Reduce Complexity: State Key Business Requirements (KBR's)!

Photo at blog from webmaster - 21/09/2010 - 12:59

Steven van het Veld, a well-known Dutch independent principal (enterprise) information architect, claims that companies spend more on their website than on their enterprise architecture. This statement seems to be in line with something else I recently heard: Organizations spend much more on their website than on business process improvement, while the Return On Investment (ROI) of business process improvement is much higher.

Why do I make these remarks? I recently wrote a blog on website transition and a hose of questions was my harvest. Most people explained that a website is a very essential asset of a company and that sole fact is sufficient to spend a lot of money on it without questioning the ROI. There is no need for a transition from old to new, because funding a completely new rebuild is easy.

KBR's for a Website

I can understand that, but I also think that answer is too easy. A website can, and should, be a part of the business strategy. That implies that the website should fulfill requirements of sales, marketing, operation, customer service, and finance. That also implies that managing a website is important as well as difficult: Who is the business owner in this multidisciplinary environment?

This brings up the next questions:

  • What are the Key Business Requirements (KBRs) of your website?
  • Which Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) are used to measure the performance?
  • How are you going to implement the real-time KPI feedback dashboard, and make sure that continuous improvement is embedded in your operational processes?

Good questions, and no easy answers without a business owner! Some examples of KBR's for a website:

  • Inform the public about some issue.
  • Increase the lead generation.
  • Provide an on-line sales facility.

Note that these KBR's are quite different, leading to very different KPI's.

The 5 Times Why Methodology

Why does not a website provide a serious ROI? Without a clear business owner it is difficult to get clear multidisciplinary and measurable requirements for a website. The same goes for a smooth improvement process, complete with a real-time feedback and automatic dashboard.

One of methodologies that really can help you here is Five Times Why, officially known as the 5 Whys. The 5 Whys can be used on its own, as well as part of 6Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, or Lean Six Sigma. It is recommended as a good practice to perform the on-the-spot verification of the answer to the current "why" question, before proceeding to the next why. So: it is not the question that counts (Why!), but the serious and verified answer!

Reduce Complexity!

Like any other business topic without a clear business owner, optimizing a website is not an easy task. It is imperative to reduce the complexity of the website management, and get back to the basics: Clear KBR's, clear KPI's, and a real-time dashboard driving the improvement process are mandatory.

Using this approach leads to an easy implementable and maintainable website. Why? Because you assigned a business owner, reduced complexity by introducing a very few but very relevant KBR's, and introduced continuous improvement!

Is your website the business tools that serves its purpose well? How do you manage it? And how do you know it works well?

Please let us know. We like to hear from you! Contact Hans Lodder and make your opinion heard!


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