Executive Summary Activites

antecendents & outcomes[Return to the Workshop Agenda.]

Goals

  1. To increase your awareness of linguistic and visual cues in workplace documents.
  2. To recognize the connection between cues and outcomes in executive summaries.
  3. To increase your understanding of content and organizational structure cues in successful executive summaries.
  4. To increase your understanding of the qualities of evidence in the content of successful executive summaries.

Individual Activities (5 minutes)

1. Read the following report.

Class Discussion Activities (15 minutes)

1. Answer the following questions about the rhetorical context of this Oracle report (PurposeAudience):

  • Who is the writer? What is his/her organizational role?
  • What’s the bottom-line message?
  • What is the relationship of the audience to the writer (power difference, value difference, social distance)?
  • What is the relationship of the audience to the message (knowledge level, sensitivity)?
  • What are the ideal reader consequences after this document is delivered?
  • What are the ideal writer consequences after this document is delivered?

2. Answer the following questions about the content and organizational cues that will influence the consequences of delivering the executive summary for the Oracle report.

  • What is the rhetorical purpose for each of the 9 sentences?
  • What comes first — problem or solution? Is that choice effective?
  • How much of the executive summary deals with establishing the potential customer’s problems? the proposed solution? Is that effective?
  • Why is the content about the problem persuasive — or not? (see 6 qualities of evidence or watch the video-tutorial on persuasive prose)
  • Why is the content about the solution persuasive — or not?
  • What cues work well?

3. Answer the following questions about the rhetorical context of the executive summaries for MSA project reports (PurposeAudience):

  • Who is the writer? What is his/her organizational role?
  • What’s the bottom-line message?
  • What is the relationship of the audience to the writer (power difference, value difference, social distance)?
  • What is the relationship of the audience to the message (knowledge level, sensitivity)?
  • What are the ideal reader consequences after this document is delivered?
  • What are the ideal writer consequences after this document is delivered?

Group Activity (10 minutes)

1. Read the three sample executive summaries for MSA project reports.

2. Answer the following questions about the content and organization cues that will influence the consequences of delivering the MSA executive summaries.

  • What comes first — problem or solution? Is that choice effective?
  • How much of the executive summary deals with establishing the potential customer’s problems? the proposed solution? Is that effective?
  • Why is the content about the problem persuasive — or not?
  • Why is the content about the solution persuasive — or not?
  • What cues work well?

Class Discussion Activity (10 minutes)

1. Share your evaluation of the sample MSA executive summaries.

Group Activity (20 minutes)

1. Create an executive summary for the following white paper.

2. Share your draft in the comments section below.

Class Discussion Activity (10 minutes)

1. Defend your group’s content/organizational structure choices.

[If you want to compare your choices to those in the original, you can view a copy of the report with the executive summary.]

[Return to the Workshop Agenda.]

 

9 thoughts on “Executive Summary Activites

  1. By using business intelligence and analytics, the right people with the right data can reap a variety of benefits. Managers can gain incredible insight into the performance of their companies, utilizing information to understand the intricacies of their operations such as how their production lines are running, how their inventory levels are shaping up, or how the supply chain is looking at any given point in time. This can turn into valuable results such as costs savings and improved customer satisfaction through better decision making. In a constantly changing environment, improving existing business intelligence by integrating IT and business professionals is key to remaining competitive. Companies must be flexible and agile in their business intelligence environment and invest in analytics to succeed.

  2. In a world of increasing competition and constant change, decision makers need data beyond the standard business performance numbers. Getting the right data into the right hands, reliably and securely, typically requires an enterprise-wide information management strategy. Business Intelligence may be established and functional, but it isn’t Agile and flexible, because:
    • The BI architectural stack remains quite complex
    • Implementing BI requires using best practices and building on lessons learned.
    • The goals of business and IT BI stakeholders aren’t always aligned.
    • Existing BI support structures often no longer meet the need.
    Balancing Control And Agility Is Essential For A Solid BI Foundation.

    (more stuff)

    Greater use of BI self-service correlates with better business performance

    The benefits that accrue from a solid BI foundation
    • Reap a variety of business benefits.
    • Realize tangible business benefits as a result.
    • Can leverage information to improve existing ways of doing business or find new business models.

  3. Companies have to adapt fast if they want to survive. Your data is your asset, however your data is worthless if you cannot transform it in to useful information. How do you exploit it?
    – Make your data a strategic enterprise asset via self-serve tools, interactive visualization, predictive analytics, big data analytics and cloud based delivery models.
    – Examine whether your data provides the flexibility and agility to exploit BI to best effect..
    – Establish a solid technology platform and strong governance mechanisms to establish prerequisites to mitigate risk and prevent “garbage in, garbage out” situations.

  4. Executive Summary

    Many organizations are experiencing a widening gap between data available to them and their ability to transform such data into useful information for decision making purposes. This gap is attributed to the inflexibility of traditional business intelligence (BI) organizations and technology environments to respond to demands in a timely manner.

    Proposed Recommendations to Address Gap

    To address this gap, Forrester Consulting proposes the following recommendations:

    • Ensure that the relationship between information technology (IT) and business is sound and that both share common goals, priorities, roles, and duties.

    • Establish an agile BI solutions center that is empowered with innovative technologies.

    • Avoid lengthy pilot projects and evaluations.

    • Decide which projects are fit for innovative technologies.

    • Maximize current technology to facilitate faster business decision making.

  5. Constant change is the “new normal” in a world where challenging economic conditions add to the pressures put on executives by an intensely and increasingly competitive environment. For the majority of companies, sticking with the status quo is not an option. To be able to respond to these competitive pressures, decision-makers don’t just need data — they need data beyond the standard business performance numbers.
    1. Many companies understand that information is a crucial competitive differentiator. However, only half of the companies use their data to make decisions.
    2. Innovative technologies can help get maximum value from BI
    3. Leading companies make greater use of innovative BI technologies
    4. Lack of agility is a major obstacle to delivering effective BI. However, there should be a balance between control and agility in BI structure.

  6. Constant change is the “new normal” in a world where challenging economic conditions add to the pressures put on executives by an intensely and increasingly competitive environment.
    In many organizations, the gap is widening between the data that is available to business professionals — both from internal and external sources — and their ability to transform that raw data into information and use and analyze it to support business decisions. One of the root causes of that gap is that traditional BI organizations and technology environments are frequently proving too inflexible to respond to business demands in a timely manner, which in many cases leads to “rogue” BI projects born out of sheer frustration. To overcome these limitations and to make the most of existing as well as new BI technologies.
    In this study, we explored not only the adoption of new BI technologies but also investigated the relationship between BI maturity and the use of the innovative BI technologies outlined above; in addition, we investigated whether there was a relationship between corporate performance (expressed in terms of year-on-year growth rate) and the deployment of such technologies. We found that BI maturity and use of innovative BI technologies are related: better-performing organizations make greater use of innovative BI technologies and delivery models and greater use of BI self-service correlates with better business performance and growth.
    Innovative technologies can help maximize the value from BI with self-service interactive visualizations, predictive analytics, “big data” analytics, and cloud-based delivery models.

  7. Information is a crucial competitive differentiator. Decision-makers at all levels of the organization require analytics information in order to increase profitability, expanding market share, and getting (or staying) ahead of their competitors. This information must be both timely and easily accessible.

    Getting the right data into the right hands, reliably and securely, typically requires an enterprisewide information
    management strategy. Developing and implementing such a strategy is not an easy task, especially as it tends to involve crossing organizational boundaries.

    The solution to these problems is business intelligence (BI). What can a company derive from a well-crafted BI tool?

    • Reap a variety of business benefits.
    • Realize tangible business benefits as a result.
    • Can leverage information to improve existing ways of doing business or find new business models.

    However, lack of agility is a major obstacle to delivering effective BI.

    Forrester Consulting can provide BI tools self-service tools, interactive visualization, predictive analytics, “Big data” analytics, and cloud-based delivery models.

  8. Getting the right data into the right hands, reliably and securely, typically requires an enterprisewide information management strategy. To be able to respond to these competitive pressures, decision-makers don’t just need data — they need data beyond the standard business performance numbers.

    One of the root causes of that gap is that traditional BI organizations and technology environments are frequently proving too inflexible to respond to business demands in a timely manner, which in many cases leads to “rogue” BI projects born out of sheer frustration.

    Constant change is the “new normal” in a world where challenging economic conditions add to the pressures put on executives by an intensely and increasingly competitive environment, and for the majority of companies, sticking with the status quo is not an option.

    We found that:

    – BI maturity and use of innovative BI technologies are related.

    – Better-performing organizations make greater use of innovative BI technologies and delivery models.

    – Greater use of BI self-service correlates with better business performance.

    To overcome these limitations and to make the most of existing as well as new BI technologies, Forrester recommends:

    – Making sure that the relationship between IT and business is sound and that goals, priorities, roles,
    and responsibilities are aligned.
    – Establishing an agile BI solutions center (AKA BI CoE, BICC) and empowering it with piloting
    innovative technologies.
    – Avoiding getting stuck in lengthy pilot projects and evaluations.
    – Classifying your projects for good/not good fit for innovative technologies.
    – Making the most of technology to help business professionals make better decisions, faster.

    In this study, we explored not only the adoption of new BI technologies but also investigated the relationship between BI maturity and the use of the innovative BI technologies outlined above; in addition, we investigated whether there was a relationship between corporate performance (expressed in terms of year-on-year growth rate) and the deployment of such technologies.

  9. The lack of mature, innovative, and well designed BI technologies correlates with dramatically lower growth rates. The following illustrates some of those failures: miss-matched goals between IT and the business, improper balance between BI control and agility.

    Getting the right data into the right hands, reliably and securely, typically requires an enterprisewide information management strategy. Systems must be able to provide real time analytics, incorporate a variety of data sources and provide end users the flexibility to implement their analytics while keeping the overall system in line with corporate governance, keep the data preparation and usage separate.

    Better performing organizations have dramatically higher growth rates through the use of innovative BI technologies. Any innovative system must include:
    – Self Service Tools
    – Interactive Visualization
    – Predictive Analytics
    – Big Data Analytics
    – Cloud Based Deliver Models

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