8 critical things senior leaders should know about SEM software


With Strategy Execution Management software your organization can achieve unprecedented control of its performance, but what does this mean for senior leaders? These are 8 critical things that they should know.

Written by: James Milsom, Head of Marketing

As the external and internal landscape of organizations continues to transform in the wake of a tumultuous start to the decade, senior leaders have been tested in ways that many would have seldom experienced, save for the 2008 crash.

And yet, over the course of the last 18 months we have seen industries go from strength to strength, adapting to the new hybrid working environments, alongside embracing what are, frankly, seismic changes in supply chain management, manufacturing and customer expectations.

Indeed, there are perhaps an ‘unprecedented’ number of factors which are pulling our senior leaders in many directions, making the strategic decision-making process ever harder. So, what can we do to help them?

Today we are sharing eight of the critical pieces of information that your senior leaders need to know a solution to that very issue – Strategy Execution Management (SEM) software.

From the ability to oversee operational and strategic activity, to the role of machine assisted learning in helping with their decision making, it’s certain that SEM software is improving decision making, providing senior leaders with the insights and tools they need to make the best choices for a business.


1) Run, Improve and Transform

It takes considerable time, effort and resource to run an organization.

When you add a stream of activity to continuously improve your processes to achieve of operational excellence, more pressure is placed on your business.

And then, when you seek to align these efforts to a strategic direction, and put in place transformational initiatives to succeed with your breakthrough goals, it is easy to see why things may fall apart at the seams.

Time is valuable. Time is rare. And yet, senior leaders continue to work beyond their hours:

“On average, the CEOs participating in the study worked 9.7 hours per weekday and 62.5 hours per week. They also worked on the majority of their days off, on average 3.9 hours on weekend days and 2.4 hours on vacation days.”



The concept of concurrently running, improving and transforming your business can be daunting to senior leaders, who are already time poor.

However, that is where platforms such as i-nexus with its SEM software provide exactly the solution that your senior leaders need.

The i-nexus platform is designed to ensure that organizations can eliminate complexity and administration, and in its place put productivity and rigorous, well-structured execution of project portfolios – all at the same time.

And that means senior leaders are confident in their ability to make the right choices:

“i-nexus replaced our spreadsheet patchwork with a single solution that automated our process. Automating our manually-intensive process has led to productivity gains and the ability for the team to think strategically.”

Mahesh Shankar, Director, Strategy, Wabtec Corporation


2) Plan, Execute and Track

A similar theme to the issue of run, improve and transform, when we dive deeper into the lifecycle of operational management, continuous improvement and strategic transformation, we uncover hundreds of plans, thousands of projects and double the number of metrics and reports to analyze.

That only results in more data and analysis to be conducted than can really be achieved.

And yet, senior leaders, when surveyed by Deloitte, reportedly are concerned about the accessibility of platforms to synthesize the data they need to visualize their on-going performance across the organization:

“63% – do not believe their companies are analytics-driven and 67% say they are not comfortable accessing or using data from their tools and resources”


With a SEM platform you can have full visibility over the planning, execution and on-going tracking of everything pertinent to the strategic success of your business.

After all, successful strategy execution depends on three core capabilities that must work seamlessly together: the ability to build robust plans, to execute to plan and to measure results.

These capabilities - Plan, Execute and Track - form the foundation of the i-nexus platform, ensuring that strategy is translated into action, and action is translated into results.

“With i-nexus we now have consistent scorecard reporting across an increasing number of business units, giving us real-time insight and the confidence we are investing in the right activities for growth.”

Stefan Osswald, Vice President Business Excellence, Flex Inc.


And it is the insight gained from tracking performance and results that informs any changes to your senior leaders’ plan or the creation of new plans.


3) Internal options are always available (but know their limits)

We would be remiss for not addressing the reality that there is always an internal option available to your business.

Indeed, your IT team can build a CRM, an accounting platform or reporting suite using PowerBI, but in the case of SEM software, the reality is somewhat different.

For a senior leader, and this instance this would include the IT senior leader too, this would involve more resource and another project with which the business must balanced alongside existing focuses.

As Innotas found, stretched resource leads to an all too familiar outcome:

“55 percent of IT professionals surveyed indicated they'd had a project fail due to lack of time, staff, resources and budget.”

But, in the interest of fairness, we always recommend that the need for the platform is identified. Therefore, ask critical questions such as:

  • What platforms do we already have?
  • Have we provided training to successfully embed the software?
  • Do your senior leaders use the solution and, if so, how?
  • Do you have the resource to scope, build, test, maintain and update the system?

Here at i-nexus we appreciate that internal solutions are always a consideration. However, our platform has been built for the entire organization, with solutions such as i-nexus Advisor created specifically for the senior leader.

It is crucial that your senior leaders know the benefits and pitfalls associated with an internal build, but more so they know the limitations of the build are down to the resource, personnel and time available for an inside-software creation.

On the other hand, we take a consultative approach to understand your business, its processes, key stakeholder, user needs, and ensure a solution fits your needs.


4) Demos and different packages are available based on your needs

Furthering the point around your needs, your leaders should know that platforms are available which suit your business.

If there is a need to introduce and use SEM software in one business unit, that’s possible.

Or, perhaps you want to automate reporting and realize benefits:

“Our goal was to automate manual performance reporting and demonstrate traceability between strategic objectives and our project delivery. In both cases, i-nexus has enabled us to deliver the outcome to the business”

Robert Kroon, Global Change Agent, Strategic Projects, Deployment and Performance, Syntegon Packaging Solutions BV


Would you like to use SEM software to push financial and operational data into the i-nexus Advisor solution? That’s exactly what our customers do. 

What should be clear is that a SEM provider such as i-nexus works with you to ensure that the platform matches your requirements. That journey begins with your first consultation, demo, through to a statement of work and go-live.


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5) The space is ever-growing, but truly unified management of your operational and strategic performance can seldom be achieved in one platform

The software available to your organization when it comes to the three elements of running your business is varied and deep in their functionality, usability and costs.

However, there are seldom providers of a true SEM platform.

In fact, you can divide the list of different solutions available to your senior leaders as such:

These are software providers who specialize at a methodology level and therefore offer you a suite of tools which suit one school of thought, e.g. OKR.

Pure SEM
If you are seeking a SEM platform which allows you to plan, implement, execute and review your strategy’s portfolio of projects in one location, regardless of your methodology, depth of use or the time span of initiatives, you need this type of software.

Enterprise portfolio management
These vendors focus solely on the management of your project portfolio, allowing you to understand their performance and to react accordingly. However, crucially, they do not provide you with the feature set you will need across strategic planning, implementation, execution and review.

What is critical to take from this point is that your business must choose the solution that fits their needs. If your senior leaders require support across the three aspects of your organization, choose a SEM platform.


6) The software will digitalize your efforts, but it still requires theory, discipline and a plan

This is a point which is worthwhile luminating.

Software has tremendous powers to improve how your business goes about its daily, short and long-term activities, but it is only their to help automate and provide discipline.

Software will not execute your strategy.

It will not improve your processes.

Nor will it help you with running your organization.

For instance, if you are applying policy deployment for the first time then software can help you with a disciplined approach. However, it will not eliminate the risks associated with deployment.

To this end, to get the most out of any software, there are 7 issues that we recommend you address before introducing SEM solutions to your senior leaders.

Ultimately, you must ensure that you have the right culture, processes, stakeholder engagement and management of such a system defined before embarking on the journey of using SEM software.


7) The future is heading towards machined assisted learning

Once the clear and present benefits of using SEM software are articulated, it is worthwhile indicating the future of the space and the possibilities which will inspire and drive engagement from your senior leaders.

That future is based in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine assisted learning – where as much as $1billion has already been invested in UK companies alone in 2019.

AI is set to provide your organization with multiple simulation exercises based on machine learning of your data, both internal and of your external environment, from which platforms such as i-nexus can them help senior leaders anticipate likely outcomes from their strategic moves.

Horizon scanning will no longer be a manual process involving a plethora of data sets, conducting market force analyses and other tools:

Instead of a human spending countless hours tracking a subset of external factors, a machine can monitor everything. That includes informing you of risks to your Strategy Execution, and allowing you to proactively pivot.

James Davies, i-nexus Executive Vice President of Product


The future is genuinely exciting. Senior leaders have cause for celebration.


8) The cost of SEM software bares insignificance vs. the likelihood of failure

Our last critical piece of information is somewhat sobering.

Do not lose sight of the cost of failure when it comes to your projects and strategic portfolio. The all too often quoted statistic is this:

“71% of change programs fail to achieve their strategic goals and deliver expected benefits” 



Moreover, ask yourself if your senior leaders’ time is spent making decisions based on clean data, with insights which lead to the right decisions for the business or, are they made without the most pertinent information:

“14 percent of C-suite respondents say they spend more than 70 percent of their time making decisions. Even so, many respondents say this time is not well spent—and this inefficiency is an expensive problem”



When building the business case for SEM with your senior leaders, they must know that the cost of any platform pales in comparison to the cost of failure for your business.


What is absolutely critical when it comes to your senior leaders?

This blog has given you what we feel are eight of the most important pieces of information to share with your senior leader about SEM software.

Indeed, there are many benefits and features, all of which have been designed to support your efforts to explain the value of this software, not only for your organization, but perhaps crucially for enabling your senior leaders to free up their time to improve decision making and, of course, improve your business' performance.

Above all else, ensure that your senior leaders know that there are solutions available to them.


Learn more about Strategy Execution Management

Click here to visit our Strategy Execution Management knowledge hub, filled with content to support you in embracing the 'no normal' of strategy in the 2020s and beyond, or explore these recommendations:


About the author

James Milsom is Head of Marketing at i-nexus. James has wide-ranging experience of markets such as telecommunications, energy, education and software.

As Head of Marketing, his drive is to raise awareness and understanding of the challenges facing enterprises in delivering strategic objectives and transformation amidst changing markets and the obstacles traditional tools and methods present leaders.

If you’d like to talk more about Strategy Execution, reach out to James on james.milsom@i-nexus.com or connect with him on LinkedIn for the latest insights.

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