Anderson MacGyver’s MultiModal Business Activity Model

Effectively designing the IT operating model and technology governance is one of the key success factors for any digital transformation strategy. But how do you start? Meet Anderson MacGyver’s ‘Multimodal Business Activity Model’ – an academically validated framework that guides the optimal design of technology practices.

With digital technologies now center stage in any organization’s strategy, major investments are flowing into the transformation of IT functions. However, the downside is that digital transformation is notorious for its pitfalls, with a study of 900 cases worldwide showing that only 30% can be considered (somewhat) successful.

At Andersen MacGyver, a strategic IT consultant with offices in the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden, they know this all too well. The firm has been advising CIOs and senior management on technology since 2013, including how digital can be embedded into all parts of the organization – beginning with an empowered governance framework.

Anderson MacGyver's Multimodal Business Activity Model

In 2014 this led to the birth of the ‘Multimodal Business Activity Model’, which was first developed when a client asked the firm to review its application portfolio. “We looked for a way to link the application portfolio to business objectives. We didn’t find a clear framework for this in practice and literature, and we decided to develop our own,” said Albert Sprockholt, principal at Andersen MacGyver with previous CIO experience. remembered.

Sprockholt co-developed it with Fabian Haizenga and Andersen MacGyver co-founder Gerard Vijers. He made sure the model is grounded within academic research. Sprockholt gives guest lectures at Utrecht University, while Wijsers still serves as a part-time professor at Nyenrode Business University and as a senior research fellow at Delft University of Technology.

Before joining Anderson MacGyver, Withers and Sprockholt said, “Our model is one of the few consulting structures that is built on an academic foundation.”

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Fast forward eight years after its inception, and the model has become a cornerstone of any association with Anderson MacGyver. Wijsers: “We use models – in one form or another – in practically all of our operations to gain a clear understanding of the strategic importance of business activities and the way they are affected by changes in the environment.”

“This makes it a powerful tool for assessing investment decisions around digital transformation,” Sprockholt continued.

“Multimodality provides an excellent starting point for digital transformation and the alignment between business, technology and data.”

About the Multimodal Business Activity Model

Central to the model are business activities. “There are a few reasons for this, Sprockholt says.

“First, activities are easy to understand: an activity is about what one does and the result, without the details of how it is done. Second, business activities are a fundamental part of Porter’s strategic thinking. Its Further, business activities are used more frequently as a theoretical building block, for example in the Business Model Canvas and more recent literature.

The model hinges on two dimensions that differentiate business activities on some key attributes for digital transformation and strategy development. The first dimension is dynamics – this spans the strategic choice that an organization makes about how to deal with the impact of external changes in the environment on a business activity.

The second is differentiation – this spectrum plots the degree to which business activities are distinctive or distinctive.

The activities are then plotted in 2×2 quadrants with four different types of business activities. These are called ‘ways’. Classification of business activities can aid in decision making about the technical and organizational aspects of these activities, from the selection of technical solutions to the need to source activities or form teams.

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Multimodal Business Activity Model, Anderson MacGyver

specific activities (purple) are business activities that are specific and highly responsive to change. They are business activities that play a central role in the development of new and innovative products and services in response to changing customer demands or in response to developments in society, technology, or the actions of competitors.

Example: developing sustainable, innovative alternatives to existing services and products, or products and services tailored to customer wants.

specific activities (orange) are activities that take place in a relatively stable environment and are specialized because they require special knowledge, resources, methods. Specialized activities differentiate themselves in finding specific and often complex solutions or results by applying specific knowledge, expertise and resources to more or less defined problems.

Think technical maintenance of complex infrastructure, time-critical processes, integration issues, specialist work in hospitals or organizations in charge of implementing specific legislation such as tax authorities.

general activities (Green) are business activities that are characterized by a relatively stable environment and that do not differ from comparable activities in other organizations. Normal activities are usually designed to provide good and reliable products, services or results with good value/performance.

Normal activities are relatively stable over time and are performed (uniformly) by most organizations. Examples of general activities are ancillary activities such as administration, purchasing, and primary activities of companies that provide products and services that compete on price with comparable products of competitors.

adaptive activities (blue) are business activities that have relatively high mobility, but which do not differ in distinctive features from comparable activities, products or services of other organizations. Adaptive activities are often adapted in response to changing customer demands or developments in society or technology.

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Activities move with time. Examples of adaptive activities are business and ancillary activities that need to continually adapt to the actions of competitors or as a result of rapidly changing environmental conditions, such as the use of new technologies or changing consumer preferences in the fashion, entertainment or social worlds. Media.


The main outcome of the ‘Multimodal Business Activity Model’ is that it provides a practical and simple tool for analyzing the business activities of organizations and their use of data and IT, a roadmap and action plan for digital transformation. expands.

“The modus operandi of business activity supports decision-making on many aspects related to technology and data,” explained Lotte Neumeijer, who has played a driving role in the further development of the model over the past two years.

“The list of potential use cases for multimodality is long. Some examples – insights can help decide what kind of technology and data solutions are needed to support activities, help high-performing teams manage their technology Help prepare activities, or highlight organizing collaborations with third-party partners.

Equally important — digital transformation ultimately results in people-driven transformation — is that the model is an “excellent tool for dialogue and stakeholder alignment,” Sprockholt said. “The model aligns stakeholders’ perspectives across levels and helps jointly understand and determine the future strategic direction of business activities.”

Wijgers concluded: “It is a conversational tool that creates a shared language, it focuses on the why of a business activity or group of activities among a group of stakeholders in order to realize the objectives of a business strategy.” What else needs to change.”

For more information about the model: Download the ‘Multimodal Business Activity Model’ white paper by Anderson MacGyver.


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