Geoffrey Moore is a theorist and consultant who developed a very powerful operating model for how companies should assign scarce time, money, and resources in the pursuit of innovation and profit. And considering that you're reading a book about ESA—a sign that indicates you're thinking long and hard about how to assign your company's critical and scarce IT resources for at least the next two to ten years—Moore's model, illustrated in Figure 2-3, might prove of some interest. It's what SAP itself uses to make the business case for ESA. Here it is:
Any corporate activity that increases shareholder value is core. Anything that doesn't is context.
That's the handy rule of thumb, at least. It sounds simple, maybe even simplistic, but let's pause to think it through for a moment. As Moore notes in his book Living on the Fault Line (Collins), "a business process is core when its outcome directly affects the competitive advantage of the company in its targeted markets. Here is the ground upon which companies must differentiate to win power, and the goal of core work is to create and sustain that differentiation."
From that line of reasoning, Moore reaches two conclusions: "For core activities, the goal is to differentiate as much as possible.... And the winning approach to context tasks is not to differentiate, but rather to execute them as effectively and efficiently in as standardized a manner as possible." That does not mean that efficient ...