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Strategy is not a plan, it is a process.

The first step for a competative advantange is to define your business strategy. Focus your company on your differentiation factors and reach parity on mission critical processes through the Purpose Alignment and Strategic Intent Model developed by Niel Nickolaisen.

What It Is
A method for aligning business decisions and process design around business purpose. In practice, it generates an immediately-usable, pragmatic set of decision filters that can be cascaded throughout the organization. These decision filters tether directly to strategy.

When to Use It
  • To define business and IT strategy.
  • To strategically and tactically align IT and the business.
  • To reduce resistance to process improvements.
  • To evaluate and implement large system projects.
  • To improve business value by improving resource allocation.

The Purpose Alignment and Strategic Intent Model





Excel and

Who Cares

Achieve and Maintain Parity

Low High
Mission Critical

When aligning around purpose, evaluate business processes on two criteria. First, the extent to which the business process differentiates the organization in the marketplace. Second, the extent to which the process is mission critical to the organization. This yields four business purposes as shown above. With purpose defined, we know how to design and allocate resources to business processes (for example, we design the lower right processes to achieve and maintain parity with the marketplace). The critical step in this evaluation is to decide what generates market differentiation. This is where purpose alignment intersects with strategy.

Put this tool to work.
Niel is published regularly in CIO Decisions and CIO Leaders magazine. Read his articles and find out where he next speaks. To have Niel or an Accelinnova member present this tool in your company, contact us at +1 . 612 . 605 . 2370 or via email at

Accelinnova           +1 . 612 . 605 . 2370