What Value Strategy is, and Why It Matters

Sometimes, a question seems easy until you try to answer it.  That’s the way it worked out when we asked ourselves a very simple question: “Why do our clients hire us?

Of course, we know folks need someone to help them operate their networks, that they want reliability and performance for their own users.  But, there are many ways people can do this.  There are commercial companies that do it, or they could just do it themselves.  In fact, in many cases, the people that talk with us are already doing it themselves.  So then, why us?

As part of the GlobalNOC Renewal Program, this question is really important.  One of our 3 goals is to become indispensable to each of our clients.  Unsurprisingly, this requires that we have a very clear and well-defined understanding of what is truly valuable to our clients.  Our success, like every organization, will depend on navigating difficult trade-offs. There is simply no inherently best organization.  The right GlobalNOC is the one that best delivers what our clients value most.

There is simply no inherently best organization.  The “right” GlobalNOC is the one that best delivers what our clients value most.

Describing this proved more challenging than it seemed at first.  We tried to use the Value Proposition Canvas from Strategyzer.  This was useful, but geared much better to making specific decisions about adding new services.  We decided that we actually needed to answer these 3 questions:

  1. Who do we serve?
  2. What is most valuable to them?
  3. What’s our basic strategy for being the best at delivering on that?

This is much more than a set of slogans or a simple value proposition.  It includes how we’re positioning ourselves, what is truly important for us to focus on, and how we think we can deliver on it in a unique way.  We call this our “Value Strategy”. As I put it to the team, we want to find the intersection of what is most valuable, what we can excel at, and what the alternatives are not good at:

The test for it was simple: We needed a set of short, clear, and useful statements that would truly guide us in deciding what we should do and what we should NOT do, in making the hard tradeoffs.

How We Defined It

So, we organized a half-day intensive session with our renewal program leadership team on this.  We started by breaking the team into 3 smaller groups to discuss the questions.  This worked out really well.  the smaller groups did 2 things.  First, it protected us from groupthink.  A large group discussion will follow the path set by the first few people who speak up.  Splitting up allowed us to mitigate this, but still help people build on each other.  Second, this served as a great way to gauge how common ideas were.  When we came back together to synthesize the information, we found a high degree of consensus and commonality, which helped the group coalesce onto themes.

The other thing that worked very well was taking the time to test our ideas against difficult scenarios.  Over the years, we’ve come across situations where it was difficult to decide what to do.  Do the things we’ve described help us to make those decisions faster and better?

I was very impressed with the things the group came up with.  It was clear, with shared understanding and commitment.  I couldn’t ask for better.  Of course, it’ll evolve and clarify as we act on it.  But this will serve us well as an organization for years to come.  Here it is:

The GlobalNOC Value Strategy

Who We Serve:

Those who further research and/or education, who want to build a long-term partnership to get the most out of their cyber-infrastructure using our core operating model.

Our Value to Our Clients

Hiring the GlobalNOC is like getting a new all-star operations team within your organization.

It’s a team you can trust completely to tell the truth, share information freely, and deliver on commitments.  It’s a team who knows the latest and best methods, anticipates your needs, quickly delivers what you ask, and behaves like part of your team, as devoted to your success as you are.

Our Strategy to Deliver

Simply stated, our strategy is Coordinated Intimacy

We will break the apparent tension between giving each client the exact things they need, supporting a number of clients, and the ability share between clients.  We will be an intimate part of each client’s team, while also serving as much of the R&E community as we can, and sharing the best tools, methods, and expertise from all of our clients.

This has a 2 part strategy:

  1. Compose unique solutions for each client using a set of common components (methods, expertise, and tools) that are configurable and fit together.  Treat the activities of building components and solutions as interconnected but separate.
  2. Actively coordinate individual client support to create a feedback loop of growth and value.  Advances for any one client will be shared and applied to everyone else.