These are the top level processes that an organization is exposed to. These include tasks that need a high level of intellectual capability and will have wide spread effects in the structure and functioning of the organization. The nature of these processes can be compared to those that the human brain performs.
Here are some of the characteristic features of these processes and what makes them so challenging and interesting.
Multiple Sources of Data
A strategic process is concerned with making decisions. Decisions are made only after data from various sources is received. This data is received from both within the organization as well as from the environment outside the organization. To add to this, it is the job of the management to ensure that the data is relevant and credible. Hence strategic processes face a data overload and also a possibility that the data may be incorrect. It is this decision making in the face of uncertainty that makes designing a strategic process challenging.
Converting Data to Information
It is quite possible that an organization may have all the data related to the decision at hand, but it may not have the expertise to make sense of the data. For instance, in hindsight everyone sees the Sub-prime mortgage crisis as inevitable, but some of the brightest managers in the world could not see it coming despite the obvious signals in the data.
Strategic processes therefore must also ensure that the relevant skills are present in the system in the form of human or artificial intelligence that will help convert data into actionable information. A big leap forward in this regard is the idea of business intelligence systems.
Even when actionable information is available in front of the management in the form of alternatives, the payoffs are unknown and uncertain. This is what makes it difficult to create a science of decision making which is right now an art.
Is It Possible To Create Standard Operating Procedures In Strategic Processes ?
There are some who believe that strategic processes cannot be dehumanized. Although they are processes, they still are dependant on people and their intellectual capability. A standard operating procedure in this regard is only as possible as the standard operating procedure to attain greatness or nirvana!
Proponents of this theory believe that a skillful team is required at least at the top. This is justified as the reason behind outrageous executive compensations. However there are others in the field of artificial intelligence who are trying to find a mental model that can replicate the intelligence of these great business leaders and make it process oriented.