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As in – the “Strategy-Execution Machine.” It’s what BPM guru, author, lecturer and ebizQ columnist Peter Fingar says is key for companies seeking strategic advantage in the evolving world of “time-based competition.”

In the ebizQ webinar Turning Up Business Velocity: Competing On Time With BPM , part of the Oracle-sponsored series Increasing Business Velocity, Fingar traced the history of the concept of time-based competition, by beginning in the present.

He took issue with Nicholas Carr’s Harvard Business Review article, “IT Doesn’t Matter.” Fingar called the piece “the epitome” of “The Great IT Backlash” we’re now in, in the wake of the dot-com disasters. The article suggested IT has become so commoditized, it no longer provides competitive advantage. Fingar contended that what the piece totally missed was, “You can’t buy competitive advantage. IT itself isn’t, never has been, and never will be, competitive advantage, except for IT companies. IT is an enabler of the management innovations of competitive advantage.”

Fingar pointed to Michael E. Porter’s book of almost two decades ago, “Competitive Advantage,” which described its namesake as enterprises that arrange their activities in a way that keeps them at least one step ahead of their rivals at all times.

Add to that a Peter Drucker quote Fingar pulled out, “Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.”

Fingar detailed George Stalk Jr.’s “landmark” 1988 Harvard Business Review article, “Time -- The Next Source of Competitive Advantage” which, Fingar noted, “was able to phrase time in a framework that essentially positioned it as a competitive variable.” The piece showed how successful Japanese companies such as Toyota and Honda had pioneered time-based competitiveness by making massive structural changes to enable much faster execution of their processes. Fingar says they added flexible manufacturing, which led to just-in-time inventory and lean manufacturing. Ultimately, said Fingar, came the notion of “the most value for the lowest cost in the least amount of time.

Fingar outlined what time-based competitors do, how they do it, and what that yields. He even suggested companies might some day have CTOs — Chief Time Officers -- to oversee time consumption, versus the cost consumption that CFOs watch.


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