Rethinking Your Operating Model: Defining the Enablers

A common challenge when seeking to rethink your operating model is to actually understand the enablers to defining the change, as well as making the change happen.

This is made more difficult through what is often a basic description and definition of the operating model, where for many organisations this feels like a complex and diverse environment. The snappy one liner description of the operating model is:

 An Operating Model describes how you want your organisation to run

However, this does little for those wanting to rethink and redesign their operating model.

Pillars of an Operating Model

In defining the key enablers to the operating model, it is important to start at the core pillars, commonly defined as:


The skills, capabilities and knowledge of the people within your organisation required to support the deliver of the organisation functions and activities. This encompasses staff numbers, structure, performance, management and competency of people.


The ‘what’ should be done, i.e. functions and activities necessary to deliver products and services of the organisation. This covers all process architectures, methodologies and measures required within the organisation.


The enabling of business processes and activities through network and information technology, including all hardware and software and IT interfaces.


Much literature focuses on these pillars, yet they still don’t provide enough depth to be able to encapsulate all of the enablers to rethinking the ‘how’ for your organisation. From our experience working with a range of For-Profit and Not-For-Profit organisations we have delved into more depth to add to these core pillars. This is not professing to be the exhaustive list of all enablers, but provides a good start when seeking to rethink the ‘how’ for your organisation.


Recognising and reflecting on these enablers when rethinking the ‘how’ for your organisation will provide a strong tool to cement and embed change.

Enablers To Rethinking Your Operating Model

1. Strategy

The organisations strategy guides and shapes the ‘how’ through defining the purpose and strategic drivers. Rethinking or evolving your strategy will guide the shape of the operating model

2. Resources

The obvious resource, as captured in the basic pillar is people. However, the fundamentals of funding resources are often not explicitly captured. Funds are key enabler as well as a constraint in rethinking your operating model. Funds shape and drive change, whether it is to enable the need for greater efficiency due to limited funds or grow innovative process in the operating model due to more investment funds. Available funds are aligned and influenced by the organisations business model.

 3. Architecture

When discussing architecture, an organisation is commonly referring to the business, technology, application and data architecture that underpin and support the organisation. There is a growing trend – and rightly so – in recognising the enabling importance of being able to define and articulate the organisations architecture. In rethinking the operating model this picture helps support and drive value through improved integration and standardisation of technology, applications and data.

Interested in learning more about business strategy and operating models?

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