Bain: Management tool use remains solid around globe

10 July 2015

With business trends showing that companies are moving forward in terms of revenue and competitive advantage, the kinds of management tools deployed by executives may give an insight into their long term planning, according to a recently released Bain & Company report. A top performing tool in terms of uptake and satisfaction remains CRM, followed by employment surveys. One key contender in terms of satisfaction however, is Big Data – even if its uptake still remains relatively weak.

For 15 years Bain & Company has, biennially, released a global index of the 25 most used management tools by businesses in 70 countries around the world. This year’s survey, titled ‘Management Tools & Trends’, the index is developed from 1,067 completed surveys from a broad range of international executives across all industries.

The view on management trends

Management trends
The survey finds that most senior executives are confident about their current position in the market, expecting the coming years to show continued improvement to the lot of their business. Three-quarters (74%) say that their current financial position is strong and the same amount (75%) say that their ability to adapt to change is one of their most significant competitive advantages. Innovation too remains an important aspect of the business environment, trumping – in certain instances – the need to cut costs.

In terms of unfavourable conditions, 62% believe customers are now less loyal, while excessive complexity is creating poor growth prospects. Other trends noted by respondents are that managers are now more and more looking to the short-term, long-term planning is down from 64% in 2013 to 58% in 2015. In addition, a focus on revenue growth over cost cutting has decreased to 52% of respondents from 57% in 2013.

Most used tools

Tool satisfaction
The key findings from this year’s report are that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) remains the #1 tool in terms of uptake globally for driving management trends, although there is considerable regional variation. The tool ranks #4 in North and Latin American market and #2 in in the APAC market.

Benchmarking is one of the #2 tools globally. However, although it is the primary tool in EMEA, in the APAC it is one of the least used tools at number 14. Other #2 tools include Employment Engagement Surveys, which is the most used tool in the North American market, and Strategic Planning, which is the most used tool in Latin America.

2014 usage and satisfaction

User satisfaction
In terms of the satisfaction users have with their management tools, CRM is the most well rounded in terms of high satisfaction (3.93) and the highest global uptake. This was followed by employment surveys at 3.75 points of satisfaction to its high use rated. While Big Data Analytics is the top performer in terms of satisfaction (4.01), it is a much less used tool in the management arsenal. In terms of poorly satisfying, but often used tools, outsourcing (3.61) finds itself on top of the list.

Major efforts achieve higher satisfaction

Effort changes satisfaction
One further aspect highlighted by the report is that the different tools vary in their level of satisfaction based on the level of effort put into their implementation. Big Data for instance scores a 4.22 in satisfaction from increased effort, and falls to 3.65 with limited effort. Innovation labs too show similar variation (4.22 vs. 3.70). Digital transformations have the potential to go very badly, with a score of 4.17 for highly active efforts and 3.52 for low effort operations.