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 Assignment 4 (Due: before December 19, 2008, 13:00hrs)

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PostSubject: Assignment 4 (Due: before December 19, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:06 pm

Identify and discuss the steps for "critical success factors" approach? (at least 1,500 words)
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PostSubject: ans ass# 4   Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:30 am

Before answering the question identify and discuss the steps for "critical success factors" approach, let us first have a quick review on the history of critical success factors and its definition.

Critical Success Factors

The idea of identifying critical success factors as a basis for determining the information needs of managers was proposed by Daniel (1961) but popularized by Rockart (1979). The idea is very simple: in any organization certain factors will be critical to the success of that organization, in the sense that, if objectives associated with the factors are not achieved, the organization will fail - perhaps catastrophically so. Rockart (1979: 85), by referring to Daniel (1961), gives the following as an example of the CSFs: new product development, good distribution, and effective advertising for the food processing industry - factors that remain relevant today for many firms.

Competitive advantage, following Porter (1985), was taken to mean, the ability of a firm to provide better value for its customers through lower prices, higher quality, or benefits not available elsewhere. The primary purpose was to test the idea that the information intensive areas of an organization could be identified within the value chain by using the CSF technique to indicate the critical areas and, thereby, enable the identification of corporate information needs. Corporate information needs were defined as those needs for information that must be satisfied if the organization is to achieve its strategic aims. The proposition was that those parts of the value chain that were perceived by organizational members to be of critical significance would be the areas in which effort ought to be concentrated so that the information systems could be effective.

The case studies were carried out in UK universities by applying a qualitative research strategy simultaneously with the cases testing the SIM methodology in the pharmaceutical and publishing sectors in Finland. Qualitative, open-ended interviews were conducted to identify the critical areas, related information needs and the use of information systems. Grounded theory was applied to define the CSFs in both the UK and Finnish studies. An understanding of the production, marketing and managerial processes within the Finnish companies and the market conditions within which the companies operated was gained by an examination of relevant documentation. The SIM study relied on theoretical sampling – the cases were chosen for replicating the test to provide examples from very knowledge-based fields of polar types in order to ensure valid findings

Identifying the things that really matter for success

So many important matters can compete for your attention in business that it's often difficult to see the "wood for the trees". What's more, it can be extremely difficult to get everyone in the team pulling in the same direction and focusing on the true essentials.

That's where Critical Success Factors (CSFs) can help. CSFs are the essential areas of activity that must be performed well if you are to achieve the mission, objectives or goals for your business or project.
By identifying your Critical Success Factors, you can create a common point of reference to help you direct and measure the success of your business or project.

As a common point of reference, CSFs help everyone in the team to know exactly what's most important. And this helps people perform their own work in the right context and so pull together towards the same overall aims.
The idea of CSFs was first presented by D. Ronald Daniel in the 1960s. It was then built on and popularized a decade later by John F. Rockart, of MIT's Sloan School of Management, and has since been used extensively to help businesses implement their strategies and projects.

Inevitably, the CSF concept has evolved, and you may have seen it implemented in different ways. This article provides a simple definition and approach based on Rockart's original ideas.
Rockart defined CSFs as:

"The limited number of areas in which results, if they are satisfactory, will ensure successful competitive performance for the organization. They are the few key areas where things must go right for the business to flourish. If results in these areas are not adequate, the organization's efforts for the period will be less than desired."
He also concluded that CSFs are "areas of activity that should receive constant and careful attention from management."
Critical Success Factors are strongly related to the mission and strategic goals of your business or project. Whereas the mission and goals focus on the aims and what is to be achieved, Critical Success Factors focus on the most important areas and get to the very heart of both what is to be achieved and how you will achieve it.

Using the Tool: An Example
CSFs are best understood by example. Consider a produce store "Farm Fresh Produce", whose mission is:

"To become the number one produce store in Main Street by selling the highest quality, freshest farm produce, from farm to customer in under 24 hours on 75% of our range and with 98% customer satisfaction."

(For more on this example, and how to develop your mission statement, see our article on Vision Statements and Mission Statements.)

The strategic objectives of Farm Fresh are to:
• Gain market share locally of 25%.
• Achieve fresh supplies of "farm to customer" in 24 hours for 75% of products.
• Sustain a customer satisfaction rate of 98%.
• Expand product range to attract more customers.
• Have sufficient store space to accommodate the range of products that customers want.

In order to identify possible CSFs, we must examine the mission and objectives and see which areas of the business need attention so that they can be achieved. We can start by brainstorming what the Critical Success Factors might be (these are the "Candidate" CSFs.)
Using the Tool: Summary Steps
In reality, identifying your CSFs is a very iterative process. Your mission, strategic goals and CSFs are intrinsically linked and each will be refined as you develop them.

Here are the summary steps that, used iteratively, will help you identify the CSFs for your business or project:

Step One: Establish your business's or project's mission and strategic goals (click here for help doing this.)

Step Two: For each strategic goal, ask yourself "what area of business or project activity is essential to achieve this goal?" The answers to the question are your candidate CSFs.
Step Three: Evaluate the list of candidate CSFs to find the absolute essential elements for achieving success - these are your Criticial Success Factors.

As you identify and evaluate candidate CSFs, you may uncover some new strategic objectives or more detailed objectives. So you may need to define your mission, objectives and CSFs iteratively.

Step Four: Identify how you will monitor and measure each of the CSFs.

Step Five: Communicate your CSFs along with the other important elements of your business or project's strategy.

Step Six: Keep monitoring and reevaluating your CSFs to ensure you keep moving towards your aims. Indeed, whilst CSFs are sometimes less tangible than measurable goals, it is useful to identify as specifically as possible how you can measure or monitor each one.

Key Points
Critical Success Factors are the areas of your business or project that are absolutely essential to it success. By identifying and communicating these CSFs, you can help ensure your business or project is well-focused and avoid wasting effort and resources on less important areas. By making CSFs explicit, and communicating them with everyone involved, you can help keep the business and project on track towards common aims and goals.


Those are the steps on the given example. Now I found 8 steps in general, I don’t know if this is the real one.

#1 Decide – You decide, right now and here that you will reach the goals you set for 2008. This isn’t about an all you have to do is ask and you will receive, life model. This is about you demanding from your surroundings, behaviors, and self.

#2 Acknowledge the Root Cause – Look, notice and feel the negative blockages, self thoughts, talk, and outside influences. It is not important that you figure out how you got the negative thoughts that stop you from moving forward, it is more important you set up ways to avoid having the same behavior in the future.

#3 Place a Stake in the Ground – Pledge and commit to yourself, family, friends, customers, associates, vendors, suppliers and influential contacts that you will transition your behaviors and create improved results.
#4 Set SMART Goals – SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goals.
Plan your work - work your plan. Lack of system produces that "I'm swamped" feeling. - Normal Vincent Peale

#5 Determine Your Biggest Return on Investment (ROI) – Look at all the CSF’s, you created a SMART goal for. Which one will give you the largest ROI? Start working the CSF that is going to bring you the largest ROI.
A ROI can be measured by financial, time, efficiency, consistency, effectiveness or perceived value, to mention a few.

#6 When do you want this goal to be completed? – You need to put an end date on your strategy or in another year, you will be right where you are today.
If you have a large goal that will be on going, break the strategy down to smaller steps, this allows you to get pieces completed and will keep you moving forward. Without a timeline there is no end, and using an end date, creates your reality.
Keep in mind there is always the opportunity to obtain additional resources to help you reach your goals. You can outsource customer service, administration and business operations management to a virtual professional. Virtual Professionals handle parts of your business you don’t have time to complete, don’t like to perform of may not have the skill set to perform. You don’t have to do it alone.

#7 Implement, Implement, Implement – You can plan all you want however, if you do not take action than you have just created yourself some interesting wallpaper.

#8 Measure Your Success – The success you reach is your definition of success. It could be money, increased clients; more referrals, increased time and balance for you and your family. Success is any number of things to you. Whatever that definition is, make sure to celebrate the success.
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Adlaon,Kristine Mae

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: before December 19, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Wed Dec 17, 2008 12:12 am

Identify and discuss the steps for “Critical Success Factor” approach? (at least 1500 words)


Before going on deeper with the steps of Critical Success factor approach, let us first understand what critical success factor is and how it really works. My statements on the proceeding lines came from a very reliable source, a pdf file authored by Richard A. Caralli entitled “The critical Success factor Method: Establishing a Foundation for Enterprise Security Management”.

Every organization has a mission that describes why it exists (its purpose) and where it intends to go (its direction). The mission reflects the organization’s unique values and vision. Achieving the mission takes the participation and skill of the entire organization. The goals and objectives of every staff member must be aimed toward the mission. However, achieving goals and objectives is not enough. The organization must perform well in key areas on a consistent basis to achieve the mission. These key areas—unique to the organization and the industry in which it competes—can be defined as the organization’s critical success factors. The critical success factor method is a means for identifying these important elements of success. It was originally developed to align information technology planning with the strategic
direction of an organization.

An organization primarily exists to serve its stakeholders—the customers, employees, business partners, shareholders, and communities that benefit from the organization’s existence and growth. The organization’s mission embodies this focus by stating the organization’s purpose, vision, and values. Stakeholders are best served when an organization operates in a manner that ensures the mission is accomplished.

Accomplishing the mission in a logical and systematic way requires the organization to develop a strategy. The strategy encompasses a set of goals or targets that the organization must achieve in a specific period of time. These goals are transformed into lower level tactical plans and activities to be carried out at various levels throughout the organization. This process of strategic planning provides a means for ensuring that the entire organization is focused on a shared purpose and vision.

However, setting goals and developing plans to achieve them is only one factor in accomplishing the organization’s mission. The organization must also perform well in a few key areas that are unique to its mission and to the industry in which it operates. In fact, failure to perform well in these areas may be a major barrier to achieving goals. These key areas can be described as a set of critical success factors—the limited number of areas in which satisfactory results will ensure competitive performance for the organization and enable it to achieve its mission.

Critical success factors (CSFs) define key areas of performance that are essential for the organization to accomplish its mission. Managers implicitly know and consider these key areas when they set goals and as they direct operational activities and tasks that are important to achieving goals. However, when these key areas of performance are made explicit, they provide a common point of reference for the entire organization. Thus, any activity or initiative that the organization undertakes must ensure consistently high performance in these key areas; otherwise, the organization may not be able to achieve its goals and consequently may fail to accomplish its mission. Identifying and focusing on the most important operational areas and assets is perhaps the most important activity that an organization performs when deploying a risk-based approach.

History of the CSF Method

The concept of identifying and applying CSFs to business problems is not a revolutionary new field of work. It dates back to the original concept of “success factors” put forth in management literature by D. Ronald Daniel in the 1960s.8 However, the CSF concepts and approach are still very powerful today and are applicable to many of the challenges being presented
in the information technology and security fields.

How CSFs Begin.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, organizations found themselves in the midst of an information revolution. The growth of information systems in organizations resulted in the production of significant amounts of information for analysis and decision making. The advent of the personal computer and the evolution of the field of information “systems” to information “technology” were indicators that the information explosion would continue. John F. Rockhart, of MIT’s Sloan School of Management, recognized the challenge that the onslaught of information presented to senior executives. In spite of the availability of more information, research showed that senior executives still lacked the information essential to
make the kinds of decisions necessary to manage the enterprise . As a result, Rockhart’s team concentrated on developing an approach to help executives clearly identify and define their information needs. Rockhart’s team expanded on the work of Daniel to develop the CSF approach. Daniel suggested that, to be effective in avoiding information overload, an organization’s information systems must focus on factors that determine organizational success .For example, in the automotive industry, Rockhart suggested that styling, an efficient dealer organization, and tight control of manufacturing costs are important success factors . Using success factors as a filter, management could then identify the information that was most important to making critical enterprise decisions. Accordingly, the underlying premise is that decisions made in this manner should be more effective because they are based on data
that is specifically linked to the organization’s success factors. CSFs are an explicit representation of the key performance areas of an organization. To apply the CSF method and to use CSFs as an analysis tool, it is important to understand how they relate to the organization’s strategic drivers and competitive environment. The term “critical success factor” has been adapted for many different uses.

In his seminal work on CSFs, Rockhart provides a useful summary of similar but distinct
definitions :

• key areas of activity in which favorable results are absolutely necessary to reach goals
• key areas where things must go right for the business to flourish
• “factors” that are “critical” to the “success” of the organization
• key areas of activities that should receive constant and careful attention from management
• a relatively small number of truly important matters on which a manager should focus
attention

The goal of the CSF method is to tap the knowledge and intuition of the organization’s managers. Many experienced managers act with a “sixth sense” that makes them successful. The CSF method attempts to make this “sixth sense” explicit so the organization can use it as an aid in setting strategic direction and in directing resources to those activities that can make it successful.

Thus, CSFs are actually derived from the organization rather than created. (Every organization already has a set of CSFs but may not know them. This is certainly true of industry CSFs that the organization inherits.) The CSF method is a way to harvest these factors from a review and analysis of the goals and objectives of key management personnel in the organization. They are also shaped by talking with key management personnel about what is important in their specific domain and discussing the barriers they encounter in achieving their goals and objectives.

To describe the steps in CSF approach, there are identified five basic activities:
• defining scope
• collecting data
• analyzing data
• deriving CSFs
• analyzing CSFs


Activity One: Defining the CSF Scope
There are two primary steps in Activity One:

Step 1: Choosing operational CSF.

If a set of operational unit CSFs is being developed, the scope of the exercise may be limited to the operational unit and some of the corporate or organizational areas that are important to the operational unit’s success. Thus, when focusing on an operational unit, it may only be necessary to include managers within the particular operational unit and their representatives at the executive level of the organization. However, because some operational units are often dependent on others (for example, where corporate services are provided to subordinate units), it may also be necessary to expand the scope of the CSF exercise to include other specific operational units as appropriate.

Step 2: Selecting a participant.

Determining who to include as participants in the CSF activity is dependent on several considerations:
• the type of CSFs being developed (enterprise or operational unit)
• the structure of the organization (many layers vs. a flat structure)
• the unique operating conditions of the organization (international presence, large divisions
in different industries, etc.)
• the purpose and objective for developing CSFs

Activity Two: Collecting Data
There are four primary steps in Activity Two:

Step 1: Collect and Review critical Documents

A document review is a very effective means for obtaining an understanding of the focus and direction of an organization or operational unit. Most organizations document their purpose, vision, and values in a mission statement that is known to all employees.

Step 2: Develop interview questions

The most important data collection activity is conducting interviews with participants. In this activity, the participants have an opportunity to talk about their management challenges and their contributions to the organization and/or the operational unit’s successes and failures. The interactive nature of the interview process provides opportunities for clarification and for guiding the interview in areas that might expose particular barriers and obstacles to accomplishing the mission.

Step 3: Plan and Conduct Participant interviews.

1. State the purpose of the interview.
2. Clarify the participant’s view of the organization or operational unit’s mission.
3. Clarify the participant’s view of his or her role in the organization or operational
unit.
4 Discuss the participant’s goals and objectives.
5. Ask a series of open-ended questions to elicit CSF data.
6. Summarize the interview by playing back the important points.
7. Ask for priority.
8. Ask for measures.
9. Reserve the right to follow up and get confirmation of interview notes if necessary.

Step 4: Organize Collected Data.

Document review and interview notes provide the core data for developing CSFs. Thus, all of the documents collected and the interview notes that have been recorded must be compiled and organized to facilitate analysis.

Activity Three: Analysis
There are three primary steps in activity three:

Step 1: Develop activity statements.

Activity statements are statements that are harvested from interview notes and documents that reflect what managers do or believe they and the organization should be doing to ensure success. They collectively describe the operational goals, objectives, and activities performed by managers throughout the organization or in the operational unit that supports the existence and/or attainment of a CSF.

Step 2: Place activity statements into affinity groupings.[b]

The next step in creating CSFs is to perform an initial affinity grouping of the activity statements gathered from document review and interview notes. Simply stated, affinity grouping is a process for organizing ideas, thoughts, concepts, etc.

Step 3: Develop Supporting Themes.

A final step required before the development of CSFs is to develop supporting themes. Supporting themes represent a group of activity statements and will be used as the foundation from which to create the CSFs.

Activity Four: Deriving CSFs
There are three primary steps in Activity Four:

Step 1: Group Summary Themes


Once supporting themes have been developed for each group of activity statements, it is important to perform an additional affinity grouping exercise using the supporting themes. This helps to bring together similar supporting themes into groups that will result in CSFs.

Step 2: Derive CSF.

Step 3: Refine and Combine CSF.

Activity Five: Analyzing CSFs
There are four primary steps in Activity Five:

Step 1. Determine comparison criteria.

The initial step in performing affinity analysis is to determine which comparison criteria to gather. Many organizations perform more than one type of affinity analysis with CSFs, so this may require the gathering of significant data outside of the CSF activity. Consider the objectives for performing the analysis to determine which data to collect and compare.

Step 2. Develop a comparison matrix.

Once the comparison criteria are established, a matrix should be developed using a spreadsheet or other method that can be easily reconfigured and sorted if necessary.

Step 3. Determine the intersections.

Next, the intersections between CSFs and the chosen criteria must be decided on. This can be a large and somewhat difficult task, but it is very important for analyzing relationships. It may be necessary to consult with other organizational and operational unit personnel to determine which relationships exist. One caution—performing this activity haphazardly can result in flawed and inaccurate analysis.

Step 4. Analyze relationships.

Finally, look at the relationships between CSFs and the chosen criteria. Ask questions about all intersections, not only those that have been marked.
- If a relationship appears to exist, what does this mean?
- If there is no relationship, what does this indicate?
- Does a relationship exist that is not marked?
- Should a relationship exist that has not yet been identified?
- Are there too many or not enough intersections? If so, what does this mean?
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kate_mariel_dizon

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PostSubject: Assignment 4   Wed Dec 17, 2008 4:06 pm

Before I lay down the steps of the Critical Success Factor approach here, let me define or give you an idea about Critical Success Factors. According to Paul Lemberg’s “Strategic Critical Factors: Jump Start”, for every business there is a unique set of factors that will make it [your business] succeed or fail. This set is your Critical success factors. By identifying these factors, you can focus your efforts and bring about more significant results. These factors are necessary for an organization or project to achieve its mission. Often, critical success factors are mistaken for key performance indicators. However, they are two very different things. Critical success factors are the things, elements, or characteristics that are vital for a strategy to be successful. On the other hand, key performance indicators are only measures for the strategic performance of the organization.

Moving on, to be able to make the most out of the Critical Success Factor Approach, there are several steps that we need to follow. Let us begin with the first step: Identify your critical success factors. Like I mentioned earlier, every business has a unique set of critical success factors. As the manager, or executive, you have to think deeply and broadly about your organization’s unique set of factors. You have to consider your business needs when thinking about what really matters. There are several more obvious factors such as sales, customers, people, or product development but you have to think beyond that because you might actually be missing other unnoticeable or small but important things. Paul Lemberg listed some other critical success factors that you might want to consider for your own organization. These are: Customer satisfaction, Quality assurance, Expense management, Training, and several more. When determining your critical success factors, be specific. As much as possible, do not generalize your factors because there are still underlying principles that could be of more help to you. By being specific, the scope of your efforts would be smaller and you can concentrate more on the little things. It is suggested to limit your factors to seven so that you can easily keep an eye on them.

The second step to the critical success factor approach is establishing the measurements. These measurements will evaluate the factors that you have identified. It could either be quantitative or qualitative, as long as you have a basis to measure the factors. For example, if you identified sales as one of your critical success factors, you can measure it by measuring revenue against budget. It does not matter how you measure your factors, as long as you know that the measure you have chosen best reflects your understanding of how they [the factors] affect the performance of your organization. You may find that some factors can be measured by a combination of two or more computations or means of measurement. But, whatever measurement style or technique that you use, it is best if these measurements are understandable and concise about showing the effect of your set of factors to the organization.

Once you have established a measurement structure for a factor, the third step is setting a baseline. Okay, from what I have read and understood, setting a baseline only means setting something like a measurement range or scale. Some examples that I have found say that you can establish a rating scale, say, 1 for non-performing, 2 for poor, 3 for mediocre, and so on. I believe you can use any rating scale you want for your critical success factors but, like establishing the measurements, you have to make sure that the scale you will be using will properly reflect and rate the performance of your organization based on the critical success factors that you previously identified. The ratings you give here somehow reflect the present status of your organization and these will be of use in the next step of the CSF approach. This is like setting the lowest score possible for your business. Rating your success factors is entirely up to you. Honestly, I agree with my references that this is a very subjective process. However, I do believe that we can make it as objective as possible by taking it seriously and by being fair.

After setting the baseline, the fourth step to the Critical success factor approach is to set new goals. When you have established the baseline, you have to make a “gap” or in other words, a new goal for your organization. This is like setting a goal or target that you want to achieve for a specific factor. Let us say you have a scale of one to ten, one being non-performing and ten being outstanding. Say for example, you set a baseline of 5 for your critical success factor of sales. In this step, you now set a new target, which is 8 or in your scale is “almost great”. You will have to ask yourself, what can I do to reach that sales target of 8? Or, will exceeding my previous revenue put me on 8? Basically, this step will allow you to see how much effort you have to put up to reach your target. So, this will help you, as the manager or executive maybe, to know how much effort you have to exert and to allocate the organization’s resources properly.

Since in the fourth step you made a “gap”, in the fifth step you have to close this gap. This becomes your challenge now. How do you close the gap between your baseline and target? In this step, you have to identify what will close the gap for this particular factor. This is where you have to get your creative juices working, your mind pumping and your organization moving to reach the target or to raise your level. Use any idea generation process you are comfortable with. Develop several possible initiatives to raise the level of that factor. With luck your ideas will work together and harmonize in terms of impact or implementation requirements. Of course, you have to consider several factors when taking initiatives such as the cost-effectiveness of that approach. There are actually several evaluation methods or techniques that will help you determine if a particular approach is cost-effective and will not overrun the budget. You can either break down your plan for closing the gap or you can go for it at once, it entirely depends on you and your evaluation. And, as I learned from class, evaluation does not only happen at the “Evaluation stage”. This must be a constant process, which means that for every step you take, you should evaluate things so that when the project or the gap is closed, you do not have to evaluate a very large area. Whatever the results are, you should make it known to everyone involved in the organization so that they, too, will know if you are getting nearer to or have reached your target.

There is a sixth step to the Critical success factor approach according to Paul Lemberg. This sixth step is called the Ben Franklin Rotation Program. I can relate this step to the Token Ring topology that we learned about in our Data Communications and Computer Networks subject. In this program, you generate a list of your critical success factors and then allocate a specific duration for one factor to be implemented or focused on. Example, you allot one week for each factor and during this time, the organization’s attention will be focused on this single factor alone. Afterwards, the company can reflect on the results of a particular week and the next week will move on to another factor. You can see that it is just like the Token Ring topology in that when a unit seizes the token, that unit alone has all the rights to pass a message or communicate. After fulfilling its job, the token is passed to the next unit and the cycle is repeated. Using Franklin's principles, at the beginning of each week, focus your mind - or collective mind of your management team - on improving that week's factor. What new actions can you take, what new attitudes can you adopt, what new or renewed approaches are available - which will enhance your performance in that one specific area? Do that "thing" wholeheartedly for the entire week. You can also rate or score your performance on that factor by creating score sheets. Using these, you can graph the performance of your organization on that particular factor.

So, those were the steps in the Critical Success Factor Approach. It may seem very simple but it requires a large amount of critical thinking and serious consideration. A very good advantage of this approach that I can clearly see is that it helps you focus your efforts on the most important things. However, you have to identify correctly the CSF’s of your organization because if you identify wrongly, then you would be focusing your efforts on the wrong factors and thus cannot achieve what you are aiming for. This approach may also seem subjective but in a way it is good because the people doing this will have to have a deep and clear understanding of what their organization needs and aims for. If done carefully and critically, the Critical Success Factor approach will be able to help an organization reach its success. alien

Reference:
http://www.wikipedia.org
Paul Lemberg, Strategic Critical Factors: Jump Start retrieved from:
http://www.paullemberg.com/criticalfactors.html
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Jonard Laganson

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PostSubject: assignment 4   Wed Dec 17, 2008 4:37 pm

First of all I would like to define the word factor, Factor is one that actively contributes to an accomplishment, result, or process. This definition should somehow help us in discussing our topic which is Critical Success Factor (CSF). Base on the definition it is something that contributes to an accomplishment. This would lead us to the assumption that this factor if used would be advantageous to us. A certain business establishment or organization that will use this would surely have a positive result. To elaborate further the topic, here is what I have researched.

Definition:
 Critical Success Factor (CSF) is a business term for an element which is necessary for an organization or project to achieve its mission. They are the critical factors or activities required for ensuring the success your business. The term was initially used in the world of data analysis, and business analysis.

 factors that will be critical to the success of an organization, in the sense that, if objectives associated with the factors are not achieved, the organization will fail.

 an element of organizational activity which is central to its future success. Critical success factors may change over time, and may include items such as product quality, employee attitudes, manufacturing flexibility, and brand awareness.

 The term was initially used in the world of data analysis, and business analysis

Why are they important?
Identifying CSF's is important as it allows firms to focus their efforts on building their capabilities and potentials to meet the visions or goals of the organization. It will become the determining factor of the effectiveness of the organization in terms or its functions and transactions. Since every organization has a dream to become successful, CSF will help them in achieving such dream. These factors must be observed by the organization to prevent failure that may arise due to the negligence of such factors.

Steps in “Critical Success Factor”

The first is Select the right projects.
In order for the business to benefit the projects that are created, selecting the right project is very important, among the five steps here, this step is considered to be the most important. Our projects should be aligned with the business goals and objectives. Since every company or organization is expected to have its own goals and objectives, it should be observe that all projects will be in line with these goals. We can consider our journey to be going the right way if we observe our goals and objectives. Success is expected when we have created the right project for our organization. Let us take for example this scenario, A company officer says: "Yes. Ok, I see these projects. I think they're good ones. We're definitely going to pursue them and now I know who's responsible for each one.". Let us focus our attention on the last sentence in the scenario. Accountability for the project was mentioned. Therefore in defining the right project, company leader should also be involved. This is to ensure that someone would be accountable on what might happen in the project, may it be good or bad. So, establishing accountability on those breakthrough projects is always a best practice within selecting the right projects.

The second is Select and train the right people.
We all know that everyone is created as a unique individual. This means that we are different from each other. We have different likes and dislikes as well as different strength and weaknesses. It is expected that the things that we will be doing should always maximize our strengths or abilities for us to have a greater chance or success. People or employees are important factors in the business. This is the reason why careful selection of people to be trained for the project is very much important. Having the wrong people trained for the best project available for the business would just waste the success or obtaining the right project for the organization. Included in the process of selecting the right people to train is selecting the right project leader. For me, leaders play an important role in a group or team task. They will serve as the head of the group. They will lead to group in order to achieve the best result that they could gain. The equation now would be : right project + right people = 99% success. Maybe you would be surprise why only 99%, this is because there are still some factors to be considered for success that the two would be the most important.
The next important thing in having the right people is making sure that they are properly communicated with. These people will be working for a certain project that is why they have to communicate with each other. Proper communication among these people should be established. That is why as I have observed there are seminars which we call team building seminar. This would build this people for an environment of a group or a team. As I have also observed there are people who performs badly in a group but performs well if alone. These are the people who needs these seminar in order to perform well in a group tasked or project.

Third, develop and implement the improvements, plans and projects.
The next step after having the right project and people would be to implement the project. Before implementing this project right planning should undergo first. If everything is in place, immediately implement the project base on the plan that was created. Sometimes, projects are not being pursued because of the lack of budget. We could not deny the fact that there are projects that requires finance to be heavily involved. More over, the commonly projects that requires heavy financing are those projects that we could consider as the “right project”. This can also be the reason why projects should be carefully selected so that no resources would be put into waste especially when we are dealing with a large amount of money.

Fourth, manage the process for excellence
During the implementation of our project, different processes that were defined in our plan will be put into realization. These processes should be managed excellently. Considering that these processes are vital in the whole project, results of these processes should be carefully monitored. Excellent management to these processes would surely lead to an outstanding result of the project.

Last, sustain any gains that are achieved.
Gains are always expected when we are doing some projects, and if eventually we will gain something, we should sustain the gains that we have achieved. For example we should take a look at the performance of our project for the first month, three months later, and so on. We should keep track of the changes in gains that have occurred during those times. These information that we will have will be our primary basis if we have gained or not. If gaining is in our side, good for us but we must not be too relax. We still have to work hard to keep the gains up high. Again, we have to regularly review the effectiveness of the overall project that we have made.. It could be 6 month intervals. It could be annual intervals depending on the needs of the project or depending on what would be the decisions of the team leader. But the world-class is quarterly reviews, this is made to properly monitor what it currently happening in the project, may it be gaining or loosing. Just have a regular review that's formal to identify what going well and what's not going so well and make active adjustments .Failure to sustain this gain would just put all our efforts and time to waste. I guess this would be the hard part in gaining from a project, we must be able to sustain the gain that we have achieved. For example, in a business that starts with a small scale business, if a time will come that it will develop, further development is expected to happen. The business should move forward, if the gain will not be constant just make sure that it will increase, not the other way around.

And then the last is: Get Ready. You'll have new projects kicking off all the time, keep evaluating and identifying great ideas. After all these steps have been done, should not stop working. After something is done, it just reminds us that there is another opportunity available for newer projects. Another opportunity for us to practice the things that we have not done properly on the previous project that we have made.

These are just steps that are available for business practitioners to follow. These steps are made to serve as a guide for us. Something that would lead us to the goals and objectives that we are longing to achieve. This will not ensure a 100% success in all the projects that you will be encountering but at least having these steps in your mind would somehow make you feel that you are closer to success.


References:
http://www.rapidbi.com/created/criticalsuccessfactors.html
http://informationr.net/ir/6-3/paper108.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_success_factor
http://www.sbtionline.com/podcast/Critical_Success_Factors_in_a_Six_Sigma_Deployment.mp3_transcript.php
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CherryannMontejo

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PostSubject: teps for critical success factors approach   Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:44 pm

Identify and discuss the steps for critical success factors approach.

The last time we have a discussion about this topic; it was reported by two of my classmates in management information system. Even though it was reported clearly (I think) the explanations given are still a bit unclear to me. But after reading the fourth assignment I was forced to have some thorough study or even comprehensive reading about the topic. But reading does help. It sure does.

Before I will jump into many conclusions and expounding into thousands of words what are the steps for critical success factors approach, I will discuss first what critical success factors really mean and where it first originated. The CSFs approach was applied in case studies carried out in the UK universities. It was applied also as a component of a strategic information management (SIM) methodology put forward by Wilson. The CSFs approach was combined with the value chain concept by Porter in order to form an information audit. The idea of identifying critical success factors as a basis for determining the information needs of managers was proposed by Daniel in 1961 but it was popularized by Rockart on 1979. The ideas were very simple: in any organization certain factors will be critical to the success of that organization, in the sense that, if objectives associated with the factors are not achieved, the organization will.

Critical success Factors define key areas of performance that are essential for the organization to accomplish its mission. Identifying the business drivers for change and the critical success factors is the most important element of any business transformations. John F. Rockart concludes that CSF’s are areas of activity that should receive constant and careful attention from management. Critical success factors are strongly related to the mission and strategic goals of your business project. Whereas the mission and goals focus on the aims and what is to be achieved. Critical success factors focus on the most important areas and get to the very heart of both what is to be achieved and how you will achieve it.
For most businesses, there are only a generally a limited number of areas – like sales or product development – which makes a business succeed. We can select critical success factor with insights and analysis. The success or failure of your business depends on how you approach your unique set of critical success factors. Understanding these factors and spending 100 percent attention to them is a sure way to add power to your efforts and jump start towards a new level of performance.

For better understanding about the steps on critical success factors approach, let’s go further than the business issues. Let us narrow our senses. The following definitions are mostly ideas based on the explanation given by myGoals.com.

Critical success factors cannot be specifically defined for the masses because success can be defined quite differently by each individual, and for the goal at hand. Therefore, in order to identify critical success factors, it is first necessary to come to terms with your own personal definition of success. Each individual’s own definition of will be influenced by several key factors:

• Success is subject to individual interpretation based on upbringing, past experiences, role models, personal motivations and goals. For some it might be to own a home in an upscale neighborhood, while for others it might be a career in the Peace Corps. Carefully contemplate your definition of success based on your values—not what your brother-in-law or Madison Avenue tells you it is. Your own definition of personal success directly influences critical factors leading to that success.

• Your view of success will change at various times throughout your life. For example, what might be deemed successful in college or on your first job is very different from successfully raising a family or comfortably retiring in the Caribbean. Your definition of success will continue to change, so don’t make the error of pursuing an outdated version of it. Success factors will change over time.

• Personal success is sometimes measurable and sometimes not. Accumulating a certain amount of wealth is one way to measure success, but it is not the only way; a successful marriage may be far more meaningful to many people and can only be measured by how the two partners feel about each other as the years go by.

• Very few people achieve success accidentally. Most people who achieve success first defined it then planned for it; they set a goal to achieve it. Critical success factors change with the goal.

Once you have defined personal success for yourself, your next step is to set goals that will lead you to your definition of success. You must create realistic, viable plans to achieve those goals. Follow your plans, be flexible, and enjoy the process. It’s not about keeping up with the Joneses. Here are five success factors that will directly affect your success in achieving any goal:



Critical Success Factor #1: Clearly Identify your Goal
The first step is to identify your special set of critical success factors. Clearly determine what the goal is. Be specific when identifying your factors. Test your assumptions by imagining a decline in a particular factor. How would that impact your business? And then imagine an improvement in that factor and think if what will its impact in you business.



Critical Success Factor #2: Identify the Obstacles
The next step is to establish a measurement scale for each critical factor. List all the hindrances standing between you and the goal. Identify resources, assistance, information or anything else that might be needed to reach the goal. As you're writing, don’t get discouraged by the obstacles– they’re absolutely necessary to help you with the next step in completing your plan.


Critical Success Factor #3: Know the Tasks Necessary to Overcome Each Obstacle
Set the baseline after establishing a measurement structure for a factor. Taking each obstacle one at a time, write one or more ways the obstacle could be overcome. These are tasks that will comprise your to-do list. Expect to have several tasks per obstacle.


Critical Success Factor #4: Assign Deadlines
Next is setting new goals. Create a gap between where you are and your baseline and your target for that factor. Assign a start and completion date to each task in the plan. It’s ok to be working on several different tasks at the same time, but don’t over do it. Be realistic.


Critical Success Factor #5: Follow the Plan
By the time to you've reached this step, you will have defined a goal plan. You have now defined a baseline and a target for each factor. Complete each task in succession. Revisit your goal plan often and make sure to use your reminder system to keep you on track. Use any idea generation process you are comfortable with. Develop several possible initiatives to raise the level of that factor. With luck your ideas will work together and harmonize in terms of impact or implementation requirements. If you generate challenging ideas, select the best option. Choose based on return on investment, required resources, scheduling conflicts, time to impact, total cost, and possibility of success in opposition to risk of failure. Depending on the specific factor, and the size of the gap, you may plan to close it in stages or shoot the gap all at once. Once you launch your gap closing initiatives, continually measure your results. Report your progress to participants and stakeholders and post it publicly.


If the success plan is too long or a little bit complicated, try to break it into several smaller more manageable plans. Do not rely on luck or things outside you control as part of the success plan. Be flexible enough; expect your success plan to change before you complete it. Circumstances change, unexpected events occur, and your plan should be updated to adapt to changes. Use planning software to help construct your plan and modify it regularly. Seek the input of others who have expertise in the area or who have completed similar goal. Reward yourself for practical success as significant milestone are accomplished.

To top it all, critical success factor was designed to help a business achieve personal success, regardless of how you chose to define it. It helps you select and pursue personally fulfilling goals; you create a clear, defined path to your own personal success. Critical path method is extremely effective tools for creating viable plans and keeping you on track. As what the saying goes, “you can’t mange what you can’t measure”. This tells us that the positive results don’t come easy and are driven by many factors besides management alignment. Because its human nature to revert the old comfortable ways.

As priorities change (and circumstances change), goals will change as well. Defining steps of approach provides a convenient, flexible, and easy way to manage your path to personal success. We encourage everyone to pursue their goals with passion. Personal success is yours alone to define, pursue, and achieve.


references:


http://www.mygoals.com/content/critical-success-factors.html


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Simon Lusan

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: before December 19, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:09 pm

What are the steps involved in using the Critical Success Factors? Before I discuss the steps I think I’ll first define what CSF is and what it is for.

As what I have read, CSFs are the essential areas of activity that must be performed well if you are to achieve the mission, objectives or goals for your business or project. In short Critical Success Factors are key factors to the success of a project, organization, or an industry.
By identifying your Critical Success Factors, you can create a common point of reference to help you direct and measure the success of your business or project. Identifying CSF's is important as it allows firms to focus their efforts on building their capabilities to meet the CSF's, or even allow firms to decide if they have the capability to build the requirements necessary to meet Critical Success Factors. As a common point of reference, CSFs help everyone in the team to know exactly what's most important. And this helps people perform their own work in the right context and so pull together towards the same overall aims. It is also said that the method of Critical Success Factors is an iterative one, meaning that even though missions, goals and objectives are already established it doesn’t mean it’s final. Sometimes after CSFs are identified, mission and objectives are modified because of newly found strategic goals and objectives.

These are the steps followed in order to create a Critical Success Factor analysis:
Step One: Establish your business' or project's mission and strategic goals. By defining first the mission the goals and objectives can be narrowed down in order to pinpoint the candidates for CSF. Whereas the mission and goals focus on the aims and what is to be achieved, Critical Success Factors focus on the most important areas and get to the very heart of both what is to be achieved and how you will achieve it. So in order to identify areas that need focus a solid aim should be first established. The foundation for writing good CSFs is a good understanding of the environment, the industry and the organization. To do this it requires the use of information that is readily available in the public domain. Industry information can be source from industry associations, news articles, trade associations, prospectuses of competitors, and equity/analysis reports to name some sources. This is helpful in building knowledge of the environment, the industry and competitors. The information mentioned above can easily and largely accessed through the internet. Some sources that helps in gathering information is not necessarily accessible through the internet, are interviews with the buyers or customers and suppliers, industry analysts or experts and independent observers.

Step Two: For each strategic goal, ask yourself "what area of business or project activity is essential to achieve this goal?" The answers to the question are your candidate CSFs. In finding suitable candidates for CSF, here are some tips in what factors should be considered in for selecting essential strategic goals for different types of CSF:

Industry - these factors result from specific industry characteristics. These are the things that the organization must do to remain competitive.
Environmental - these factors result from macro-environmental influences on an organization. Things like the business climate, the economy, competitors, and technological advancements are included in this category.
Strategic - these factors result from the specific competitive strategy chosen by the organization. The way in which the company chooses to position themselves, market themselves, whether they are high volume low cost or low volume high cost producers, etc.
Temporal - these factors result from the organization's internal forces. Specific barriers, challenges, directions, and influences will determine these CSFs.

After having developed a hierarchy of goals and their success factors, further analysis will lead to concrete requirements at the lowest level of detail. A “good” CSF begins with an action verb and clearly and concisely conveys what is important and should attended to. Verbs that characterize actions: attract, perform, expand, monitor, manage, deploy, etc.

Step Three: Evaluate the list of candidate CSFs to find the absolute essential elements for achieving success - these are your Critical Success Factors. Evaluation of the list of candidates is important so that the more important areas or factors are left and be identified as Critical Success Factors.

As you identify and evaluate candidate CSFs, you may uncover some new strategic objectives or more detailed objectives. So you may need to define your mission, objectives and CSFs iteratively.

Step Four: Identify how you will monitor and measure each of the CSFs. It is important to identify ways of monitoring and measuring CSFs so as to prove that the identified CSFs are indeed factors of success to the organization. By identifying these CSFs, these helps ensure that the business or project is well-focused and avoid wasting effort and resources on less important areas.

Step Five: Communicate your CSFs along with the other important elements of your business or project's strategy. By making CSFs unambiguous, and communicating them with everyone involved, this can help keep the business and project on track towards common aims and goals.

Step Six: Keep monitoring and reevaluating your CSFs to ensure you keep moving towards your aims. Indeed, while CSFs are sometimes less tangible than measurable goals, it is useful to identify as specifically as possible how you can measure or monitor each one. This is what I meant about how this approach is iterative. After having the CSFs it is of utmost important to monitor what happens to the organization after the CSFs were established. Whether the objectives were met or not, or there is a need to change or even have new CSFs.
Here are some tips on who to write a good Critical Success Factor:
Ensure a good understanding of the environment, the industry and the company – It is stated that CSF's have five primary sources presented by Rockart and Bullen, namely the Industry, Competitive strategy and industry position, Environmental factors, Temporal factors, and Managerial position. It is important to have a good understanding of the environment, the industry and the company in order to be able to write them well. These factors are modified for companies and individuals and the customization is a result from the uniqueness of the organization.
Build knowledge of competitors in the industry – While this principle is covered in the previous one, it is worth highlighting separately because it is critical to have a good understanding of competitors as well in identifying an organization's CSF's. Knowing where competitors are positioned, what their resources and capabilities are, and what strategies they will pursue can have an impact on an organization's strategy and also resulting CSF's.
Develop CSF's which result in observable differences – A key movement for the development of CSF's was the idea that factors which get measured are more likely to be achieved versus factors which are not measured. Thus, it is important to write CSF's which are observable or possibly measurable in certain respects such that it would be easier to focus on these factors. These don't have to be factors that are measured quantitatively as this would imitate key performance indicators; however, writing CSF's in observable terms would be helpful.
Develop CSF's that have a large impact on an organization's performance – By definition, CSF's are the "most critical" factors for organizations or individuals. However, careful process is exercised in identifying them due to the largely qualitative approach to identification, leaving many possible options for the factors and potentially results in discussions and debate. In order to truly have the impact as envisioned when CSF's were developed, it is important to thus identify the actual CSF's, i.e. the ones which would have the largest impact on an organization's performance.

References:
http://www.rapidbi.com/created/criticalsuccessfactors.html
http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_80.htm
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jaymar melecio

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PostSubject: ass4   Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:47 pm

Identify and discuss the steps for "critical success factors" approach? (At least 1,500 words)

Before anything else let me stretch each detail for this assignment. According to my source Critical Success Factors (CSF’s) are the critical factors or activities required for ensuring the success your business. The term was initially used in the world of data analysis, and business analysis. The key to using CSFs effectively is to ensure that your definition of a factor of your organizations activity which is central to its future will always apply. But what is the importance why do Critical success factor exist?

Importance of CSF’s:
CSF's is important as it allows firms to focus their efforts on building their capabilities to meet the CSF's, or even allow firms to decide if they have the capability to build the requirements necessary to meet Critical Success Factors (CSF's).

Below are the factors that we must consider meeting the CSF:
• Money: positive cash flow, revenue growth, and profit margins.
• Your future: Acquiring new customers and/or distributors.
• Customer satisfaction: How happy are they?
• Quality:How good is your product and service?
• Product or service development: What's new that will increase business with existing customers and attract new ones?
• Intellectual capital: Increasing what you know is profitable.
• Strategic relationships: New sources of business, products and outside revenue.
• Employee attraction and retention: Your ability to do extend your reach.
• Sustainability: Your personal ability to keep it all going.

Steps Critical success Factor:
1. Not Just Information Technology
When asking most business or technical people what Information Technology (IT) means, very likely one will get an answer that only involves technology. Somehow, the information element gets lost or subjugated. While technology is an important element, and arguably a CSF outright, the CSF more emphasized in research is recognizing that there is more to the solution than a technology component. Some of the first Knowledge Management (KM) efforts have learned this lesson the hard way, and it is now widely published that a KM implementation must involve people and processes. The KM system is a multidisciplinary effort that depends on organizational learning, sharing habits, and changes to culture; in other words, it is not just IT. As quoted by a KM consultancy firm in New York City, “The biggest misconception that IT leaders make is that knowledge management is about technology”2
2. Culture
In some sources it is reported that having a healthy corporate culture that is conducive to knowledge sharing is perhaps the most important success factor. Unfortunately, changing culture is also one of the single-most difficult things to do. This dangerous mix helps explain why most KM efforts fail. There are many barriers to why staff are reluctant to share. These include lack of trust, lack of perceived value, or simple knowledge hoarding. Even without these barriers, there is the inertia of instituting any type of change. Companies must have individuals, teams and the organization as a whole believing that sharing knowledge is a healthy and normal way to do business. Having a compatible culture is not optional: either this KM initiative fits “into their organizational culture, or else they should be prepared to change it.”3 If the culture is not KM friendly, “no amount of technology, knowledge content or good project management will make the effort successful”1. Having the right culture can also work in your favor. If employees really believe that sharing knowledge is essential to the organization, they will use every available process or technology to share and learn.
3. Building a Foundation
In addition to culture, there are other important ingredients that go into the foundation, or infrastructure, for KM. This foundation consists of the establishment of roles and teams that will help build a learning environment. Management should develop effective policies, procedures and guidelines for the organization. This structure, commonly called governance, cannot be understated in importance. Without this, the garden of knowledge can become starved, turn into a jungle, or become overrun with weeds. Some organizations even form a new executive-level role in that of a Chief Knowledge Officer, or CKO, to formalize this in the organization.
4. Motivating Staff
While motivational incentives alone do not guarantee success, they are still critical to becoming a learning organization. Rewarding employees helps reinforce positive behavior and is one element in changing an organization’s sharing culture. Recommendations include moving away from individual performance incentives and towards group- or team-based compensation. The goal is to create a sense of shared work and purpose which stimulates collaboration and fosters teamwork. These should be tied into job or project performance reviews as well as annual evaluations. The approach should, in general, be long term and be visible across the organization. Keep in mind that not all incentives need to be—or should be—financial in nature. Recognition, expectation, as well as peer pressure can all act as motivational carrots.
5. Training
Training is also a critical success factor in the deployment of a KM system. In fact, in one study employee training had the strongest correlation with a successful KM implementation4. Training ensures employees understand a new software system and the processes associated with it. While not itemized as a single CSF in this paper, it is clear that user adoption is essential for success, and training is the primary way to prevent refusal or apathy by the staff. This component is not just having everyone sit in a class; often times, it is just getting the word out to the organization. The message can be through seminars, bulletins, announcements or just evangelism to get employees and managers familiar with what KM is.
6. Making Resources Available
While the goal of KM is to make organizations smarter and more efficient, this will not happen overnight. KM is an investment in the future of the organization, and it takes time, money and effort to get there. Time is needed for training, process re-engineering, occupying new KM roles, and performing knowledge-sharing activities. Money may be needed to purchase new hardware, software and services for a new KM system. Effort is needed in changing culture and convincing staff of the merits of sharing knowledge. Human resource availability is already a common problem with staff already feeling over burdened with tasks. Nothing positive comes from a KM effort that is just dropped into the organization with the belief that staff will either make or find the time. As a result, planning the scope and iterations of a KM effort with realistic timelines and outputs is essential for success.
7. Executive Support
While there is always the hope that a grass-roots effort will instill KM within an organization, executive support is still necessary. If knowledge is of such strategic importance to the organization, executive and board support is crucial. Beyond a passive leadership role, executives must be KM champions in both actions and words. They establish a clear vision for KM and also ensure alignment between KM strategy and corporate strategy exists. They amplify the importance of knowledge and clarify which types of knowledge are most important. They help ensure the culture changes take effect as well as play a pivotal role in the creation of a solid foundation. Executive sponsors make resources and other funding available to the KM cause. In short, they make it clear that the organization is focused on KM and steer the organization in that direction.

http://www.rapidbi.com/created/criticalsuccessfactors.html#WhatareCSFs
http://sharepointmagazine.net/news/critical-success-factors-when-building-a-knowledge-management-system
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_success_factor
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Hannah Rhea Hernandez

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: before December 19, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Thu Dec 18, 2008 7:32 pm


In today’s environment, with sudden changes in the business climate, competitors growing just about everywhere and changes in the market, business risks are greater than ever. An enterprise must create a certain distinction or a kind of individuality against other companies so as to gain the advantage and obtain more followers or customers than their competitors.

Some experts consider knowledge to be perhaps the only sustainable competitive advantage. With knowledge come better decisions, more efficient teams, and a commitment to learning. In some sources it is reported that having a healthy corporate culture that is conducive to knowledge sharing is perhaps the most important success factor. Unfortunately, changing culture is also one of the single-most difficult things to do. There are many barriers to why staff are reluctant to share. These include lack of trust, lack of perceived value, or simple knowledge hoarding. Even without these barriers, there is the inertia of instituting any type of change. Companies must have individuals, teams and the organization as a whole believing that sharing knowledge is a healthy and normal way to do business. However, the high risk of failure is well documented which compels us to study why and then define critical success factors that are found within successful implementations.

But is knowledge the only edge one can have? What are these values and critical factors that will ensure success over other organizations especially with all the chaos in the foreign countries, banks and in the stock market itself, all of which are able to pull down a company aside from the company’s competitors?
Why don’t we start the formalities by defining what success is? Success is subject to individual interpretation based on upbringing, past experiences, role models, personal motivations and goals. Accomplishment of a goal (whether is be a long term or short term goal) or dream and the satisfaction one get through this is what success is about. What is Critical Success Factor then? Wikipedia defines Critical Success Factor to be business term for an element which is necessary for an organization or project to achieve its mission. They are the critical factors or activities required for ensuring the success your business. The term was initially used in the world of data analysis, and business analysis. Critical success factors may change over time, and may include items such as product quality, employee attitudes, manufacturing flexibility, and brand awareness. Critical success factors are elements that are vital for a strategy to be successful.

Critical Success Factors are tailored to a firm's or managers particular situation as different lead to different critical success factors. There are five key sources of Critical Success Factors’ namely: the industry, competitive strategy and industry position, environmental factors, temporal factors, and managerial position. Industry is the factor resulted from specific industry characteristics. These are the things that the organization must do to remain competitive. Environmental factors resulted from macro environmental influences on an organization. Things like the business climate, the economy, competitors, and technological advancements are included in this category.

Competitive Strategy results from the specific competitive strategy chosen by the organization. The way in which the company chooses to position themselves, market themselves, whether they are high volume low cost or low volume high cost producers. While temporal factors result from the organization's internal forces. A “good” CSF begins with an action verb and clearly and concisely conveys what is important and should attended to. Verbs that characterize actions: attract, perform, expand, monitor, manage, deploy, etc. After having developed a hierarchy of goals and their success factors, further analysis will lead to concrete requirements at the lowest level of detail. Some CSFs might influence other CSFs or factors such as markets, technologies, etc.
Such CSFs could be rephrased into “key influence factors” For example: “physical size” or “trained staff”.


When asking most business or technical people what Information Technology (IT) means, very likely one will get an answer that only involves technology. Somehow, the information element gets lost or subjugated. While technology is an important element, and arguably a CSF outright, the CSF more emphasized in research is recognizing that there is more to the solution than a technology component. Some of the efforts have learned this lesson the hard way, and it is now widely published that an implementation must involve people and processes. Specific barriers, challenges, directions, and influences will determine these Critical Success Factors.
The following are the steps to achieve Critical Success.

Step One: Establish your businesses or project's mission and strategic goals.
Ask yourself “What matters?” or “What do I want?” remember that nothing is impossible once one is set to the challenge. One should put one’s goals not only into thoughts but also in writing so as to have something tangible to hold on to at the time. Creating goals such as “To be an IT professional” isn’t enough, and it isn’t even right. One should be saying that I will be an IT professional, major in programming and working at Google after 3 years. One should be specific in every goal to avoid confusion and set a straight and certain path.


Step Two: For each strategic goal, ask yourself "what area of business or project activity is essential to achieve this goal?" Find the essence or reason to continue this train of thoughts. Do such actions necessary or not? Polish your goals.

Step Three: Identify essential elements and data.
Evaluate the list of candidate CSFs to find the absolute essential elements for achieving success - these are your Criticial Success Factors.
Identify resources, assistance, information or anything else that might be needed to reach the goal. As you identify and evaluate candidate CSFs, you may uncover some new strategic objectives or more detailed objectives. So you may need to define your mission, objectives and CSFs iteratively. Deriving other data or information about the subject of your project or goal is also important.

Step Fourth: Analyzing Data
Extracting data from interviews, papers, reviews and data collected on observation is a must. A document review is a very effective means for obtaining an understanding of the focus and direction of an organization or operational unit. Most organizations document their purpose, vision, and values in a mission statement that is known to all employees. The most important data collection activity is conducting interviews with participants. In this activity, the participants have an opportunity to talk about their management challenges and their contributions to the organization and/or the operational unit’s successes and failures. The interactive nature of the interview process provides opportunities for clarification and for guiding the interview in areas that might expose particular barriers and obstacles to accomplishing the mission.

Step Five: Identify Obstacles and Create Solutions or Preventive Measures
List the obstacles one could face or expect on such goals or actions. Seeing or predicting the consequences of doing certain actions and devising solutions (cure or preventive measures) before facing the actual obstacles can save money, time and effort. Taking each obstacle one at a time, write one or more ways the obstacle could be overcome. These are tasks that will comprise your to-do list. Expect to have several tasks per obstacle. Don’t get discouraged by the obstacles– they’re absolutely necessary to help you with the next step in completing your plan. :

Step Six: Assign Deadlines or Timelines
Assign a start and completion date to each task in the plan. It’s ok to be working on several different tasks at the same time, but don’t over do it. Setting time lines can help to monitor progress or inefficiency of the actions taken. Try to stick to the deadline. Be realistic.


Step Seven: Follow the Plan
Stick with what you have proposed unless changes are really inevitable. Trying to have an adaptive perspective might be unnecessary and time consuming. Focus on the plan.

Step Eight: Identify how you will monitor and measure each of the Critical Success Factors.
Identify ways, or devise strategies and plans on how to monitor progress and efficiency before and during the implementation or execution of the goals.

Step Nine: Communicate your Critical Success Factors along with the other important elements of your business or project's strategy.

Step Ten: Keep monitoring and reevaluating your Critical Success Factors to ensure you keep moving towards your aims. Indeed, whilst Critical Success Factors are sometimes less tangible than measurable goals, it is useful to identify as specifically as possible how you can measure or monitor each one.

A critical success factor start with a vision:
• Mission statement
• Develop 5-6 high level goals
• Develop hierarchy of goals and their success factors
• Lists of requirements, problems, and assumptions
• Leads to concrete requirements at the lowest level of decomposition (a single, implementable idea) Along the way, identify the problems being solved and the assumptions being made Cross-reference usage scenarios and problems with requirements
• Analysis matrices
• Problems vs. Requirements matrix
• Usage scenarios vs. Requirements matrix
• Solid usage scenarios
• Relationship to Usage Scenarios
• Usage scenarios or "use cases"; provide a means of determining:
o Are the requirements aligned and self-consistent?
o Are the needs of the user being met as well as those of the enterprise?
o Are the requirements complete
• Results of the Analysis

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PostSubject: Critical success factors   Thu Dec 18, 2008 7:57 pm

Critical success factors is somehow defines the identifying the things that matters for the success, not only with one individual, but as a whole as well. We have discussed this factor just this morning. The reporters tackle about what are critical success factors. So what are critical success factors? According to the wikipedia.com, critical success factor or CSF is a business term for an element which is necessary for an organization or project to achieve its mission. They are the critical factors or activities required for ensuring the success your business. The term was initially used in the world of data analysis, and business analysis. For example, a CSF for a successful (IT) Information Technology project is user involvement. Critical Success Factors have been used significantly to present or identify a few key factors that organizations should focus on to be successful. As a definition, critical success factors refer to "the limited number of areas in which satisfactory results will ensure successful competitive performance for the individual, department, or organization”. That was from the source of Rapidbi.com. How are critical success factors important to one’s business? Identifying CSF's is important as it allows firms to focus their efforts on building their capabilities to meet the CSF's, or even allow firms to decide if they have the capability to build the requirements necessary to meet Critical Success Factors (CSF's). There are four basic types of CSF's. They are: Industry CSF's resulting from specific industry characteristics; Strategy CSF's resulting from the chosen competitive strategy of the business; Environmental CSF's resulting from economic or technological changes; and Temporal CSF's resulting from internal organizational needs and changes. Things that are measured get done more often than things that are not measured. Each CSF should be measurable and associated with a target goal. You don't need exact measures to manage. Primary measures that should be listed include critical success levels (such as number of transactions per month) or, in cases where specific measurements are more difficult, general goals should be specified (such as moving up in an industry customer service survey). In other definition, CSF is an element of organizational activity which is central to its future success. Critical success factors may change over time, and may include items such as product quality, employee attitudes, manufacturing flexibility, and brand awareness. It is also an aspect of a business that is identified as vital for successful targets to be reached and maintained. Critical success factors are normally identified in such areas as production processes, employee and organization skills, functions, techniques, and technologies. The identification and strengthening of such factors may be similar. It is also a business term for an element which is necessary for an organization or project to achieve its mission. For example, a CSF for a successful Information Technology (IT) project is user involvement.

There are main aspects OF Critical Success Factors. CSF's are tailored to a firm's or manager's particular situation as different situations (e.g. industry, division, individual) lead to different critical success factors. Rockart and Bullen presented five key sources of CSF's: The industry, Competitive strategy and industry position, Environmental factors,Temporal factors, and Managerial position (if considered from an individual's point of view). Each of these factors is explained in greater detail below.

In an attempt to write good CSF's, a number of principles could help to guide writers. These principles are: Ensure a good understanding of the environment, the industry and the company – It has been shown that CSF's have five primary sources, and it is important to have a good understanding of the environment, the industry and the company in order to be able to write them well. These factors are customized for companies and individuals and the customization results from the uniqueness of the organization. Build knowledge of competitors in the industry – While this principle can be encompassed in the previous one, it is worth highlighting separately as it is critical to have a good understanding of competitors as well in identifying an organization's CSF's Knowing where competitors are positioned, what their resources and capabilities are, and what strategies they will pursue can have an impact on an organization's strategy and also resulting CSF's. Develop CSF's which result in observable differences – A key impetus for the development of CSF's was the notion that factors which get measured are more likely to be achieved versus factors which are not measured. Thus, it is important to write CSF's which are observable or possibly measurable in certain respects such that it would be easier to focus on these factors. These don't have to be factors that are measured quantitatively as this would mimic key performance indicators; however, writing CSF's in observable terms would be helpful. Develop CSF's that have a large impact on an organization's performance – By definition, CSF's are the "most critical" factors for organizations or individuals. However, due care should be exercised in identifying them due to the largely qualitative approach to identification, leaving many possible options for the factors and potentially results in discussions and debate. In order to truly have the impact as envisioned when CSF's were developed, it is important to thus identify the actual CSF's, i.e. the ones which would have the largest impact on an organization's (or individual's) performance. For the organization following the CSF method, the foundation for writing good CSF's is a good understanding of the environment, the industry and the organization In order to do so, this requires the use of information that is readily available in the public domain. Externally, industry information can be sourced from industry associations, news articles, trade associations, prospectuses of competitors, and equity/analyst reports to name some sources. These would all be helpful in building knowledge of the environment, the industry and competitors. Internally, there should be enough sources available to management from which to build on their knowledge of the organization. In most cases, these won't even have to be anything published as managers are expected to have a good understanding of their organization Together, the external and internal information already provides the basis from which discussion on CSF's could begin.

Here are the summary steps that, used iteratively, will help you identify the CSFs for your business or project:

Step One: Establish your business's or project's mission and strategic goals.
Step Two: For each strategic goal, ask yourself "what area of business or project activity is essential to achieve this goal?" The answers to the question are your candidate CSFs.
Step Three: Evaluate the list of candidate CSFs to find the absolute essential elements for achieving success - these are your Criticial Success Factors.
As you identify and evaluate candidate CSFs, you may uncover some new strategic objectives or more detailed objectives. So you may need to define your mission, objectives and CSFs iteratively.
Step Four: Identify how you will monitor and measure each of the CSFs.
Step Five: Communicate your CSFs along with the other important elements of your business or project's strategy.
Step Six: Keep monitoring and reevaluating your CSFs to ensure you keep moving towards your aims. Indeed, whilst CSFs are sometimes less tangible than measurable goals, it is useful to identify as specifically as possible how you can measure or monitor each one.Key Points
Critical Success Factors are the areas of your business or project that are absolutely essential to it success. By identifying and communicating these CSFs, you can help ensure your business or project is well-focused and avoid wasting effort and resources on less important areas. By making CSFs explicit, and communicating them with everyone involved, you can help keep the business and project on track towards common aims and goals.

This is one also of the Critical Success Factor Method. Start with a vision: Mission statement, Develop 5-6 high level goals, Develop hierarchy of goals and their success factors, Lists of requirements, problems and assumptions , Leads to concrete requirements at the lowest level of decomposition (a single, implementable idea) Along the way, identify the problems being solved and the assumptions being made Cross-reference usage scenarios and problems with requirements, Analysis matrices, Problems vs. Requirements matrix, Usage scenarios vs. Requirements matrix, Solid usage scenarios, Relationship to Usage Scenarios, Usage scenarios or "use cases"; provide a means of determining: Are the requirements aligned and self-consistent?, Are the needs of the user being met as well as those of the enterprise?, Are the requirements complete, Results of the Analysis.

An article from the internet introduces a strategy planning and strategic control process which is tightly integrated with the firm's information system. The approach is designed to aid directors and senior managers in executing and monitoring their strategies. On the basis of this research, the author provides a detailed description of this method for developing, monitoring and integrating critical information into effective strategic management decision support. This design method incorporates nine steps: (1) Provide structure for design process; (2) Determine general forces influencing strategy; (3) Develop a strategic plan or review/modify the current plan; (4) Identify a selected number of critical success factors (CSFs); (5) Determine who is responsible for which critical areas; (6) Select the strategic performance indicators (SPIs); (7) Develop and integrate appropriate reporting procedures; (Cool Implement and initiate system use by the senior personnel; (9) Establish evaluating process and procedures. Through appropriate introduction, this approach can create an integrated strategic context within which top management and key personnel can execute the strategy and maintain a competitive advantage for their firm.


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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: before December 19, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:03 am

Identify and discuss the steps for "critical success factors" approach? (at least 1,500 words)

Critical success factor define (Rockhart 1979) as the limited number of areas in which results, if they are satisfactory, will ensure successful competitive performance for the organization. They are the few key areas where things must go right for the business to flourish. If results in these areas are not adequate, the organization’s efforts for the period will be less than desired. And also define as the areas of activity that should receive constant and careful attention from management. But before I state the steps in critical success factor let us know first what the history of Critical Success Factor is.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, organizations found themselves in the middle of an information revolution. The growth of information systems in organizations resulted in the production of significant amounts of information for analysis and decision making. The advent of the personal computer and the evolution of the field of information “systems” to information “technology” were indicators that the information explosion would continue. John F. Rockhart, of MIT’s Sloan School of Management, recognized the challenge that the onslaught of information presented to senior executives. In spite of the availability of more information, research showed that senior executives still lacked the information essential to make the kinds of decisions necessary to manage the enterprise [Dobbins 98]. As a result, Rockhart’s team concentrated on developing an approach to help executives clearly identify and define their information needs. Rockhart’s team expanded on the work of Daniel to develop the CSF approach. Daniel suggested that, to be effective in avoiding information overload, an organization’s information systems must focus on factors that determine organizational success (Rockhart 79). For example, in the automotive industry, Rockhart suggested that styling, an efficient dealer organization, and tight control of manufacturing costs are important success factors (Rockhart 79). Using success factors as a filter, management could then identify the information that was most important to making critical enterprise decisions. Accordingly, the underlying premise is that decisions made in this manner should be more effective because they are based on data that is specifically linked to the organization’s success factors. In 1981, Rockhart codified an approach that embodied the principles of success factors as a way to systematically identify the information needs of executives. This work, presented in “A Primer on Critical Success Factors,” detailed the steps necessary to collect and analyze data for the creation of a set of organizational CSFs (Rockhart 81). This document is widely considered to be the earliest description of the CSF approach. Our interpretation and application of Rockhart’s approach, as documented in this report, is largely based on this description. Most of the work in success factors performed by Rockhart and Daniel was focused on refining the information needs of executives. However, as a logical outgrowth of this work, Rockhart hinted at the usefulness of the method as a component of strategic planning for information systems or technology (Rockhart 81). The CSF method has found its way into many formalized information or business systems and technology planning methodologies that are still being used today. The CSF method and the analysis of CSFs have been used in many ways outside of the information technology planning arena. In their research on the use of CSFs in federal government program management, James Dobbins and Richard Donnelly (Dobbins 98 ) identify uses of CSFs to

• identify the key concerns of senior management

• assist in the development of strategic plans

• identify key focus areas in each stage of a project life cycle and the major causes of project failure

• evaluate the reliability of an information system

• identify business threats and opportunities

• measure the productivity of people

While this is not an exhaustive list of the ways in which Rockhart’s original work has been applied, it suggests the broad applicability of the method. It speaks to the use of CSFs as a way for organizations to focus and validate many of the important activities they perform to accomplish their missions.

Here are the steps for critical success factors approach

Critical Success Factor Step 1: Identify your critical success factors

In the first step of Critical Stress Factor which is the Identifying your critical success factor this all about identifying special set of critical success factor. In identifying the critical success factor it must be specific. After you identify the critical success factor you think how would that impact to your business?
These are the example list to describe the critical influences on your business' success according to Critical Success Factor: Jump Start.
• Distribution - this could be direct sales, telesales, third- party sales, etc.
• Lead generation
• Customer satisfaction
• Referrals
• Research
• Product development
• Production, including quality, costing, run-rates, etc.
• Sufficient investment capital, sufficient working capital
• Customer support / technical support
• Quality assurance
• Sales process / sales life cycle
• Market research
• Customer education
• Sales compensation
• Recruiting
• Personnel retention programs
• Expense management
• Intellectual capital development
• Training
• Marketing communications
• Logistics
• Employee equity
• Executive leadership
• Training and development
• Corporate goals / strategic objectives
• Values and beliefs
• Mission/purpose
• Individual accountability
• Productivity & effectiveness metrics
• Internal communications
• Strategic and tactical planning
• Executive team
• Board of directors/advisors
Critical Success Factor Step 2: Establishing the measurements
The second step is all about establishing the measurement. Measures are quantitative and qualitative. In business the best example is the sales. Which you can measure the sales and the revenue of your business.
Critical Success Factor Step 3: Setting the baseline
The next step is all about setting a baseline. A baseline is like a setting a range in which what you want to achieve in your performance. Like in business if you aim a certain amount of sale, so you range it in what should it be? Like the rate in the teacher
Critical Success Factor Step 4: Set new goals
Creating a "gap" between where you are - your baseline - and your target for that factor. You already have a sales plan, so your gap exists between your current revenue and your budgeted revenue. You may consider your baseline a 5, and your target an 8. Implicit in this 1- 10 scale are judgments about your intentions: will reaching your budgeted revenue put you at 8 (almost great) or 10 (outstanding)? Where do you want to peg your efforts? If you've assessed your employee training at a 4 (mediocre), are you shooting for a 7 (good) or a 9 (great)? You can see from this how your measurement structure and goal system will impact how you allocate your company's resources and energy.
Critical Success Factor Step 5: Closing the gap
The fifth step is all about Closing Gap. Each gap becomes the focus of a reflection which asks the question: What will close the gap between our current level of this factor and our desired level? What possible actions will raise that measurement? You may have intuitive responses to these questions, and when appropriate, trust your gut. If need be, back that gut response with research - but only when cost effective. Use any idea generation process you are comfortable with. Develop several possible initiatives to raise the level of that factor. With luck your ideas will work together and harmonize in terms of impact or implementation requirements. If you create competing ideas, select the best alternatives. Choose based on return on investment, required resources, scheduling conflicts, time to impact, total cost, and likelihood of success versus risk of failure. Depending on the specific factor, and the size of the gap, you can plan to close it in stages. You can launch one initiative at a time or execute several initiatives in parallel. Once you launch your gap-closing initiatives, continually measure your results. And report your progress to contributor and stakeholders, and post it in public.
Critical Success Factor Step 6: The Ben Franklin Rotation Program
The sixth step is all about “The Ben Franklin Rotation Program”. Ben Franklin recognized thirteen virtues. These virtues is all about in his life he formulate a "Plan for Self Examination". This Plan of Self Examination is a program where he focused his attention, in one virtue at a time, for one week at a time, and revolving through the entire list four times a year. He keeps a thorough log of the actions which he takes to develop the virtues of him, including with his personal results. Using Franklin's principles, at the beginning of each week, focus your mind - or collective mind of your management team - on improving that week's factor. What new actions can you take, what new attitudes can you adopt, what new or renewed approaches are available - which will enhance your performance in that one specific area? Do that "thing" wholeheartedly for the entire week. Franklin also shows us how to track your progress in this venture. Create a score sheet detailing your Critical Success Factors. This sheet should detail each factor, its measurements, your current 1-10 rating and your target rating, along with your next action steps for improving that rating. Each factor also gets a weight, which enables you to develop an overall score. Each week, re-rate all the factors on the score sheet, and graph your progress. You may also graph the overall score. Publish the score sheet and the graphs. You can establish a reward system based on individual progress, or, using the factor weights, you can develop a bonus structure which incentives total progress. This simple system will focus your attention on improving each one of your critical success factors. With carefully selected factors, you insure both rapid performance increases and balance in your company.

These steps are just a guide in order for the business to succeed. But by these steps we can foresee the success of the business.


Reference:

Dobbins, J (2002). Critical Success Factor (CSF) Analysis for DoD Risk Management, Retrieved from http://www.dau.mil/pubs/pm/pmpdf02/dob-mj2.pdf

Critical Success Factor: Jump Start, (2005)“Business Coaching experts use your company's Critical Success Factors to propel the business towards your strategic goals.” Retrieved from http://www.quantumgrowthcoaching.com/critical_success_factors.html


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PostSubject: Assignment 4   Sat Dec 20, 2008 2:19 pm

Critical Success Factor (CSF) is a business term for an element which is necessary for an organization or project to achieve its mission. They are the critical factors or activities required for ensuring the success your business. CSFs are the essential areas of activity that must be performed well if you are to achieve the mission, objectives or goals for your business or project. These are elements that are vital for a strategy to be successful.

By identifying your Critical Success Factors, you can create a common point of reference to help you direct and measure the success of your business or project. As a common point of reference, CSFs help everyone in the team to know exactly what's most important. And this helps people perform their own work in the right context and so pull together towards the same overall aims.

The idea of CSFs was first presented by D. Ronald Daniel in the 1960s. It was then built on and popularized a decade later by John F. Rockart, of MIT's Sloan School of Management, and has since been used extensively to help businesses implement their strategies and projects.

Critical Success Factors are strongly related to the mission and strategic goals of your business or project. Whereas the mission and goals focus on the aims and what is to be achieved, Critical Success Factors focus on the most important areas and get to the very heart of both what is to be achieved and how you will achieve it.

In reality, identifying your CSFs is a very iterative process. Your mission, strategic goals and CSFs are intrinsically linked and each will be refined as you develop them.

Critical Success Factors are the areas of your business or project that are absolutely essential to it success. By identifying and communicating these CSFs, you can help ensure your business or project is well-focused and avoid wasting effort and resources on less important areas. By making CSFs explicit, and communicating them with everyone involved, you can help keep the business and project on track towards common aims and goals.

Critical Success Factors (CSF’s) are the critical factors or activities required for ensuring the success your business. The term was initially used in the world of data analysis, and business analysis.
These are seven critical success factors based on Mike Gospe that successful businesses, both large and small have embraced. They will not only help ensure your business' survival but will also accelerate your competitive advantage.

Be realistic about your business objectives.

Every company needs a clear vision and a mission statement, but specifying ambitious goals without support will lead to agitation in the board room, frustration for the sales team, and a detrimental cash burn rate. Those companies that were the most successful shared a common trait of setting clear business goals that included credible and complete information for their staff to execute them.

Success Factor #1: Identify stretch goals with reasonable milestones and timelines that can be matched with current investment and spending plans.

Understand your unique value proposition.

Successful companies know that it takes more than technical leadership to create a sustainable business. There must be value for the customer that exceeds the value currently being offered by other solutions. A value proposition starts with careful focus on a single target.

Success Factor #2: Based on customer and/or prospect feedback, frame a value proposition that identifies the target customer and what you do for them better than anybody else.

Take a hard look at your competition.

Some entrepreneurs are focused so intently on their product that they fail to recognize evolving market trends or anticipate competitive advancements in markets that may overshadow their own value proposition. With product lifecycles shortening, it is critical that companies accurately judge the competitive landscape in order to take full advantage of their market window.

Success Factor #3: Research the competitive landscape and categorize your competitors, noting their strengths and weaknesses. Then compare your company against this landscape. This exercise helps identify points of differentiation that can be communicated in sales and marketing programs.


A marketing foundation is absolutely necessary for your success.

It is common for entrepreneurs to incorrectly believe that marketing is not important at the early stage of a company's development. Many view marketing as something to be done later when they are ready to build a brand. However, the successful companies we studied spent time and resources to carefully craft their unique value proposition and build a foundation of sales tools before the product launched.

Success Factor #4: Invest early in marketing to clarify and articulate your value proposition, key messages, and defendable points of differentiation. Integrate this market strategy into your product development plans, and later, your sales organization.

For best results, marketing and sales should work hand-in-glove.

A common goal expressed by one VP of marketing is that at the end of each day, marketing and sales must be able to conclude that their combined efforts accelerated sales in some way. The most successful businesses we've worked with embraced this philosophy.

Success Factor #5: Regardless of organizational structure, build a sales and marketing team with common objectives, milestones, and measures.

Plan for the future.

In planning for the future, we were interested to find that successful companies tended to juggle these three management dimensions: managing their cash burn rate, looking for "learning" in every corner of the organization, and embracing creative hiring practices

Success Factor #6: Be fiscally prudent, but willing to consider targeted investments to build a solid business infrastructure quickly.

It's all in the execution and learning.

With a plan in place, effective execution of marketing and sales programs can more easily be achieved. However, not every program will be successful, despite the best-laid plans. The challenge is to learn from the success and failure of these programs and fine-tune them quickly while they are still in progress.

Success Factor #7: Speed and ruthless execution is everything. To maximize your ROI, identify and widely communicate business plans and objectives throughout the organization, and encourage widespread adoption and involvement at every level.

Critical Success Factors have been used significantly to present or identify a few key factors that organizations should focus on to be successful. According to John F. Rockart in the Harvard Business Review: "Critical success factors for any business are the limited number of areas in which satisfactory results will ensure successful competitive performance for the individual, department, or organization.”
Therefore, critical success factors represent performance areas that must meet expectations if the organization is to flourish. Measurements are used to track performance in each critical success area. Critical success factors are both internal and external. For example, comparison of budgets to actual would be internal while percent of market share would be external.

One way to identify critical success factors is to go through a strategic planning process. A second or complimentary approach is to conduct competitive intelligence research. Look at the success factors of your competition. Collectively, you will need to develop a set of critical success factors which serves as the foundation for your performance measurement system. Consequently, critical success factors are an important link between strategic plans and performance measurement systems.

Each CSF should be measurable and associated with a target goal. You don't need exact measures to manage. Primary measures that should be listed include critical success levels or, in cases where specific measurements are more difficult, general goals should be specified.

A plan should be implemented that considers a platform for growth and profits as well as takes into consideration the following critical success factors:
• Money: positive cash flow, revenue growth, and profit margins.
• Your future: Acquiring new customers and/or distributors.
• Customer satisfaction: How happy are they?
• Quality: How good is your product and service?
• Product or service development: What's new that will increase business with existing customers and attract new ones?
• Intellectual capital: Increasing what you know is profitable.
• Strategic relationships: New sources of business, products and outside revenue.
• Employee attraction and retention: Your ability to do extend your reach.
• Sustainability: Your personal ability to keep it all going.

Critical Success Factor is an element of organizational activity which is central to its future success. Critical success factors may change over time, and may include items such as product quality, employee attitudes, manufacturing flexibility, and brand awareness. And it is also any of the aspects of a business that are identified as vital for successful targets to be reached and maintained. Critical success factors are normally identified in such areas as production processes, employee and organization skills, functions, techniques, and technologies.

CSF's are tailored to a firm's or a manager’s particular situation as different situations lead to different critical success factors. Rockart and Bullen presented five key sources of CSF's:
1. The industry - There are some CSF's common to all companies operating within the same industry. These factors result from specific industry characteristics. These are the things that the organization must do to remain competitive.
2. Competitive strategy and industry position - The nature of position in the marketplace or the adopted strategy to gain market share gives rise to CSF's Differing strategies and positions have different CSF's. These factors result from the specific competitive strategy chosen by the organization. The way in which the company chooses to position themselves, market themselves, whether they are high volume low cost or low volume high cost producers, etc.
3. Environmental factors - Economic, regulatory, political, and demographic changes create CSF's for an organization. These factors result from macro-environmental influences on an organization. Things like the business climate, the economy, competitors, and technological advancements are included in this category.
4. Temporal factors -These relate to short-term situations, often crises. These CSF's may be important, but are usually short-lived. These factors result from the organization's internal forces. Specific barriers, challenges, directions, and influences will determine these CSFs; and
5. Managerial position - An individual role may generate CSF's as performance in a specific manager's area of responsibility may be deemed critical to the success of an organization

There are, in fact many various applications of the critical success factors (CSFs). It may not refer to an organization’s operation and performance but it can also be relevant to an individual’s success of performance.

By definition, CSF's are the "most critical" factors for organizations or individuals. However, due care should be exercised in identifying them due to the largely qualitative approach to identification, leaving many possible options for the factors and potentially results in discussions and debate. In order to truly have the impact as envisioned when CSF's were developed, it is important to thus identify the actual CSF's, the ones which would have the largest impact on an organization's or an individual's performance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_success_factor
http://www.kickstartall.com/documents/KS_Articles/CriticalSuccessFactors.htm
http://steps-to-success.com/Critical_success_factor.html
http://www.rapidbi.com/created/criticalsuccessfactors.html
http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_80.htm



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PostSubject: Assignment 4   Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:31 pm

To begin, when I first heard these words – critical success factor (CSF), I had these questions in mind – What is CSF? Is that for what? How does it work? But that was long time ago. Now that I was asked to identify the steps for CSFs approach, let us first answer those questions.

Critical success factors (CSFs) according to Deborah Muckle are the things that must go right for a business to succeed. And stated in Wikipedia, CSF is a business term for an element which is necessary for an organization or project to achieve its mission. They are the critical factors or activities required for ensuring the success of your business. The term was initially used in the world of data analysis, and business analysis.

Rockart defined CSFs as:
"The limited number of areas in which results, if they are satisfactory, will ensure successful competitive performance for the organization. They are the few key areas where things must go right for the business to flourish. If results in these areas are not adequate, the organization's efforts for the period will be less than desired."

He also concluded that CSFs are "areas of activity that should receive constant and careful attention from management."

Talking about critical success factor, last December 15, 2008, when we had our class in management information system 2 (MIS 2), one of the reported topics was about CSF and we were asked to identify the CSFs of our department which is the Institute of Computing (IC) but I was not able to answer not because I had no idea, but I just could not raise my hand (joke!).

So now that we have those definitions from the different sources, let us now proceed to its significance. After reading quite a few articles, from what I have understood, it is really important to identify the critical success factors of an organization or a project to have focused on things that must be observed all the way through and as what have stated in Wikipedia, key success factors generally include exceptional management. Therefore, identifying CSFs and managing it in an exceptional manner will lead the organization or a project to success.

What are these factors? Here are some of the critical success factors that were identified in Wikipedia:

• Money: positive cash flow, revenue growth, and profit margins.
• Your future: Acquiring new customers and/or distributors.
• Customer satisfaction: How happy are they?
• Quality: How good is your product and service?
• Product or service development: What's new that will increase business with existing customers and attract new ones?

Those factors that were stated above have helped me understand more about critical success factors. So, after defining the term, knowing its significance and showing some of the examples, to move on, here are now the steps for CSFs approach that were presented by Deborah Muckle in his presentation in Chapter 11: Information Systems Planning:

First, identify the firm’s primary mission and objectives that define satisfactory overall performance. Every organization has its mission or the reason why it exists which simply means its purpose and its objectives that support to accomplish its mission. Primarily, an organization exists to serve its stakeholders at its best. These stakeholders are the customers, employees, business partners, shareholders, and communities that benefit from the organization’s existence and growth. It is not easy or we can never identify the CSFs of an organization when they don’t even know their purpose of their existence. Why need to identify the CSFs when there is nothing to be accomplished? Think of that. As it has been said, purpose in life transcends self and gives meaning and satisfaction. It is important that the organization should also be specific with their vision, mission and objectives. Of course, there can never be an organization without its vision, mission and goals.

Second, executives identify the CSFs. After identifying the organization’s mission and objectives, and CSFs were also identified, the organization can now focus their efforts on the factors. Let me have an example, if I were to ask myself, why do I exist? What is my purpose here on earth? To achieve that purpose, what are the things that I need to improve or to have? Are my abilities enough?

It has been stated in Mind Tools site,
“By identifying your Critical Success Factors, you can create a common point of reference to help you direct and measure the success of your business or project.

As a common point of reference, CSFs help everyone in the team to know exactly what's most important. And this helps people perform their own work in the right context and so pull together towards the same overall aims.

Critical Success Factors are the areas of your business or project that are absolutely essential to it success. By identifying and communicating these CSFs, you can help ensure your business or project is well-focused and avoids wasting effort and resources on less important areas. By making CSFs explicit, and communicating them with everyone involved, you can help keep the business and project on track towards common aims and goals”

So, after reading the citation, I have now my realization, “Every living thing, no matter how small is in itself, a delight” How was that? You might confuse and wonder how the quote connected to the topic, for what? But then allow me to use it. Many of the organizations have a tendency to generalize their critical success factors that would lead them to a problem. When determining CSFs, it is suggested to be more specific because as what the quote trying to express, small things might be unnoticed without knowing that they are the important things. Just like viruses, they are so small that they cannot be seen through most microscopes however, they are contagious and dangerous. That is why the executives or managers of any organization should have a deep analysis on the organization’s CSFs. They have to consider the business needs when thinking about what really matter for the success. Once we have a list of CSFs, it is time to consider what is absolutely essential and so identify the truly critical success factors.

Next is to identify the pertinent indicators or measures of performance for each CSF; measurements could be either quantitative or qualitative. These pertinent indicators or measures of performance are what we called key performance indicator (KPI). “A critical success factor is not a key performance indicator (KPI). Critical success factors are elements that are vital for a strategy to be successful. KPIs are measures that quantify management objectives and enable the measurement of strategic performance” – stated in Wikipedia.

In order for the organization to determine how much they attain their objectives, KPIs are used. Like for example, if one of the CSFs of the organization is customer satisfaction, then the KPI now is the number of customers that are happy with the product or service. If we are talking about money, it could be the amount of revenue or the cash flows of the organization. Let me have another example, from the factor stated above, acquiring new customers and/or distributors, the number of new customers should be measured.

After the long analysis in identifying critical success factors and identifying the measures of performance for each CSF, lastly, decide which measures are most important than then makes sure that IS plans provide means for collecting and using this information. Organizations find ways or means enabling them to achieve their mission by doing necessary activities. As what I have said earlier, determining factors should be specific; it should be in sufficient detail to provide sufficient information for the plan to begin. The very reason why should develop an IS plan and why need to identify CSFs and that is for the organization to succeed. It has been said that it is not necessarily that all the measures are should be employed; instead, the organization is advised to weigh all the output measures and identify which measures are the most important. But that is not the end at all, after that, the decisions should go in to the IS plan and should be stated there the means using the information.

Let me share with you my observation from the previous assignments up to the present, the word success has been always there. We can always reason out that the organization should do that and do this, should have that and have this for the attainment of its success which is true. Even me as a person, I really wanted to succeed. When we say success, it is really broad and music to our ears. So to achieve success, we must always pay the price. It takes lot of courage and perseverance. For that reason, I could say, we all love success.

And for me to say, organization should identify the critical success factors within and control the factors that enable success and should overcome the factors that would hinder the success of its organization.

Jumping up to the conclusion, when a plan is to be implemented, it should be taken into consideration the critical success factors of the organization. As it was stated, CSFs are the things that must go right for a business to succeed. As I still remember, from the previous assignment I said that in developing information systems plan (ISP), there are several factors that must be considered. Each of which should not be taken for granted and should be well analyzed and planned and part of that are the CSFs.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_success_factor
http://www.science.gmu.edu/~ahughes/MIS411f05Ch11Deborah.ppt
http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_80.htm
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Karren D. Adarna

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PostSubject: assign_4   Mon Dec 22, 2008 3:00 pm

Every organization has a mission that describes why it exists (its purpose) and where it intends to go (its direction). The mission reflects the organization’s unique values and vision. Achieving the mission takes the participation and skill of the entire organization. The goals and objectives of every staff member must be aimed toward the mission. However, achieving goals and objectives is not enough. The organization must perform well in key areas on a consistent basis to achieve the mission.

To start with, let us first identify and be familiar with Critical Success Factor. What is Critical Success Factor? Critical Success Factors are the areas of your business or project that are absolutely essential to its success. By identifying and communicating these Critical Success Factors, you can help ensure that your business or project is well-focused and so you can avoid wasting effort and resources on less important areas. By making Critical Success Factors explicit, and communicating them with everyone involved, you can help keep the business and project on track towards common aims and goals. It is a business term for an element which is necessary for an organization or project to achieve its mission. They are the critical factors or activities required for ensuring the success your business.

Critical Success Factors are the essential areas of activity that must be performed well if you are to achieve the mission, objectives or goals for your business or project. By identifying our Critical Success Factors, we can create a common point of reference to help us direct and measure the success of our business or project. With Critical Success Factors help everyone in the team to know exactly what's most important. The idea of Critical Success Factor was first presented by D. Ronald Daniel in the 1960s. It was then built on and popularized a decade later by John F. Rockart, of MIT's Sloan School of Management, and has since been used extensively to help businesses implement their strategies and projects. Inevitably, the CSF concept has evolved, and you may have seen it implemented in different ways. Rockart defined Critical Success Factors as: "The limited number of areas in which results, if they are satisfactory, will ensure successful competitive performance for the organization. They are the few key areas where things must go right for the business to flourish. If results in these areas are not adequate, the organization's efforts for the period will be less than desired." He also concluded that Critical Success Factors are "areas of activity that should receive constant and careful attention from management."

The first step in order to identify possible Critical Success Factors is to have a mission, vision and objectives in your company. What are your goals? What do you want to happen? What are your objectives? After you have identified these things, then you can start to make out you Critical Success Factors. Identifying Critical Success Factors is a very iterative process. Your mission, vision, strategic goals, objectives and Critical Success Factors are intrinsically linked and each will be refined as you develop them.

Here are the five steps that are used iteratively to help you identify the Critical Success Factors for a business or project:

Step One: Establish your business's or project's mission and strategic goals.


As I mentioned above, before you go and identify your Critical Success Factors, you should first identify your mission, goals and objectives because these will serve as a basis on how will you decide what could be the possible Critical Success Factors that you are going to apply. You cannot just directly make Critical Success Factors in your business if you haven’t decide yet what are your mission, goals and objectives. Identifying your Critical Success Factors in just like identifying your plans or your ways of achieving your goals and objectives and making your mission possible to happen.

Step Two: For each strategic goal, ask yourself "what area of business or project activity is essential to achieve this goal?" The answers to the question are your candidate Critical Success Factors.

This means that as you make and identify you goal, you should identify and specify what area or what is the certain problem that you are going to address. To make sure you consider all types of possible Critical Success Factors, you can use Rockart's Critical Success Factors types as a checklist. The first factor is the industry. These factors result from specific industry characteristics. These are the things that the organization must do to remain competitive. Next is environmental. These factors result from macro-environmental influences on an organization. Things like the business climate, the economy, competitors, and technological advancements are included in this category. Another is strategic factor. These factors result from the specific competitive strategy chosen by the organization. The way in which the company chooses to position themselves, market themselves, whether they are high volume low cost or low volume high cost producers, etc. and the last factor is temporal. These factors result from the organization's internal forces. Specific barriers, challenges, directions, and influences will determine these Critical Success Factors.

Step Three: Evaluate the list of candidate Critical Success Factors to find the absolute essential elements for achieving success - these are your Critical Success Factors.

After you have identified and specify your strategic goals and objectives, then you have to list down the possible Critical Success Factors that could be used to help that goals and objectives be achieved. From the possible lists, you have to choose and limit it to only few numbers, those that are really possible and more likely are to be chosen. . This helps you maintain the impact of your Critical Success Factors, and so give good direction and prioritization to other elements of your business or project strategy. As you identify and evaluate candidate Critical Success Factors, you may uncover some new strategic objectives or more detailed objectives. So you may need to define your mission, objectives and Critical Success Factors iteratively.

Step Four: Identify how you will monitor and measure each of the Critical Success Factors.

You have to make sure that your Critical Success Factors are possible and achievable because you are going to monitor and check if it is still happening every now and then.

Step Five: Keep monitoring and reevaluating your Critical Success Factors to ensure you keep moving towards your aims.

Indeed, whilst Critical Success Factors are sometimes less tangible than measurable goals, it is useful to identify as specifically as possible how you can measure or monitor each one.
Above are just some and maybe the basic steps in identifying the Critical Success Factors. There are still may that are not mentioned. Other factors that we have to consider are money, customer satisfaction, quality, product or service development, intellectual capital, strategic relationships, employee attraction and retention and finally, the sustainability.

Money is about positive cash flow, revenue growth, and profit margins. In Customer satisfaction, we have to know how happy they are with our service. For the quality, how good is our product and service? In product or service development, what's new that will increase business with existing customers and attract new ones? For Intellectual capital, increasing what we know is profitable. Strategic relationships: New sources of business, products and outside revenue. In employee attraction and retention, our ability to do extend our reach. And finally, sustainability, our personal ability to keep it all going.

Critical success factors are very important and as mentioned above, Critical Success Factors are the essential areas of activity that must be performed well if you are to achieve the mission, objectives or goals for your business or project. It must be implemented and done in a business to make its mission, vision, goals and objectives possible to achieve.



sources:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_success_factor
http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_80.htm




















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George Dan Gil Duran

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: before December 19, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:11 pm

Identify and discuss the steps for "critical success factors" approach? (at least 1,500 words)
Well this things is new to me I mean I was wondering what is so critical in success factor…or how and why it is called a critical success factor (CSF)? Well to find the answer well I simply go to the net and find an appropriate answer to my questions. And I found several references that relate to my questions and lets first talk about the history of CSF…and what is CSF?

The idea of recognizing critical success factors as a foundation for defining the information needs of managers was proposed by Daniel (1961) but popularized by Rockart (1979). The idea is very simple: in any organization certain factors will be critical to the success of that organization, in the sense that, if objectives associated with the factors are not achieved, the organization will fail - perhaps catastrophically so. Rockart (1979: 85), by referring to Daniel (1961), gives the following as an example of the CSFs: new product development, good distribution, and effective advertising for the food processing industry - factors that remain relevant today for many firms.

In Some Universities like for example in the article that I’ve read the UK universities applies this case study approach as well as strategic planning and I think it’s a good way to introduce the ways of how to be a successful and in order to form an information audit. The primary purpose was to test the idea that the information intensive areas of an organization could be identified within the value chain by using the CSF technique to indicate the critical areas and, thereby, enable the identification of corporate information needs. Corporate information needs were defined as those needs for information that must be satisfied if the organization is to achieve its strategic aims. The proposition was that those parts of the value chain that were perceived by organizational members to be of critical significance would be the areas in which effort ought to be concentrated so that the information systems could be effective. The case studies were carried out in UK universities by applying a qualitative research strategy simultaneously with the cases testing the SIM methodology in the pharmaceutical and publishing sectors in Finland. Qualitative, open-ended interviews were conducted to identify the critical areas, related information needs and the use of information systems. An understanding of the production, marketing and managerial processes within the Finnish companies and the market conditions within which the companies operated was gained by an examination of relevant documentation. The SIM study relied on theoretical sampling – the cases were chosen for replicating the test to provide examples from very knowledge-based fields of polar types in order to ensure valid findings.

If we follow their way of introducing these kinds of things the student in our Universities can gain more knowledge and higher education because it is proved useful for discovering deeper structures in actors' information-seeking behavior relative to organizational goals. Furthermore, this idea allows looking in more detail at the complexity of organizational information behavior. The value of the Critical Success Factors approach in identifying organizational objectives (whether or not these are well defined in advance) and in relating the information needs of personnel in various positions to those objectives. In this way, organizational information needs emerge that corporate information management systems must support, if the organization is to remain competitive in whatever environment it is found. I propose that the CSF approach should be used as part of a battery of methods in determining the Strategic Information Management needs of the organization and in contributing to the design of systems that aid competitive advantage.

If we are about to introduce this ideas to our beloved university, we have to consider and follow some basic steps to achieve these CSF. What are those steps?

Step 1: identify critical success factors. You have to consider your business needs when thinking about what really matters. There are several more obvious factors such as sales, customers, people, or product development but you have to think beyond that because you might actually be missing other unnoticeable or small but important things. Paul Lemberg listed some other critical success factors that you might want to consider for your own organization. These are: Customer satisfaction, Quality assurance, Expense management, Training, and several more. When determining your critical success factors, be specific. As much as possible, do not generalize your factors because there are still underlying principles that could be of more help to you. By being specific, the scope of your efforts would be smaller and you can concentrate more on the little things. It is suggested to limit your factors to seven so that you can easily keep an eye on them.

Step 2: establishing the measurements. These measurements will evaluate the factors that you have identified. It could either be quantitative or qualitative, as long as you have a basis to measure the factors. For example, if you identified sales as one of your critical success factors, you can measure it by measuring revenue against budget. It does not matter how you measure your factors, as long as you know that the measure you have chosen best reflects your understanding of how they [the factors] affect the performance of your organization. You may find that some factors can be measured by a combination of two or more computations or means of measurement. But, whatever measurement style or technique that you use, it is best if these measurements are understandable and concise about showing the effect of your set of factors to the organization.

Step 3: setting a baseline. It is establishing the measurements, you have to make sure that the scale you will be using will properly reflect and rate the performance of your organization based on the critical success factors that you previously identified. The ratings you give here somehow reflect the present status of your organization and these will be of use in the next step of the CSF approach. This is like setting the lowest score possible for your business.

Step 4: set new goals. When you have recognized the baseline, you have to make a new goal for your organization. This is like setting a goal or target that you want to achieve for a specific factor. Let us say you have a scale of one to ten, one being non-performing and ten being outstanding. Lets just say if you’re last goal is to pick up ninth place…you should have a new goal of tenth place once you achieve the primary goal.

Step 5: close this gap. Since you have set your new gap you should always know how to close it. How do you close the gap between your baseline and target? In this step, you have to identify what will close the gap for this particular factor. This is where you have to get your creative juices working, your mind pumping and your organization moving to reach the target or to raise your level. Use any idea generation process you are comfortable with. Develop several possible initiatives to raise the level of that factor. With luck your ideas will work together and harmonize in terms of impact or implementation requirements. Of course, you have to consider several factors when taking initiatives such as the cost-effectiveness of that approach. There are actually several evaluation methods or techniques that will help you determine if a particular approach is cost-effective and will not overrun the budget. You can either break down your plan for closing the gap or you can go for it at once, it entirely depends on you and your evaluation.

The classification of the references to critical areas for defining the main themes as the CSFs by applying grounded theory is of primary importance when analyzing the executives’ perceptions of the issues most critical for achieving the strategic goals of their organization. The sub-groups of the CSFs should be substantial enough, as the comprehensive sub-groups allow to understand and map the critical, major organizational information needs in a smoothly manner. If the number of the sub-groups is high, in the analysis of the related information needs a very fragmented map will follow. Such a map, as a component of an advisory information audit, will not serve as a solid base to provide recommendations for the design of appropriate, strategic IS for an organization.
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Robert Marvin E. Lee

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PostSubject: Assignment 4   Sat Dec 27, 2008 3:40 am

Identify and discuss the steps for "critical success factors" approach?

To link the previous topic regarding with this question, as you can observe from the past discussion we usually identify steps and factors concerning to aim on success. Thus, they were strategically study and define to find advance in each problem, mostly approaches to solution the dilemma is based and observe on real scenario of the real world. Lately from the previous question we were so great in discussing those factors and strategically made a conclusion after end after we plan every step and move we should take. Now, we look forward for the given question that we are headed right now to identify and discuss the steps for critical success factors approach. Before we start we should identify first what is critical, it can be define as important, vital, decisive, significant, serious, determining, and etc. though we had describe it from the word its self critical mean something important or vital to the success factors. And as we look into another angle it could be approach on how you identify and decomposed those important success factor that would lead closer to vision of the company and aim those missions stated. By that mean we could simply stratify those success factors into sub factor to eliminate easily the problem and identify those weaknesses to have a formulation of solution on it.
By outsourcing some of information and definition regarding about critical success factor it would be a bias if only my meaning of critical success factor would be in this page but I would like to recognize some description about critical success factor which I had used for determining and referring my reflection all about. They define CSF as an element of organizational activity which is central to its future success. Critical success factors may change over time, and may include items such as product quality, employee attitudes, manufacturing flexibility, and brand awareness. Any of the aspects of a business that are identified as vital for successful targets to be reached and maintained. Critical success factors are normally identified in such areas as production processes, employee and organization skills, functions, techniques, and technologies. Critical success factors define key areas of performance that are essential for the organization to accomplish its mission. Managers implicitly know and consider these key areas when they set goals and as they direct operational activities and tasks that are important to achieving goals. However, when these key areas of performance are made explicit, they pro-vide a common point of reference for the entire organization. Thus, any activity or initiative that the organization undertakes must ensure consistently high performance in these key areas; otherwise, the organization may not be able to achieve its goals and consequently may fail to accomplish its mission.

In the article I had read they identify and summary the critical success factor into six steps namely:

Step One: Establish your business's or project's mission and strategic goals

Step Two: For each strategic goal, ask yourself "what area of business or project activity is essential to achieve this goal?"

To make sure you consider all types of possible Critical Success Factors, Rockart and Bullen presented five key sources of Critical Success Factor

The industry - These factors result from specific industry characteristics. These are the things that the organization must do to remain competitive. There are some CSF common to all companies operating within the same industry. Different industries will have unique, industry-specific Critical Success Factors.
Competitive strategy and industry position - These factors result from the specific competitive strategy chosen by the organization. The way in which the company chooses to position themselves, market themselves, whether they are high volume low cost or low volume high cost producers. The nature of position in the marketplace or the adopted strategy to gain market share gives rise to CSF’s Differing strategies and positions have different CSF’s
Environmental factors - These factors result from macro-environmental influences on an organization. Things like the business climate, the economy, competitors, and technological advancements are included in this category. These relate to environmental factors that are not in the control of the organization but which an organization must consider in developing CSF's Examples for these are the industry regulation, political development and economic performance of a country, and population trends.
Temporal Factors - These factors result from the organization's internal forces. Specific barriers, challenges, directions, and influences will determine these CSFs. These relate to short-term situations, often crises. These CSF's may be important, but are usually short-lived. Practically, with the evolution and integration of markets globally, one could argue that temporal factors are not temporal anymore as they could exist regularly in organizations.
Managerial Position - An individual role may generate CSF's as performance in a specific manager's area of responsibility may be deemed critical to the success of an organization. This is important if CSF's are considered from an individual's point of view.

Step Three: Evaluate the list of candidate CSFs to find the absolute essential elements for achieving success - these are your Critical Success Factors.
As you identify and evaluate candidate CSFs, you may uncover some new strategic objectives or more detailed objectives. So you may need to define your mission, objectives and CSFs iteratively.

Step Four: Identify how you will monitor and measure each of the CSFs.

Step Five: Communicate your CSFs along with the other important elements of your business or project's strategy.

Step Six: Keep monitoring and reevaluating your CSFs to ensure you keep moving towards your aims. Indeed, whilst CSFs are sometimes less tangible than measurable goals, it is useful to identify as specifically as possible how you can measure or monitor each one.


Thus, this information I had gathered through my data mining about critical success factor are summarized, though it was quite ambiguous in first place to define what best approaches to identify CSF’s because there are a lot of resources and information about CSF in the internet. But the one I had given in this page identify the most simplest way about critical success factor however there would be much to define about what is critical success factor and there would be lessen if would sum it all but on the other hand CSF identify key areas of activity in which favorable results are absolutely necessary to reach goals. Where areas must be flourishing and aiming for the business success factor that would be critically directed for the success of the organization and it should be constant and carefully plan from the management and team, in addition to every single detailed should be listed and focus for it might be a factor for the success of the company.



Resources:

http://www.sei.cmu.edu/pub/documents/04.reports/pdf/04tr010.pdf

http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_80.htm

http://www.rapidbi.com/created/criticalsuccessfactors.html
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mariechelle alcoriza

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: before December 19, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Sun Dec 28, 2008 9:05 am

When talking about critical success factor approach, it was discussed by my classmates during our reporting in management information system II last December 15. According to the reporters, they said Critical Success Factor Methodology (CSF) in the context of
SISP are used for interpreting more clearly the objectives, tactics, and operational activities in terms of key information needs of an organization and its managers and strengths and weaknesses of the organization’s existing systems. Rockart (1979) defines critical success factors as being ‘for any business the limited number of areas in which results, if they are satisfactory, will ensure successful competitive performance for the organization.’
CSFs can exist at a number of levels. They represent the few key areas where things must go right for the business to flourish. Consequently, critical success factors are areas of activity that should receive constant and careful attention from management. Rockart originally developed the CSF approach as a means to understanding the information needs of CEOs. The approach has subsequently been applied to the enterprise as a whole and has been extended into a broader planning methodology. It has been made the basis of many consulting practices and has achieved major results where it has been used well. There are four basic types of CSFs according to Rockart. They are: Industry CSFs resulting from specific industry characteristics; Strategy CSFs resulting from the chosen competitive strategy of the business; Environmental CSFs resulting from economic or technological changes; and Temporal CSFs resulting from internal organizational needs and changes. CSFs at a lower level are derived from those at the preceding higher level. The CSF approach introduces information technology into the initial stages of the planning process and helps provide a realistic assessment of the IT’s contribution to the organization.
For me, critical success factor means what factors that contributes to the success of a person, an organization or a company. In addition, CSF for me defines what and how a person did to become successful. I totally agree with the definition given above that CSF defines clearly the objectives and the target goal. In relating CSF in real life, I have read from the myGoals.com, there are CSF’s there that will help people in achieving success regardless of how we do it or define it. Let me share it then:
The 1st critical success factor. Clearly Identify Your Goals. The first step before reaching success is we should first define our goals. When we define our goals, let’s make it sure that it is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely goals. And when our plan is too complex or complicated, we can break down our plan into small and manageable parts. With this, we can make sure that we can evaluate easily if we are on track with our plans or not.
Second, Identify the Obstacles. As we all know that move we make in our lives, there will always be obstacles or hindrances. This step will help us in preparing solutions to the problems that may arise during our journey to reach our goals. In addition, we’ll be able to know how to react when such situations will occur.
Third, Know the Tasks Necessary to Overcome Each Obstacle. The quote “taking one step at a time” will come into this place. It is the same with handling all the problems; we can not solve our problems all at once. We should take each problem at a time, and with this we can think on what are the possible solutions to solve these problems.
Fourth, Assign Deadlines. Based on this article, it says there that assign a start and completion date to each task in the plan. It’s ok to be working on several different tasks at the same time, but don’t over do it. Be realistic.

And the last one, Follow the Plan. We must stick to what we have planned, the plan would serve as the guide on our way to success. An additional suggestion given by the myGoals.com is that we should be flexible. Plans as we all know may change before we can complete it. Expect the unexpected events and the plan should be updated to adapt to changes.

But what are the steps in Critical Success Factor Approach?
These steps are taken from http://www.paullemberg.com/criticalfactors.html
Step 1: Identify your critical success factors
Step 2: Establishing the measurements
Step 3: Setting the baseline
Step 4: Set new goals
Step 5: Closing the gap
Step 6: The Ben Franklin Rotation Program

The first step is to identify your special set of critical success factors. You may have thought this through in the past; you may think you know them intuitively. When asked "What matters?", many executives reflexively say things like sales, customers, people, or product development. These are all good answers, and they may be correct answers, but you will want to think deeper and broader.
Below is a list to start you thinking. It is set in no particular order and contains only the most obvious factors. Review the list and circle areas you believe are critical to your enterprise. You may have to add other, more specific or subtle factors to the list to describe the critical influences on your business' success.
• Distribution - this could be direct sales, telesales, third- party sales, etc.
• Lead generation
• Customer satisfaction
• Referrals
• Research
• Product development
• Production, including quality, costing, run-rates, etc.
• Sufficient investment capital, sufficient working capital
• Customer support / technical support
• Quality assurance
• Sales process / sales life cycle
• Market research
• Customer education
• Sales compensation
• Recruiting
• Personnel retention programs
• Expense management
• Intellectual capital development
• Training
• Marketing communications
• Logistics
• Employee equity
• Executive leadership
• Training and development
• Corporate goals / strategic objectives
• Values and beliefs
• Mission/purpose
• Individual accountability
• Productivity & effectiveness metrics
• Internal communications
• Strategic and tactical planning
• Executive team
• Board of directors/advisors
Be specific when you identify your factors. Don't say "people" when the issue is recruiting, employee satisfaction, training or compensation. Don't say "marketing" or "sales" when the issue is lead generation.
Test your assumptions by imagining a decline in a particular factor. How would that impact your business? Now imagine an improvement in that factor. How would that impact your business?
In selecting factors, limit your list to no more than seven. Why seven? Cognitive theory suggests that human minds are efficient at juggling from five to nine separate trains of thought - the average and oft- quoted number is seven. Our plan is for you to keep your eye on the ball, you want to limit the balls to those you can keep your eye on.

Step 2: Establishing the measurements
Your next step is to establish a measurement scale for each critical factor. Some of these measures will be quantitative; some qualitative. Sales is an easy one: dollars of revenue measured against budget. Leads generated is also easy - how many? You can further break down sales by product and leads by sources, or you can stick to the consolidated numbers. Choose the measure which best reflects your understanding of how the issue affects your business.
Everything is measurable, you just need the right system. How can you measure your effectiveness in sales compensation? You could establish a compound metric which includes total compensation as a percentage of sales revenue, juxtaposed against goal attainment.
Marketing communications is also difficult. One way to measure this is to subjectively assess the quality of your marcom pieces; you could also measure whether you have the total complement of marcom pieces you require. Or, measure whether prospects respond to your marcom efforts. Most likely you will combine all three to get one measure.
A final example is measuring your efforts in the area of your Board of Directors / Board of Advisors. Measures include: do you have one? Are all the board seats filled? Is the board effective for your intended purpose? Measuring the Board factor would likely blend each of these.

Step 3: Setting the baseline
Once you've established a measurement structure for a factor, the next step is setting a baseline.
Each factor should be set against a normalizing scale ranging from 1 to 10. Subjectively this can translate into non-performing(1), poor (2-3) , mediocre (4-5), good (6-7), great (8-9), and outstanding (10).
If your sales run-rate is $10 million, determine whether that is a 1, a 5, or a 10. Your answer depends of course on whether you consider performance against budget, performance against stretch goals, or performance against "home-run-out-of-the-park" goals.
If your baseline for Board of Directors is two unfilled board seats - is that a 5 (mediocre) or a poor (2-3)? Only you can decide. Although this ultimately is a subjective process, you want to make it as objective as possible.

Step 4: Set new goals

Next, create a "gap" between where you are - your baseline - and your target for that factor. You already have a sales plan, so your gap exists between your current revenue and your budgeted revenue.
You may consider your baseline a 5, and your target an 8. Implicit in this 1- 10 scale are judgements about your intentions: will reaching your budgeted revenue put you at 8 (almost great) or 10 (outstanding)?
Where do you want to peg your efforts? If you've assessed your employee training at a 4 (mediocre), are you shooting for a 7 (good) or a 9 (great)? You can see from this how your measurement structure and goal system will impact how you allocate your company's resources and energy.

Step 5: Closing the gap

You now have a baseline and a target for each factor. Between them they define a factor gap - your challenge is to close it. Each gap becomes the focus of a meditation which asks the question: What will close the gap between our current level of this factor and our desired level? What possible actions will raise that measurement?
You may have intuitive responses to these questions, and when appropriate, trust your gut. If need be, back that gut response with research - but only when cost effective.
(Sometimes the most cost effective research is implementation, particularly in simple matters.)
Use any idea generation process you are comfortable with. Develop several possible initiatives to raise the level of that factor. With luck your ideas will work together and harmonize in terms of impact or implementation requirements.
If you create competing ideas, select the best alternatives. Choose based on return on investment, required resources, scheduling conflicts, time to impact, total cost, and likelihood of success versus risk of failure.
Depending on the specific factor, and the size of the gap, you may plan to close it in stages or shoot the gap all at once. You can launch one initiative at a time, or implement several initiatives in parallel. Once you launch your gap-closing initiatives, continually measure your results. Report your progress to participants and stakeholders, and post it publicly.

Step 6: The Ben Franklin Rotation Program

As a young adult, Ben Franklin identified thirteen virtues he aspired to. In order to implement these virtues in his life he devised a "Plan for Self Examination", a program whereby he focused his attention, one virtue at a time, for one week at a time, rotating through the entire list four times a year.
He kept a detailed log of the actions he took to develop the virtues in himself, along with his personal results.
I've adapted Franklin's concept and called it the Ben Franklin Rotation Program. At any point in time, you will have in place a program for improving every one of your critical factors. But in any given week, your primary attention will be on only one factor.
Using Franklin's principles, at the beginning of each week, focus your mind - or collective mind of your management team - on improving that week's factor. What new actions can you take, what new attitudes can you adopt, what new or renewed approaches are available - which will enhance your performance in that one specific area? Do that "thing" wholeheartedly for the entire week.
Franklin also shows us how to track your progress in this venture. Create a score sheet detailing your Critical Success Factors. This sheet should detail each factor, its measurements, your current 1-10 rating and your target rating, along with your next action steps for improving that rating.
Each factor also gets a weight, which enables you to develop an overall score. Each week, re-rate all the factors on the score sheet, and graph your progress. You may also graph the overall score. Publish the score sheet and the graphs. You can establish a reward system based on individual progress, or, using the factor weights, you can develop a bonus structure which incentivizes total progress.
This simple system will focus your attention on improving each one of your critical success factors. With carefully selected factors, you insure both rapid performance increases and balance in your company.
Organizations may have different approaches in identifying their own critical success factors but what is most important is with the help of these factors, the organization can evaluate and improve their performance in delivering their service to the people
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Michelangelo Macaraeg

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: before December 19, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Sun Dec 28, 2008 12:28 pm

Critical Success Factor method or approach is being used widely in many organizations today, may it be a business organization, research and development or R&D group, or an academic organization. Because it is widely used, it can be regarded now as the most practical approach to take when engaged in building an organization and making it successful. Critical Success Factor, or CSF as it is being regarded in many articles, poses many great potential outcomes when used and followed carefully and in detail. Many organizations, mostly business organizations, have been successful in their own field by implementing or applying the critical success factor approach or method in their operations. Due to the significant impact the CSF approach has brought to many organizations, it has achieved its fame and recognition as one of the most practical and significant approaches. Currently, most organizations have been using the critical success factor approach, although some, to no avail, did not achieve success. Why? I asked. In order to determine the reason, first we must discuss what is critical success factor approach and some of its history.

What is a Critical Success Factor?

Critical Success Factors or CSF’s are the critical factors or activities required for ensuring the success of your organization. The term was initially used in the world of data analysis, and business analysis. Critical Success Factors have been used significantly to present or identify a few key factors that organizations should focus on to be successful. As a definition, critical success factors refer to "the limited number of areas in which satisfactory results will ensure successful competitive performance for the individual, department, or organization”.

This definition, which was taken from a website, provides the most general meaning of the Critical Success Factors. Critical Success Factor can be regarded as simply the major key or important areas of the organization’s goal or objective, which if regarded as the focus or prime target, can yield great and significant results that can bring the organization to its success. These critical factors can come in the form of a specialty, technique or goal in the organization. But of course, these are just only factors. Factors like option or choices, once determined or known, do not significantly provide the solution for success in the organization. By just simply determining these factors, it does not mean the path to success has been paved and sighted.

Another important understanding is that Critical Success Factors can come in many application and usage depending on the understanding and definition it holds in its application. Definition of critical success factors may vary greatly according to the degree or field it is used or applied. Studying the wide range of the definition for the critical success factor can greatly benefit your understanding of its approach. These are some of the definitions found as published in the web:

Definitions
Critical Success Factor
- an element of organizational activity which is central to its future success. Critical success factors may change over time, and may include items such as product quality, employee attitudes, manufacturing flexibility, and brand awareness.
Critical Success Factor
- any of the aspects of a business that are identified as vital for successful targets to be reached and maintained. Critical success factors are normally identified in such areas as production processes, employee and organization skills, functions, techniques, and technologies. The identification and strengthening of such factors may be similar.
Critical Success Factor
- is a business term for an element which is necessary for an organization or project to achieve its mission. For example, a CSF for a successful Information Technology (IT) project is user involvement.
Using the term
The term “Critical Success Factor” is used differently, due to ambiguity of the word “critical”, back and forth translations into other languages and interpretation when analyzed in portfolios:
1.Definition 1: “critical” = important, key, determining, vital, strategic, etc.
2.Definition 2: “critical” = alarming, anxious, etc.

From the sample definition given, it can be seen that the Critical Success Factor can be viewed from different angles. A deep understanding of its definition and how it is being perceived can contribute to the success of implementing or using the critical success factor approach in your organization. In conclusion, the critical success factors vary on every organization depending also on many factors so a concrete definition of the critical success factors for your organization is needed if you intend to pursue and use the critical success factor approach.

Now, that there is a deeper understanding of the definition of the critical success factor and the significance of how you define the critical success factor. We move on to the critical success factor approach or method.

With the definition of the critical success factor ambiguous itself, how can we be so sure of the critical success factor approach? Surely that if the definition is not concrete, the standard steps of the method or approach is also not yet established. Having many ways of implementing or applying the critical success factor approach, the steps are also depending on the organization on which the approach will be implemented. Thus by giving you a general approach that also uses the critical success factor as its base, we can show and get a general picture as what the critical success factor really is.

A Critical Success Factor Method

Start with a vision:
You can not definitely achieve success without first envisioning what success for you or the organization really is. Otherwise, you can not determine the success for the organization or the critical success factors.

Mission statement
This portion is essential in order to establish the main or major goal or objective for the organization. It is generally the aim of achievement of the organization which without it, the organization can not achieve success.

*Develop 5-6 high level goals
Incidentally, the organization must have specific goals to achieve and it must be cited and determined. It must coincide in achieving or pursuing the mission of the organization.
*Develop hierarchy of goals and their success factors
Outlining many smaller goals from the major specific goals of the organization can help determine and see the immediate factors or concerns of the organization in order to be successful.
*Lists of requirements, problems, and assumptions
Determining the problems of the organization ultimately leads to success because an organization that can not address its problem surely fails to address its success. The list of requirements is greatly essential when the organization needs to solve its current problems and prevent more problems in the future or prevent existing problems to worsen. Assumptions may lead to the theoretical solutions for the problems thus actions can be taken and later will become solid for use and implementation.
*Leads to concrete requirements at the lowest level of decomposition (a single, implementabe idea) Along the way, identify the problems being solved and the assumptions being made Cross-reference usage scenarios and problems with requirements

After determining the necessary objects for the critical success factor approach, we now lead to using matrices or scenarios in order to determine the critical success factors that are significant. In this part, many other activities can be made or used in order to get the desired result. Although it may lead to the same outcome, the thing that matters the most is how you performed and executed those methods. The organization must not lose sight of the critical success factors for its success.

    Analysis matrices
    Problems vs. Requirements matrix
    Usage scenarios vs. Requirements matrix
    Solid usage scenarios
    Relationship to Usage Scenarios
    Usage scenarios or "use cases"; provide a means of determining:
      Are the requirements aligned and self-consistent?
      Are the needs of the user being met as well as those of the enterprise?
      Are the requirements complete?

    Results of the Analysis

Eventually, the critical success factor approach can be the way to success for an organization or maybe not. Using the critical success factor does not always mean that the achievement for success is on its way. It is only a tool or method in order to achieve success. In the end, it is up to the organization itself if success is achievable or not.
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ashbury franklin alcordo

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: before December 19, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Wed Dec 31, 2008 3:14 pm

[size=12]The artcle below is teken from the website
http://university-essays.tripod.com/critical_success_factors_csf.html
The article is knowledge filled and I decided to make this as a source of the CSF so that we, IT/CS students may be able to understand well the topic.

INTRODUCTION

This article focuses on the key aspects of critical success factors (CSFs). It presents the concept of CSFs and gives suggestions on how to write good critical success factors (CSFs). The article discusses the method for identifying good CSFs, and also gives organisational examples to provide good illustrations of utilising information for Critical Success Factors (CSFs).
Critical success factors (CSFs) have been used significantly to present or identify a few key factors that organisations should focus on to be successful. As a definition, critical success factors refer to "the limited number of areas in which satisfactory results will ensure successful competitive performance for the individual, department, or organisation” (Rockart and Bullen, 1981). Identifying CSFs is important as it allows firms to focus their efforts on building their capabilities to meet the CSFs, or even allow firms to decide if they have the capability to build the requirements necessary to meet critical success factors (CSFs).
Success factors were already being used as a term in management when Rockart and Bullen reintroduced the concept to provide greater understanding of the concept and, at the same time, give greater clarity of how CSFs can be identified.
MAIN ASPECTS OF CSFs

CSFs are tailored to a firm's or manager's particular situation as different situations (e.g. industry, division, individual) lead to different critical success factors. Rockart and Bullen presented five key sources of CSFs: the industry, competitive strategy and industry position, environmental factors, temporal factors, and managerial position (if considered from an individual's point of view). Each of these factors is explained in greater detail below.

The Industry

An industry's set of characteristics define its own CSFs. Different industries will thus have different CSFs, for example research into the CSFs for the business services, health care and education sectors showed each to be different after starting with a hypothesis of all sectors having their CSFs as market orientation, learning orientation, entrepreneurial management style and organisational flexibility (Barrett, Balloun and Weinstein, 2005).

An example of industry and company CSFs was presented by Rockart and Bullen (1981) in their research paper and is included here to illustrate their ideas (see figure 1). Further details on company CSFs are discussed in the next point.

The example presented by Rockart and Bullen was meant to illustrate that companies would have different CSFs and would not be completely similar. It can be seen though that many aspects of the CSFs could end up being similar for organisations in an industry

Competitive Strategy and Industry Position

Not all firms in an industry will have the same CSFs in a particular industry. A firm's current position in the industry (where it is relative to other competitors in the industry and also the market leader), its strategy, and its resources and capabilities will define its CSFs. For example, in 2005 Caterpillar defined a new strategy to aggressively grow revenues over the long term. As part of that new strategy, Caterpillar defined several CSFs specific to the firm which were (Gordon, 2005):

• Organisational culture: "creating a culture that engaged employees, while focusing on safety and diversity"
• Quality control: "accelerating the pace of quality improvement for its products, while focusing on improving new product introduction and continuous product improvement processes

• Cost focus: "implementing processes to become the highest-quality, lowest cost producer of our high-volume products in each hemispheric currency zone"

Other firms in Caterpillar's industry may or may not have the same CSFs, and are unlikely to have the same complete set

Environmental Factors

These relate to environmental factors that are not in the control of the organisation but which an organisation must consider in developing CSFs. Examples for these are the industry regulation, political development and economic performance of a country, and population trends. For example, Ladbrokes, a UK bookmaker, will be establishing an international business in Italy where it has just acquired a business license, a requirement for foreign sports betting firms prior to establishing a business in the country (Citywire, 2007).
Another example of environmental factors affecting an organisation was the de-merger of Mondi, a paper and packaging firm, from its parent Anglo-American, a global mining firm. As Mondi had substantial assets in South Africa, it had to pursue a dual listing in order to meet the requirements of South African regulation, particularly in relation to its South African investors (Waples, 2007). Environmental CSFs for Mondi then in the short term include enhancing relations with the South African regulator and ensuring that requirements of South African investors are met.

Temporal Factors
Temporal factors are temporary or one-off CSFs resulting from a specific event necessitating their inclusion. Rockart and Bullen (1981) state that typically, a temporal CSF would not exist and they give as an example of a firm which "lost executives as a result of a plane crash requiring a critical success factor of rebuilding the executive group". However, with the evolution and integration of markets globally, one could argue that temporal factors are not temporal anymore as they could exist regularly in organisations. For example, a firm aggressively building its business internationally would have a need for a core group of executives in its new markets. Thus, it would have the CSF of "building the executive group in a specific market" and it could have this every year for different markets.
For example, Bear Stearns has stated an aggressive expansion plan in Asia to grow existing and new business lines (Financialwire, 2007). As Bear Stearns grows its business over the next few years, a CSF in each year is to build its management teams for the business and the financial products that it seeks to expand.

Managerial Position
A final primary source of CSF is managerial position. This is important if CSFs are considered from an individual's point of view. Rockart and Bullen (1981) give an example of manufacturing managers who would typically have the following CSFs: product quality, inventory control and cash control. As examples, possible firms whose managers would have the stated CSFs mentioned by the authors include Heidelberg Cement (large global cement firm) and Tata Steel (Indian firm which now owns Corus Group, a UK steel manufacturing firm) (Satish, 2007). In organisations with departments focused on customer relationships, a CSF for managers in these departments is customer relationship management (Mendoza et al., 2007).
An example of CSFs for the five primary sources is shown from a work on enterprise security management (see figure 2) which utilised the CSFs method to develop and deploy an effective approach to their business (Caralli, 2004).

HOW TO WRITE GOOD CSFs

In an attempt to write good CSFs, a number of principles could help guide writers. These principles are:
• Ensure a good understanding of the environment, the industry and the company – It was shown that CSFs have five primary sources, and it is important to have a good understanding of the environment, the industry and the company in order to be able to write them well. These factors are customised for companies and individuals and the customisation results from the peculiarity of the organisation. This peculiarity stems from an organisation's strategy, current position, and resources and capabilities.

• Build knowledge of competitors in the industry – While this principle can be encompassed in the previous one, it is worth highlighting separately as it is critical to have a good understanding of competitors as well in identifying an organisation's CSFs. Knowing where competitors are positioned, what their resources and capabilities are, and what strategies they will pursue can have an impact on an organisation's strategy and also resulting CSFs

• Develop CSFs which result in observable differences – A key impetus for the development of CSFs was the notion that factors which get measured are more likely to be achieved versus factors which are not measured. Thus, it is important to write CSFs which are observable or possibly measurable in certain respects such that it would be easier to focus on these factors. These don't have to be factors that are measured quantitatively as this would mimic key performance indicators; however, writing CSFs in observable terms would be helpful.

• Develop CSFs that have a large impact on an organisation's performance – By definition, CSFs are the "most critical" factors for organisations or individuals. However, due care should be exercised in identifying them due to the largely qualitative approach to identification, leaving many possible options for the factors and potentially results in discussions and debate. In order to truly have the impact as envisioned when CSFs were developed, it is important to thus identify the actual CSFs, i.e. the ones which would have the largest impact on an organisation's (or individual's) performance.

FINDING INFORMATION FOR WRITING CSFs

For the organisation pursuing the CSF method, the foundation for writing good CSFs is a good understanding of the environment, the industry and the organisation. In order to do so, this requires the use of information that is readily available in the public domain. Externally, industry information can be sourced from industry associations, news articles, trade associations, prospectuses of competitors, and equity/analyst reports to name some sources. These would all be helpful in building knowledge of the environment, the industry and competitors. Internally, there should be enough sources available to management from which to build on their knowledge of the organisation. In most cases, these won't even have to be anything published as managers are expected to have a good understanding of their organisation. Together, the external and internal information already provides the basis from which discussion on CSFs could begin

The information mentioned above can largely be accessed through the internet. Other sources which would be helpful, and not necessarily accessible through the internet, are interviews with buyers and suppliers, industry experts and independent observers.

At the individual level, there is a slight difference. The use of the CSFs method at the individual level is discussed by Munro and Wheeler (1980) and involves a number of interviews in which the manager's goals and the CSFs that form the basis of the goals are discussed. The interviewer and the manager discuss the relationships between the goals and the CSFs and agree on which ones to continue with.
While Rockart and Bullen define the structured interview as the key method for identifying CSFs at the individual level, there are other methods that have been used and have been found to be effective in identifying them. These other methods have been identified as action research, case studies, Delphi technique, group interviewing, literature review, multivariate analysis and scenario analysis (Esteves, 2004, cited in Amberg, Fischl and Wiener, 2005).

Limitations
A key limitation of the CSFs method is the qualitative aspect to identifying them. As they are developed from the industry to the company and possibly to the individual level, there is a significant degree of variability that could result from the qualitative input required. Thus, there could be significant differences in what various people consider CSFs in industries and organisations to be, necessitating considerable effort and discussion in determining them

CONCLUSION

CSFs are used by organisations to give focus on a number of factors that help define its success. They help the organisation and its personnel to understand the key areas in which to invest their resources and time. Ideally, these CSFs are observable in terms of the impact on the organisation to allow it to have guidance and indications on its achievement of them.

CSFs can be utilised in both the organisation and the individual levels. Their identification is largely qualitative and can result in differing opinions in pinpointing them. Nevertheless, it is an approach that should be pursued as it provides value in giving due focus to a limited set of factors, which are deemed to be the most critical for an organisation or individual.




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Thomas Tangian

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PostSubject: Assignment 4   Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:20 pm

Engaging in this assignment, first of all let me discuss what is a critical success factor is and how will the company use this in their advantage and to gain success. CSF according to the definition in the net are the essential areas of activity that must be performed well if you are to achieve the mission, objectives or goals for your business or project. This critical success factor is really needed in order for the business to know what kind of relationship they will gonna deal with their customers. By identifying your Critical Success Factors, you can create a common point of reference to help you direct and measure the success of your business or project. CFS must be aligned with the strategic goals. management leadership is the second critical sucess factor that is needed.

As a common point of reference, CSFs help everyone in the team to know exactly what's most important. And this helps people perform their own work in the right context and so pull together towards the same overall aims.

D. Ronald Daniel in the 1960s first introduce this and popularized a decade later by John F. Rockart.

Critical Success Factor (CSF) is a business term for an element which is necessary for an organization or project to achieve its mission. They are the critical factors or activities required for ensuring the success your business. The term was initially used in the world of data analysis, and business analysis. For example, a CSF for a successful Information Technology (IT) project is user involvement - wikipedia

Key success factors generally include exceptional management of several of the following:

* Product design
* Market segmentation
* Distribution and promotion
* Pricing
* Financing
* Securing of key personnel
* Research and development
* Production
* Servicing
* Maintenance of quality/value
* Securing key suppliers

the below mention are the steps in critical success factor or (CSF)

Step One: Establish your business's or project's mission and strategic goals

Step Two: For each strategic goal, ask yourself "what area of business or project activity is essential to achieve this goal?" The answers to the question are your candidate CSFs.

* Industry - these factors result from specific industry characteristics. These are the things that the organization must do to remain competitive.
* Environmental - these factors result from macro-environmental influences on an organization. Things like the business climate, the economy, competitors, and technological advancements are included in this category.
* Strategic - these factors result from the specific competitive strategy chosen by the organization. The way in which the company chooses to position themselves, market themselves, whether they are high volume low cost or low volume high cost producers, etc.
* Temporal - these factors result from the organization's internal forces. Specific barriers, challenges, directions, and influences will determine these CSFs.

Step Three: Evaluate the list of candidate CSFs to find the absolute essential elements for achieving success - these are your Criticial Success Factors.

As you identify and evaluate candidate CSFs, you may uncover some new strategic objectives or more detailed objectives. So you may need to define your mission, objectives and CSFs iteratively.

Step Four: Identify how you will monitor and measure each of the CSFs.

Step Five: Communicate your CSFs along with the other important elements of your business or project's strategy.

Step Six: Keep monitoring and reevaluating your CSFs to ensure you keep moving towards your aims. Indeed, whilst CSFs are sometimes less tangible than measurable goals, it is useful to identify as specifically as possible how you can measure or monitor each one.

These steps will help you upon thinking what will be your critical success factor that you will gonna apply in your company these things are essential and needed in order for the company to come up with a goo critical success factor because as what the definition says that critical success factor or CSF will be the basis on the success of your business or the establishments.

reference:

www.wikipedia.com
http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_80.htm
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harleylovitos

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: before December 19, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:22 pm

Identify and discuss the steps for "critical success factors" approach? (at least 1,500 words)

What is a Critical Success Factor?
Critical Success Factors (CSF’s) are the critical factors or activities required for ensuring the success your business. The term was initially used in the world of data analysis, and business analysis.
Critical Success Factor is a business term for an element which is necessary for an organization or project to achieve its mission. They are the critical factors or activities required for ensuring the success your business. The term was initially used in the world of data analysis, and business analysis. For example, a CSF for a successful Information Technology (IT) project is user involvement. Identifying CSF's is important as it allows firms to focus their efforts on building their capabilities to meet the CSF's, or even allow firms to decide if they have the capability to build the requirements necessary to meet Critical Success Factors . The idea of identifying critical success factors as a basis for determining the information needs of managers was proposed by RH Daniel (1961 Harvard Business Review - HBR) as an interdisciplinary approach with a potential usefulness in the practice of evaluation within library and information units but popularized by F Rockart (1979 Harvard Business Review - HBR). In time many academics have applied the methodology increasingly outside the educational establishment.

MAIN ASPECTS OF Critical Success Factors
CSF's are tailored to a firm's or manager's particular situation as different situations (e.g. industry, division, individual) lead to different critical success factors. Rockart and Bullen presented five key sources of CSF's:
1. The industry,
2. Competitive strategy and industry position,
3. Environmental factors,
4. Temporal factors, and
5. Managerial position (if considered from an individual's point of view). Each of these factors is explained in greater detail below.

1. The industry
An industry's set of characteristics define its own CSF's Different industries will thus have different CSF's, for example research into the CSF's for the Call centre, manufacturing, retail, business services, health care and education sectors showed each to be different after starting with a hypothesis of all sectors having their CSF's as market orientation, learning orientation, entrepreneurial management style and organizational flexibility.
In reality each organization has its own unique goals so while thee may be some industry standard - not all firms in one industry will have identical CSF's.

2. Competitive strategy and industry position

Not all firms in an industry will have the same CSF's in a particular industry. A firm's current position in the industry (where it is relative to other competitors in the industry and also the market leader), its strategy, and its resources and capabilities will define its CSF's
The values of an organization, its target market etc will all impact the CSF's that are appropriate for it at a given point in time.

3. Environmental Factors
These relate to environmental factors that are not in the control of the organization but which an organization must consider in developing CSF's Examples for these are the industry regulation, political development and economic performance of a country, and population trends.
An example of environmental factors affecting an organization could be a de-merger.

4. Temporal Factors
Temporal factors are temporary or one-off CSF's resulting from a specific event necessitating their inclusion.
Theoretically these would include a firm which "lost executives as a result of a plane crash requiring a critical success factor of rebuilding the executive group".
Practically, with the evolution and integration of markets globally, one could argue that temporal factors are not temporal anymore as they could exist regularly in organizations.
For example, a firm aggressively building its business internationally would have a need for a core group of executives in its new markets. Thus, it would have the CSF of "building the executive group in a specific market" and it could have this every year for different markets.

5. Managerial Position
Managerial position. This is important if CSF's are considered from an individual's point of view.
For example, manufacturing managers who would typically have the following CSF's: product quality, inventory control and cash control.
In organizations with departments focused on customer relationships, a CSF for managers in these departments may be customer relationship management.

A plan should be implemented that considers a platform for growth and profits as well as takes into consideration the following critical success factors:[5]
• Money: positive cash flow, revenue growth, and profit margins.
• Your future: Acquiring new customers and/or distributors.
• Customer satisfaction: How happy are they?
• Quality:How good is your product and service?
• Product or service development: What's new that will increase business with existing customers and attract new ones?
• Intellectual capital: Increasing what you know is profitable.
• Strategic relationships: New sources of business, products and outside revenue.
• Employee attraction and retention: Your ability to do extend your reach.
• Sustainability: Your personal ability to keep it all going.


All the information above is very important in having business. How could the business run if you don’t have money? How could the business run if you don’t have a target customer? How could the business run if your customer is not satisfy with your product? How could the business run if your product is not high-quality and your service is not good? These are some questions that need to ask if you want to have a successful business.

Success factors are very important in all aspects, especially if you are dealing with money in want to have a profit from it. By learning the critical success factor you are sure that your money will be process in the right way and you are confident that the money you invest will give you a better life in the future.
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abellana, maria teresa g.

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PostSubject: assignment 4   Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:50 pm

Achieving success would definitely require a massive effort to attain it. The road towards it is not that smooth as others might think of. For some students like me, it would necessitate an assortment of pressures, sacrifices, challenges, failures, discouragements and many other negative things that are inevitable in one’s life. However, if there are goals and plans being set before them, triumph will then have its way. Like any organization or business, success means a big thing. Success would entail and depend on the strategic plans being made and how it is being implemented and managed. Having realistic expectations and timeframe are critical success factors for any project. Prior to the start of any project, the team must discuss all project plans and objectives of the project.


Critical success factors cannot be specifically defined for the masses because success can be defined quite differently by each individual, and for the goal at hand. Therefore, in order to identify critical success factors, it is first necessary to come to terms with your own personal definition of success. Each individual’s own definition of will be influenced by several key factors. Success is subject to individual interpretation based on upbringing, past experiences, role models, personal motivations and goals. Carefully contemplate your definition of success based on your values—not with what other people tell you what it is. Your own definition of personal success directly influences critical factors leading to that success. Your view of success will change at various times throughout your life. Your definition of success will continue to change, so don’t make the error of pursuing an outdated version of it. Success factors will change over time. Personal success is sometimes measurable and sometimes not. Very few people achieve success accidentally. Most people who achieve success first defined it then planned for it; they set a goal to achieve it. Critical success factors change with the goal. Once you have defined personal success for yourself, your next step is to set goals that will lead you to your definition of success. You must create realistic, viable plans to achieve those goals. Follow your plans, be flexible, and enjoy the process. Here are five success factors that will directly affect your success in achieving any goal:


Critical Success Factor # 1: Clearly Identify your Goal

Clearly determine what the goal is. Be specific.
This means that the goals should be precise and detailed so as to avoid any situations that would slow down or hinder the organization to attain success

Critical Success Factor # 2: Identify the Obstacles

List all the obstacles standing between you and the goal. Identify resources, assistance, information or anything else that might be needed to reach the goal. As you're writing, don’t get discouraged by the obstacles– they’re absolutely necessary to help you with the next step in completing your plan.

Critical Success Factor # 3: Know the Tasks Necessary to Overcome Each Obstacle

Taking each obstacle one at a time, write one or more ways the obstacle could be overcome. These are tasks that will comprise your to-do list. Expect to have several tasks per obstacle.

Critical Success Factor # 4: Assign Deadlines

Assign a start and completion date to each task in the plan. It’s ok to be working on several different tasks at the same time, but don’t over do it. Be realistic.

Critical Success Factor #5: Follow the Plan

If your success plan is too long or complicated, try breaking it into several smaller, more manageable plans. Don’t rely on luck or things outside your control as part of your success plan. Be flexible–expect your success plan to change before you complete it. Circumstances change, unexpected events occur, and your plan should be updated to adapt to changes.

Critical success factors, are key areas which you identify from conducting a SWOT, PEST and Porters Five Forces model, market research and competitor analysis. The basic logic is to look at the all the main results:
WEAKNESSES - What are your biggest business weaknesses that need addressing?
OPPORTUNITIES - What areas in the market need exploiting for your business to attain growth? 
POLITICAL - Which political factors are important to your business, and need observing?, What is the current legislation?, Has your business achieved/aiming to achieve all the requirements?
ECONOMIC - What is the current economic climate like?, How will this affect business turnover?, What measures are you taking to ensure it does not adversely affect your business?
SOCIAL - What are the current consumer trends?, How can your business exploit them?, What are current consumer pressure groups re-acting to?
TECHNICAL - How is your business exploiting technology to achieve growth?, Is it through improving efficiency? or is it through using technology to aid new product development?
COMPETITOR ANALYSIS - What are your competitors doing?
MARKET RESEARCH - What do the consumers feel about existing/new products and services?
Critical Success Factors are strongly related to the mission and strategic goals of your business or project. Whereas the mission and goals focus on the aims and what is to be achieved. CSF focus on the most important areas and get to the very heart of both what is to be achieved and how you will achieve it.

Critical Success Factors are the areas of your business or project that are absolutely essential to its success. By identifying and communicating these CSFs, you can help ensure your business or project is well-focused and avoids wasting effort and resources on less important areas. By making CSFs explicit, and communicating them with everyone involved, you can help keep the business and project on track towards common goals and aims.

Rockart defined CSF as: The limited number of areas in which results, if they are satisfactory, will ensure successful competitive performance for the organization. They are the few key areas where things must go right for the business to flourish. If results in these areas are not adequate, the organization’s efforts for the period will be less than desired.
He also concluded that CSF are “areas of activity that should receive constant and careful attention from management.”

In reality, identifying your CSFs is a very iterative process. Your mission, strategic goals and CSFs are intrinsically linked and each will be refined as you develop them.
Here are steps that will help you identify the CSFs for your business or project.

Step 1: Establish your business’s or project’s mission and strategic goals.

Step 2: For each strategic goal, ask yourself “what area of business or project activity is essential to achieve this goal? The answers to the question are your candidate CSFs:
To make sure you consider all types of possible CSFs, you can use Rockart’s CSF types as a checklist:
INDUSTRY— these factors result from specific industry characteristics. These are the things that the organization must do to remain competitive.
ENVIRONMENTAL— these factors result from macro-environmental influences on an organization. Things like the business climate, the economy, competitors, and technological advancements are included in this category.
STRATEGIC—these factors result from the specific competitive strategy chosen by the organization. The way in which the company chooses to position themselves, market themselves, whether they are high volume low cost or low volume high cost producers, etc.
TEMPORAL – these factors result from the organization’s internal forces. Specific barriers, challenges, directions, and influences will determine these CSFs.

Step 3: Evaluate the list of candidate CSFs to find the absolute essential elements for achieving success – these are your Critical Success Factors.

As you identify and evaluate candidate CSFs, you may uncover some new strategic objectives or more detailed objectives. So you may need to define your mission, objectives and CSFs iteratively.

Step 4: Identify how you will monitor and measure each of the CSFs.

Step 5: Communicate your CSF along with the other important elements of your business or project’s strategy.

Step 6: Keep monitoring and reevaluating your CSF to ensure you keep moving towards your aims. Indeed, whilst CSF are sometimes less tangible than measurable goals, it is useful to identify as specifically as possible how you can measure or monitor each one.

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Ronic Winmar Concepcion

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: before December 19, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:53 am

Critical Success Factors
• Five CPI Critical Success Factors
• Principles of CPI
• Eight CPI Phases
The Logistics officer for a major training exercise has just returned from his three-day course excited that he found the silver bullet that will improve the processing and delivery of logistics materiel and supplies. He calls his most experienced logistician into his office and describes the exciting new tools and techniques that he just learned about in his Six Sigma training. Based on the information he just received, he sees no problem in setting new performance targets and achieving the objectives within months.
First, he organizes a training program and selects two of his officers to be trained and certified as Six Sigma Black Belts. Next, he sets a new performance target improving the efficiency of logistics operations by 5% within the next six months. Finally, he tells the logistician that he expects to see results quickly and to provide him with weekly updates on his progress. His last statement is, "Do not disappoint me."
Sound familiar? Your boss returns from a conference or training with the latest bright idea and armed only with enough information to be dangerous. Then you are instructed to go out and apply this idea to deliver improved unit processes and performance.
If you have been in this situation before you will understand that it is never as simple as setting and achieving new performance targets. You should already appreciate the value of a foundation in proper planning, preparation and design efforts before starting any process improvement program. You should also understand that the most important element of any business transformation is to identify the business drivers for change and the critical success factors (CSFs) early in the program. You recognize that successful change management programs require careful planning and preparation and that there are NO SILVER BULLETS.

The five CPI Critical Success Factors are based primarily on leadership effectiveness, clear Performance Measurement goals and well designed Change Management plans.
1.Strong Executive leadership and alignment
• Executives and program champions must communicate the reason(s) behind the Transformation program and establish a sense of urgency
• Executive leadership and support must be visible early in the Transformation program and be reinforced throughout
• Executive leadership must clearly define program objectives
2.Clear and measurable goals
• Goals of the Transformation program must be in line with the organization’s strategy, and they must be measurable
• Executive leadership and support must clearly define the criteria for measuring progress toward program objectives
3.Actionable business case and performance measures
• Program benefits and returns on investment must be clearly defined and approved by the key stakeholders
• Organizational and individual performance measures must be aligned to the objectives of the Transformation program
4.Clearly defined roles and responsibilities
• Key stakeholders, internal and external, must be identified early in the program
• Roles and responsibilities need to be clearly defined
5.Well designed execution and continuous improvement plan
• Transformation (Change) Management must be an integral part of the program
• The execution strategy and implementation plan must be well defined and clear to all stakeholders
• Program milestones must be designed to deliver program goals and objectives
• Impacted individuals need to be trained and ready for their new assignments
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Principles of CPI
Key Concept
Improvement initiatives must be:

Principle 1: Performance driven
Principle 2: Customer focused
Principle 3: Traceable to the customer requirements
Principle 4: Segmented along business process
Principle 5: Integrated with organizational change management
Principle 6: Conducted with a well-managed and time-boxed approach
Principle 7: Understood as a continuous process
Implicit in the following discussion are seven fundamental principles that should be considered in ordered to deliver business results to customers and to satisfy needs of the organization’s other stakeholders.
Improvement initiatives must be:
Principle 1: Performance Driven – This principle deals with the key organizational drivers behind the change. All business process changes must be based on customer needs and business performance measurement. All business activities and processes that support them should be done for a reason. Measurement techniques such as Balanced Scorecards indicate whether we are acting consistently with organizational goals, which should be based on customer needs and traceable to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This principle in no way says what the right measurement indicators should be. Every industry is different and every organization has its own strategy for identifying which goals are achievable. Nonetheless, it is vital that each organization chooses wisely; the old adage “You get what you measure,” is universal to all organizations.
Principle 2: Customer Focused – This principle deals with the questions of "Why would your customer care about the change?" Will the improvement initiative solve or improve an identified customer issue? And who are these customers?
Let’s answer the last question first, a customer is any individual, organization or institution that has a vested interest in, or can influence the organization’s performance in some way.
To analyze the gap between our current processes and what the customer’s needs are in the future we should consider two key factors. First we should have a strong grasp of our customer’s needs. Second, we should understand the state of our current relationship and a view of what we want these relationships to be in the future. Gaps between these two states will drive our needs for change. The future state view will provide a set of evaluation criteria for change from the current reality, which then will be translated into Balanced Scorecard KPIs.
Principle 3: Traceable to the customer requirements and key business criteria - This principle speaks to the ability to trace change to a customer requirement; if you can not trace an improvement to a specific customer requirement then the viability of the improvement initiative needs to be questioned.
The challenge is to build a traceable and actionable link to customer requirements and balance that with institutional and operational objectives. Conflicting business and political drivers can devastate a sound decision-making process. When those drivers are also misaligned with the organization’s mission and culture we cannot expect successful results. Change initiatives that waste millions and even billions of dollars can be found in almost all organizations and institutions of any size and complexity. Typically the root cause is poor decision making, or poor interpretation of the organization’s needs and customer expectations.
Principle 4: Segmented along business process lines to synchronize change - This principle deals with the importance of cross-functional integration and collaboration to ensure a sustainable change initiative. As more and more governmental agencies and commercial institutions move toward web enabled services, integration of products and services across an enterprise become more and more critical. Management structures with overly rigid organizational structures and boundaries that are too slow to respond will eventually become obsolete and non-responsive to customer demands. Customer demand for web enabled services and seamless institutional response forces closer collaboration and integration between various organizational disciplines from front-end customer support functions to organizational enablers such as Information Technology and Human Resources departments. By segmenting the transformational initiatives along business process lines we have a clear framework for organizing and prioritizing change and for measuring the impact of our efforts in terms that the business executives can understand.
Principle 5: Integrated with Organizational Change Management – Change Management initiatives are often used simply as ways of creating a document or developing the communication strategy for implementing a technology system. Clearly, this is a very limited view of Change Management. Instead, we must see Change Management as a vehicle for more encompassing transformation. We must recognize that during initiatives such as implementing an ERP system we are not just impacting technology, data, or processes, we are also striving to identify champions and transform people into enthusiastic supporters and participants who will enable transformation initiatives. This is one reason we should encourage the analysis of existing organizational processes and capabilities. In addition to traditional Change Management tools such as communication strategies, we must support changes with appropriate assignment of roles and responsibilities, organizational structures, empowerment and most importantly, accountability.
During transition, the staff must feel that an appropriate level of trustworthy communication is happening. The main take-away is that staff affected by change should feel a sense of contribution as a result of their participation and should be positioned as the beneficiaries of the new process.
Principle 6: Conducted with a well-managed and time-boxed approach - This concept is not new and traditionally refers to Program Management. The Program Management discipline might appear on the surface to be simply managing program time and resources. If it is not aligned with the organization’s culture and not integrated with Change Management components and is not accepted by all levels of the organization, it will be a struggle to meet all program objectives and agreed upon stakeholder expectations. Managing complex transformational programs such as ERP implementation might be the toughest thing ever done. By sticking to a proven Project Management approach and methodology, program risk will be reduced and program goals and stakeholder expectations will be better managed.
Principle 7: Understood as a continuous process - A major distinguishing feature between CPI and the wave of business process re-engineering (BPR) efforts that proliferated in the early and mid-1990s is the approach to continuity of effort. BPR emphasized radical change of business processes and everything that touched them in the “big-bang” approach. But it did little to uphold the notion of supporting the ongoing management of the implemented change or ongoing implementation of change. It assumed the solution would have stability in an unstable market with changing priorities. Perhaps for these reasons, as well as issues with people's natural tendency to resist change, most BPR programs failed to deliver their expected results.
We must recognize that in any given time, our stakeholders will have a set of requirements that are in flux and can be influenced by regulatory and market demands. If we accept the fact that change is an embedded part of business transformation we should also recognize that building iterative processes in the overall business transformation is critical to the success of a CPI initiative.

History
The idea of identifying critical success factors as a basis for determining the information needs of managers was proposed by Daniel (1961) but popularized by Rockart (1979). The idea is very simple: in any organization certain factors will be critical to the success of that organization, in the sense that, if objectives associated with the factors are not achieved, the organization will fail - perhaps catastrophically so. Rockart (1979: 85), by referring to Daniel (1961), gives the following as an example of the CSFs: new product development, good distribution, and effective advertising for the food processing industry - factors that remain relevant today for many firms. (See: for example, Bergeron & Begin, 1989; Boynton & Zmud, 1984; Goldsmith, 1991; Leidecker & Bruno, 1984; Pollalis & Frieze,1993.)
The CSFs approach was applied in case studies carried out in the UK universities (Pellow & Wilson, 1993; Greene et al. 1996; Loughridge 1996). It was applied also as a component of a strategic information management (SIM) methodology put forward by Wilson (1992, 1994b). The CSFs approach was combined with the value chain concept by Porter (1985) in order to form an information audit (e.g. Ellis et al. 1993; Dimond, 1996; Buchanan & Gibb, 1998; see also Goldsmith, 1991). The methodology was tested in two case studies carried out in very knowledge-intensive sectors of Finnish industry. The process was funded by the Academy of Finland (see: Huotari 1995, 1997; Huotari & Wilson, 1996).
The aim of the SIM methodology was to provide a strategic information systems reviewuation methodology for assessing an organization's performance and its competitive ability. Competitive advantage, following Porter (1985), was taken to mean, the ability of a firm to provide better value for its customers through lower prices, higher quality, or benefits not available elsewhere. The primary purpose was to test the idea that the information intensive areas of an organization could be identified within the value chain by using the CSF technique to indicate the critical areas and, thereby, enable the identification of corporate information needs. Corporate information needs were defined as those needs for information that must be satisfied if the organization is to achieve its strategic aims. The proposition was that those parts of the value chain that were perceived by organizational members to be of critical significance would be the areas in which effort ought to be concentrated so that the information systems could be effective.
The case studies were carried out in UK universities by applying a qualitative research strategy simultaneously with the cases testing the SIM methodology in the pharmaceutical and publishing sectors in Finland. Qualitative, open-ended interviews were conducted to identify the critical areas, related information needs and the use of information systems. Grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1990) was applied to define the CSFs in both the UK and Finnish studies. An understanding of the production, marketing and managerial processes within the Finnish companies and the market conditions within which the companies operated was gained by an examination of relevant documentation. The SIM study relied on theoretical sampling – the cases were chosen for replicating the test to provide examples from very knowledge-based fields of polar types in order to ensure valid findings. (See: Eisenhardt, 1989: 541-543, for cross-case searching tactics.)
The SIM methodology was elaborated further in a pilot study carried out in the context of higher education in Finland. Social network analysis (e.g. Burt & Minor, 1983; Granovetter, 1973; Mizruchi, 1994; Wasserman & Faust, 1994) was combined to the CSFs approach and proved useful for discovering deeper structures in actors' information-seeking behaviour relative to organizational goals. Furthermore, this analysis allows to look in more detail at the complexity of organizational information behaviour. (See: Huotari, 1998a, 1999)
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Lorena R. Gonzales

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PostSubject: Assignment 4   Sun Jan 11, 2009 8:36 pm

Aiming for success is not a very simple task. For a person to think of succeeding, an hour for him to become one is obviously impossible. To head start the way of succeeding in whatever field, either in an ongoing project or future plans, a mission should be defined in a specific and measurable manner. It will serve as a guide and as a focus. Next is to identify the goals that should be significantly aligned with the mission. Goals are the things that must be accomplished to solidify the mission.

However, a mission and a list of goals are not enough to accomplish what has been aimed. There has to be a list of factors that should also be considered. It is important for a business organization or a certain person aiming for success to formulate this because these are the areas that will serve as the point of direction towards the achievement of each goal that has been included. This concept is called the CSF or the Critical Success Factors.

Critical Success Factor was first conceptualized in the 1960s by D. Ronald Daniel and was later popularized by John F. Rockart. It is defined as the limited number of areas in which results, if they are satisfactory, will ensure successful competitive performance for the organization. These are the few key areas where the things must go right for the business to flourish. If results in these areas are not adequate, the organization’s efforts for the period will be less than desired (John F. Rockart, http://www.mindtools.com ).

To determine the activities or the areas in which critical success factors are to be identified, six steps are listed down:


Step One: Establish your business or project mission and strategic goals.

For a project to have its significance and completion in due time, it would start with a mission and a set of goals. A project can also be done without these goals and mission but it is best for a team to be specific in what they would want to conquer within the whole development duration. It would also be easy for them to identify the activities that they will be dealing with towards the endpoint since a precise set of targets are known from the very beginning.

Before, whenever I was asked to complete an assignment or I would want to accomplish a task, the only thing clear to me was to get it done. It did not matter how I was going to do it and what exactly I would want my output to be. I did not care if it would be of great significance to other people or it would satisfy me as the doer. It was so easy at that point especially when pressures were less and the society was still not expecting too much. I never took notice of setting a mission and goals before I would plunge into something that would need and consume my time, creativity, effort and my parents’ money. It was until times became tough and people who did not have a clearer understanding on what they want to achieve were meant to falter. I was in third-year college then. Being a college student meant bigger responsibilities and one great example was the arrival of inevitable batches of serious projects every semester. It was far different during the elementary and high school wherein projects could be done in less than 24 hours. Project developments were so hard for me that in those times that I forced myself to get started, I just ended up thinking out of nowhere because I had no idea what to hit first, how I would strategically do it, what precisely I would want to invest for the task and the areas that I would want to deal with towards the success of my project. As for the result, I was such a TIME WASTER.

Step Two: For each strategic goal, ask yourself "what area of business or project activity is essential to achieve this goal?" The answers to the question are your candidate CSFs.

A mission comes into life through the support of realistic and impressive goals. Goals should be pointed towards the mission of a certain business organization or a project. To achieve it, a person must think of the possible ways. This is what step two is all about. There has to be an area in which goals could probably be attained. This is the first stage of determining the Critical Success Factors.

Relating this to my experience as a student, I realized that somehow this was one part that I failed to perceive. I had plenty of goals in mind including some were completing projects in time, achieving not just passing grades but really good grades, gaining a better impression from professors and mostly, graduating on time with flying colors. I may have planned all of these since the beginning and I may have imagined myself in these goals however I missed to witness these things coming into reality. When I would reflect on myself regarding these failures, I just simply reason out that it was not meant for me, it was not just my luck and that I had other purpose and maybe my best was not that enough. This brought me into awareness that perhaps I would be in my desired situation if I followed step two of Critical Success Factor approach. If only I was able to match my every goal with the appropriate means to achieve it.
Step Three: Evaluate the list of candidate CSFs to find the absolute essential elements for achieving success - these are your Critical Success Factors. As you identify and evaluate candidate CSFs, you may uncover some new strategic objectives or more detailed objectives. So you may need to define your mission, objectives and CSFs iteratively.
In evaluating the candidates for the Critical Success Factors, each element has to be weighed depending on its impact toward each goal. Those chosen will be the final list and will be called the Critical Success Factors.

Step Four: Identify how you will monitor and measure each of the CSFs.
The Critical Success Factors have to be observed and studied. In this manner, the approach to assessing and testing the potentiality of each factor will be identified.

Step Five: Communicate your CSFs along with the other important elements of your business or project's strategy.
Step Six: Keep monitoring and reevaluating your CSFs to ensure you keep moving towards your aims. Indeed, while CSFs are sometimes less tangible than measurable goals, it is useful to identify as specifically as possible how you can measure or monitor each one.
Critical Success Factors are the areas of your business or project that are absolutely essential to it success. By identifying and communicating these CSFs, you can help ensure your business or project is well-focused and avoid wasting effort and resources on less important areas. By making CSFs explicit, and communicating them with everyone involved, you can help keep the business and project on track towards common aims and goals (http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_80.htm ).

Upon reflecting on this paragraph, I have come to ponder that CSF or the Critical Success Factor approach does not only apply to making a project successful or to a business organization. In my case, I have an idea of using the CSF to help me focus on the things that I desire to have and in the pursuit of my goals – not to waste my effort on dealing with less important areas in my life.
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davemar tabanyag



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PostSubject: assignment 4   Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:38 am

Money factors: positive cash flow, revenue growth, and profit margins.

This should be the main concern of profit oriented businesses. This factor answers the question of how a particular information system helps in the over all maximization of the business’ wealth or funds. Does the Information system give way for money to flow and keep the business going and in tune with the industry it is serving? Or does the Information System helps to increase the business’ revenue by sufficiently supplying up to date information to top level decision makers. And lastly does the Information system help in greatly increasing the profit margin of the business and that will there be any difference in the margin without the system? As long as money is involve, profit oriented business should be aware that a particular Information system should be in nature help in the business’ profit maximization, say for example an Information system should be designed to generate income well enough for its own survival independently with all of the other business functions.

Acquiring new customers and/or distributors -- your future.

Another success factor of an Information system is the way it is designed to predict the future of any factors which could affect the business’ operations this function could be done through incorporating a sense of management accounting to the system to tend to various trends that affect the business’ operations or to create a systematic prediction of what awaits the company in the near future using information from past operations. This functionality gives decision makers of the business a hint on what to do to prevent disastrous things from happening or better yet exploit the fact that a good future is at hand and therefore keeping up the good work. These factors greatly affect the business’ ability to innovate things to target a specific market as well as easily find distributing forces to keep the business in circulation.

Customer satisfaction -- how happy are they?

The information system must have the ability to asses customer feedback. For this to be possible data gathering techniques should be incorporated within the design of the information system such as feedback forms distributed to clientele and all the other entities that the business is rendering services or goods to. A good interpretation in this area can help the company to see the real impact of a product or a service offered hence giving them the opportunity to change or compensate at an early stage to prevent loss of customers and therefore maintaining the demand for the product or service

Quality -- how good is your product and service?

The Information system with its ability to obtain customer feedback also should have the ability to determine the quality of the product or services that are being rendered to the customers, this means that the Information system should have the ability to know the quality of a product or service even before the rendering of a product or a service, say for example the information system must have sufficient data of raw materials used for a certain product the raw materials are evaluated firsthand even before it was made as a finished product to avoid low quality products and services.

existing customers and attract new ones?

Customers or consumers are the reason for the business, this should be the mindset of the businessman for establishing a business. Therefore upon designing an information system there should be some social networking issues that are involved. A good information system takes advantage of this opportunities to establish a market. Advertising techniques are key factors for this task, the information system must know what are the strategic points as to where t launch an advertising campaign to attract new customers as well as keeping those that are already known. This factor relates with the information system having to know the attitude of the customers towards the product/service and of course this also relates to the quality of the product and services made by the business.

Intellectual capital -- increasing what you know that's profitable.

With automated information systems with the aid of information technology a business can review or predict the business next step. This involves increasing the knowledge on beneficial factors to maximize profit. There is always a need to innovate in a business therefore a wide knowledge in the nature of the business is an edge among competitors. Knowledge can be extracted from any part of the business the key increasing the knowledge in the business is storing information for review as well as prediction of occurring events from trends in the information. Knowledge can also be acquired through collaboration with other related business operations or in general collaboration with other businesses.
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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: before December 19, 2008, 13:00hrs)   Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:57 pm

no more assignment for this year 2010?
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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 4 (Due: before December 19, 2008, 13:00hrs)   

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Assignment 4 (Due: before December 19, 2008, 13:00hrs)
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