I was thinking about business/IT strategy alignment and was reminded of the operational efficiency vs product excellence dichotomy that I have struggled with for years. I hadn’t realised it has one source, research by by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema. These theories came to be known as Value Disciplines and they included “customer intimacy” as a third value. The conclusion is that to win, you need to be best in class at one of the these values and good enough in the other two, lesson two is that you can’t be superlative in three and that doing it for two is hard. Otherwise, here are my notes and links. 


  1. Value Disciplines Model & Your Competitive Advantage at https://www.executestrategy.net
  2. Customer Intimacy and other values by Treacy & Wiersema HBR 1993 … [HTML] or [.pdf]

I have always undervalues Customer Intimacy mainly for reasons of bad history; I considered it monopolistic, but I had never read the original work. The HBR article looks at all three strategies and defins customer intimacy in a positive light. Certainly, the customer intimacy strategies place demands on people and systems, and thus on the systems design.


Image Credit: This was made from a CC0 picture at publicdomainpictures.net


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