Canadian Tire: Quick Wins vs. Long-Term Project Change is a dangerous initiative for organizations mainly because of the process involved. To transition from one established strategy or approach into another requires all sorts of resources such as time, money, effort and manpower, variables that cannot be utilized without compromising existing processes that use them. This problem is made more difficult if the change being referred to is an intervention that happens in the middle of a long-term project. The simplest of changes could have far-reaching impact because no matter how small the scope is, it would entail a complex web of readjustments in almost all aspects of the project, risking the project performance in the long run. This is exactly what happens in the case of Canadian Tire.
Some decision makers within the organization are recommending "quick wins" presently when they are in the middle of implementing a long-term project, which is the redevelopment of a business intelligence (BI) infrastructure. The "quick wins" being referred to are short term projects recommended in response to assessed opportunities. These include the access to daily promotional data, forecasting and model simulation for incremental sales, pricing optimization reports and competitiveness analytics, among others (p.10). These projects were all IT-related and involve constant realignment and redirection of resources. It adversely impacts the long-term BI infrastructure project.
In order to address the dilemma, I would like to establish some facts first. Foremost is the importance of the BI infrastructure project currently being undertaken. It is a much called for reform in order for Canadian Tire to be competitive. The long-term strategy will overhaul the way business is conducted in the organization. It is expected that organizational processes will be streamlined, business operations would be more cost effective, workforce will be more productive, decision making will be more informed and, hence, more effective and the organization would be in a better position to respond to risks and opportunities, among other benefits and advantages.
On the other hand, the organization is also operating presently with the old model, as the transition being targeted by the reform is not yet completed. Canadian Tire has to respond to the movements of the market, the demands of the consumers, the impact of competition, the emergence of immediate risks and opportunities and a host of other short-term variables. That is why quick wins are imperative.
It is clear that both of the points outlined above are of equal import if Canadian Tire is to achieve its ultimate objectives, which are: to become a top performer in the industry and to achieve a total return to shareholders (p.2). The long-term project must be pursued with sufficient amount of persistence since that is where "the real return on investment (ROI) is" (p.1). Quick wins must not be ignored as well. The organization should seize whatever opportunity presents along the way especially when the firm is in the position to do so. Quick wins may be considered as a crude form of organizational flexibility, which should easily typify Canadian Tire once its long-term project is completed.
The question is how these two initiatives can be reconciled because this is the only answer to the problem. The fact is that there are no other acceptable options like a plan prioritizing one from the other. A viable solution could be to separate these two strategies, with their own dedicated resources in one overarching IT strategy. This will solve the constant problem of one project raiding the other and vice versa to the point that the company loses its focus, jeopardizing everything in the process.
The additional expenses can be worth it. Taking some insights from agency theory, these expenses can be considered as compensation for the opportunity costs that is required for the efficient, swift and successful completion of a two-pronged strategy. The positive outcomes of both the "quick win" initiatives and the business intelligence/data warehouse project will collectively lead to a better chance for Canadian Tire to achieve its organizational objectives effectively and in the shortest possible time.
Reference
"Business Intelligence Strategy at Canadian Tire". (2003). Ontario: Richard Ivey School of Business.

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