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Strategies are typically developed based on a thorough consideration of the facts. Strategic options are developed based on likely scenarios. The best options are evaluated through cash flow projections discounted by the company’s weighted average cost of capital. Sometimes sensitivity analysis might be used to test a strategic option’s robustness.
Scenario development has sometimes been used to compliment the traditional approach. Uncertainties are juxtaposed to create unlikely outcomes in which to test a company’s plans.
The Asian, Dot Com and credit crises have comprehensively proved that the traditional approach is deficient at best. Unlikely outcomes do occur and the frequency of their occurrence is increasing. Static scenarios and limited sensitivity analysis neglect probability and the multitude of permutations of outcomes that might exist between expected and unlikely events. In summary – typically, strategy poorly accounts for risk.
Further: strategic, economic, statistical and financial analysis typically only align in specific recommendations. The leadership decision making process occurs as an adjunct. An integrated approach is needed.
Our integrated approach statistically analyses historic data and builds a comprehensive database for future projections. We simulate time series for all key parameters and produce probability distributed outcomes. From these we are accurately able to describe scenarios in terms of contributing conditions and their relative impact. We are able to describe permutations by their probability. We test recommendations against simulations and specific scenarios and describe comparisons in terms of full income statement and balance sheet effect. Each stage of the analytical process is evident to the leadership and management team. Analysis is prepared with client joint team members and results are therefore understood and repeatable.
For example, we have worked with a mining client over a number of years to assist with financing and commodity contracting decisions on the basis of shareholder risk appetite. Risk appetite was determined through mean variance analysis of industry peers. Commodity prices were simulated based on historic time series analysis adjusted for economic and cyclical fundamentals. Financial deals and balance sheet structure together with commodity contracts and hedging were tested against the shareholder risk appetite. Risk/return equivalent combinations within risk appetite limits were then recommended. The leadership and management teams understood each step of the process and as a result decision making was aligned and efficient.
Beyond a purely market focused approach, our client will be able to incorporate operational uncertainty. Ore sampling allows mine planning to be incorporated in the overall risk/return modelling. Investment and production planning can therefore be connected to market and financial analysis.
Similarly, market segment strategies for a consumer products company might be measured for the portfolio effects on the firm’s overall returns and return volatility (risk). Capital investment decisions for expanded production capacity can be measured against certainty of demand in an integrated firm wide approach.
Strategy is not just better when integrated with economic, statistical and financial analysis – it is imperative to follow an integrated approach in today’s environment.
Strategy is useless without implementation. We work with client teams from initial engagement and build sustainable capacity. At a leading investment bank, we built an in-house reengineering team to continue analysis and deliver identified results. The embedded methodology has been effectively carried forward and the team members now lead analysis in the business units. The project achieved a significant culture change. Previous projects had struggled to build delivery momentum. The project team delivered significant benefits and continue an approach the delivers short-term results and long term change.
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