient sustainability principles. An important component of resilient sustainability is the capabilities of the employees. Capabilities refers to either knowledge, training, or willingness to adapt. The employees of IBM Canada have problems implementing the new CRM system. The problems included training, time, and willingness to accept change. To solve IBM Canada’s problems, it is best for IBM Canada to focus their efforts on their employees before moving on to other process improvements. Another objective that will help employees adopt more sustainable solutions is to explain to employees that the change is necessary. Employee capabilities serves as the ground work for the CFRS. Without a stead foundation, resilient and sustainable strategies cannot succeed.
Beiman, I. (2009). A comprehensive framework for strategic resilience in the 21st centry. Retrieved from http://www.globalisr.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/strategicresilience.pdf
Beiman, I. (2010). The comprehensive framework for resilient sustainability: A wake- up call to action for cities [part 1]. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/urlsa=t&rct=j&q=the%20comprehensive%20framework%20for%20resilien%20sustainability%3A%20a%20wake-up%20call%20to%20action%20fo%20cities%20%5Bpar%201%5D&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CB0QFjAA&url=http%3A%2%2Fwww.globalisr.com%2Fsitebuildercontent%2Fsitebuilderfile%2FL4urbanresiliencepart1.pdf&ei=oJ7mTvnBDuGmiQKGtMWnBw&usg=AFQjCNFEpAyLYDwyaG7S1BNcaX92FOBgA&cad=rja
Gartee, R. (2011). Health information technology and management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Mark, K. (2010). Ibm Canada ltd.: Implementing global strategy. 9B10E008, Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, Ontario, London.
Ruben, M. (2011, April 19). Interview by D Nguyen [Personal Interview]. Change management. , Golden Gate University.
Stenzel, J. (2011). Cio best practices. (Second ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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