Want FREE Templates on Digital Transformation? Download our FREE compilation of 50+ slides. This is an exclusive promotion being run on LinkedIn.

Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Core Competencies Analysis for Growth-Driven Technology Firm

Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in Core Competencies Analysis to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, KPIs, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. We followed this management consulting approach for this case study.

Reading time: 7 minutes

Consider this scenario: A prominent technology firm in the global market is struggling with the rapid increase in its core competencies due to a substantial expansion in business scope over the last two years.

The company has made significant leaps in growth, diversifying its product portfolio and entering new markets. However, this rapid expansion has obscured the firm's true strengths, fostering operational inefficiencies, and affecting strategic focus, ultimately leading to disparities in the firm's performance across its different business functions.

Hypothesis on the situation suggests the firm is grappling with its core competencies due to a lack of structured approach in identifying and consolidating its key strengths amidst rapid business expansion. A robust Core Competencies Analysis is needed to address this issue. Following a 6-phase approach to this analysis can help the firm streamline its competencies, optimize strategic focus and gain competitive advantage.


A 6-phase Core Competencies Analysis would encompass the following steps:

  1. Identification: Map out all competencies across company functions and evaluate each for distinctiveness and synergy.
  2. Evaluation: Analyze the value creation potential of each identified competency—how does each competency contribute to customer value or create a competitive advantage?
  3. Validation: Corroborate the value of key competencies with internal and external stakeholders, including employees, suppliers, and customers.
  4. Mapping: Map the core competencies to the key business areas, providing a visual representation of the links between competencies and business lines.
  5. Integration: Formally integrate the validated core competencies into the company's strategy and operations—aligning business processes, talent management, and capital investment to reinforce these competencies.
  6. Monitoring: Establish a monitoring and review process to continuously assess and refine the core competencies over time, keeping pace with business evolution and market dynamics.

Learn more about Competitive Advantage Talent Management Core Competencies

For effective implementation, take a look at these Core Competencies Analysis best practices:

Organizational Design and Capability Analysis (31-slide PowerPoint deck)
Leadership Competency Model (25-slide PowerPoint deck)
Competency Model & Matrix Development (37-page Word document)
5 Leadership Practices of Capabilities-Driven Strategy (CDR) (25-slide PowerPoint deck)
Capabilities-Driven Strategy (CDS) (24-slide PowerPoint deck)
View additional Core Competencies Analysis best practices

Are you familiar with Flevy? We are you shortcut to immediate value.
Flevy provides business best practices—the same as those produced by top-tier consulting firms and used by Fortune 100 companies. Our best practice business frameworks, financial models, and templates are of the same caliber as those produced by top-tier management consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture. Most were developed by seasoned executives and consultants with 20+ years of experience.

Trusted by over 10,000+ Client Organizations
Since 2012, we have provided best practices to over 10,000 businesses and organizations of all sizes, from startups and small businesses to the Fortune 100, in over 130 countries.
AT&T GE Cisco Intel IBM Coke Dell Toyota HP Nike Samsung Microsoft Astrazeneca JP Morgan KPMG Walgreens Walmart 3M Kaiser Oracle SAP Google E&Y Volvo Bosch Merck Fedex Shell Amgen Eli Lilly Roche AIG Abbott Amazon PwC T-Mobile Broadcom Bayer Pearson Titleist ConEd Pfizer NTT Data Schwab

Potential Challenges

The methodology described comes with client concerns over the potential disruption of business operations during the implementation phase, the validity of the competencies identified, and the time required for measurable results to surface. These concerns can be subdued by ensuring minimal operational interruptions through intelligent project management, justifying competencies selection through data backing, and setting realistic expectations for process maturity.

Learn more about Project Management Disruption

Case Studies

Several companies illustrate the importance of core competencies analysis. IBM, for instance, realigned its business strategy in 1993 under CEO Lou Gerstner, identifying its core competency as integrating customer IT systems. They refocused their business around this competency, which generated $81 billion in revenue by 1998.

Explore additional related case studies

Sample Deliverables

  1. Core Competencies Assessment Report (PowerPoint)
  2. Competency Mapping Matrix (Excel)
  3. Strategic Integration Plan (MS Word)
  4. Communications Toolkit (PowerPoint)
  5. Monitoring Framework (Excel)

Explore more Core Competencies Analysis deliverables

Building Organizational Capacity

Training programs and workshops can serve as an avenue for building capacity and awareness about the concept of core competencies. This creates cross-functional alignment, enabling employees to understand and work towards enhancing these competencies.


Benchmarking with industry leaders or similar sized companies helps in adding perspective to the analysis. This aids in understanding to what extent a competency could be considered a potential source of differential advantage against competition.

Learn more about Benchmarking

Core Competencies Analysis Best Practices

To improve the effectiveness of implementation, we can leverage best practice documents in Core Competencies Analysis. These resources below were developed by management consulting firms and Core Competencies Analysis subject matter experts.

Addressing Executional Risks

When embarking on the core competencies analysis, there may surface concerns about the risk associated with business disruptions in the implementation process. Executives might worry that day-to-day business operations suffer due to the effort and resources being allocated to the analysis and subsequent strategic shift. To address this risk, the company should strategically phase the implementation process, whereby analytical groundwork is laid without interrupting operational processes. This staging allows the core operations of the business to remain intact while the analysis is being conducted. When business as usual continues uninterrupted, stakeholders can maintain their focus on delivering existing customer value as the organization simultaneously explores the competencies that will shape its future strategic framework. The lesson here is one of balance – achieving the organization’s long-term strategic objectives without sacrificing its immediate operational imperatives.

Learn more about Core Competencies Analysis

Validating Competencies Framework

Another critical aspect executives may be concerned with is the validity of the competencies identified through the analysis. The concern becomes how to ensure the competencies selected are not just reflective of current success, but are also sustainable and aligned with future market dynamics. To address this, the organization should engage in a rigorous validation process, liaising with key stakeholders, such as customers and industry experts, while also incorporating benchmarking data from leading players in the market. The McKinsey Quarterly validates this by continuously emphasizing the importance of stakeholder engagement in identifying true competitive advantages. Moreover, bringing external advisors or consultants to challenge the internal perspective and provide additional layers of validation might also bolster confidence in the core competencies framework identified.

Learn more about Benchmarking

Time Frame of Initial Results

Executives might also be concerned about the time required before any measurable results can be witnessed. It is crucial to set realistic expectations for the time it will take to see the benefits of restructuring around core competencies. These complex strategic shifts involve multiple dimensions of the business and will not yield overnight success. Transparency around timelines is of paramount importance. Executives should be briefed that initial results - in the form of efficiency boosts, increased strategic clarity, and heightened employee engagement - can be seen within 6 to 12 months . However, the full impact on market positioning, revenue growth, and competitive differentiation is often a multi-year process. This is where a monitoring framework becomes crucial, allowing for regular assessments and demonstrating the incremental value generated as the organization’s competency focus matures and evolves.

Learn more about Employee Engagement Revenue Growth

Alignment with Corporate Culture

Identifying core competencies is one side of the coin – the other is ensuring that these competencies are integrated within the corporate culture. A competency that does not align with the company’s culture is unlikely to be sustainable. It is, therefore, crucial to tailor the integration and communication of these competencies in ways that resonate with and are reinforced by the organization’s cultural norms and employee behavior patterns. Workshops, training programs, and leadership communications need to emphasize not just the strategic significance of the competencies, but also their cultural fit. When competencies are communicated as an intrinsic part of the organization's DNA, they are more readily adopted by the team, leading to a seamless cultural assimilation which in turn drives strategic execution.

Learn more about Corporate Culture Leadership

Enhancing Core Competencies with Emerging Technologies

With the rapid advancement in technology, executives will have to consider how emerging technologies could potentially enhance or disrupt their identified core competencies. A continuous scanning of the technological landscape is crucial to foresee such potential impacts. Whether it's leveraging artificial intelligence for better customer insights, using blockchain for security enhancements, or adopting new software to streamline operations, modern technology offers a plethora of tools a firm can employ to buttress its core competencies. It is paramount that as part of the monitoring phase, the organization stays abreast of technological trends and integrates them into their competencies framework where appropriate. This can lead to a sustained competitive edge and ensure the company's competencies evolve in line with market changes.

Learn more about Artificial Intelligence Customer Insight

Additional Resources Relevant to Core Competencies Analysis

Here are additional best practices relevant to Core Competencies Analysis from the Flevy Marketplace.

Did you know?
The average daily rate of a McKinsey consultant is $6,625 (not including expenses). The average price of a Flevy document is $65.

Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • Streamlined operational processes, achieving a 15% increase in overall efficiency within the first year post-implementation.
  • Identified and validated three core competencies that now form the strategic backbone of the company, leading to a clearer strategic focus.
  • Enhanced employee engagement and cross-functional alignment through targeted training programs, with a reported 25% increase in employee satisfaction related to clarity of company direction.
  • Implemented a robust monitoring framework that demonstrated a 10% improvement in strategic execution against key performance indicators within the first 12 months.
  • Integrated emerging technologies, particularly artificial intelligence, to bolster customer insights, resulting in a 20% increase in customer satisfaction scores.
  • Reduced operational disruptions during the implementation phase to minimal levels, ensuring business continuity and stakeholder confidence.
  • Established a benchmarking process with industry leaders, leading to continuous improvement and adaptation of core competencies.

The initiative to analyze and streamline the company's core competencies has been markedly successful. The quantifiable improvements in operational efficiency, strategic focus, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction underscore the effectiveness of the approach taken. The minimal operational disruptions, despite the scale of the strategic shift, highlight the adept project management and stakeholder communication strategies employed. However, the success could potentially have been enhanced by an even earlier integration of emerging technologies and a more aggressive approach to benchmarking during the initial phases of the project. These actions might have accelerated the realization of benefits and further solidified the company's competitive positioning.

Given the positive outcomes and lessons learned, the recommended next steps include a deeper exploration of how additional emerging technologies can further enhance the identified core competencies. Additionally, expanding the benchmarking process to include non-traditional competitors and adjacent industries could uncover further areas for differentiation and growth. Finally, a continuous and dynamic review process of the core competencies, with an emphasis on flexibility and adaptability, will ensure that the company remains agile and responsive to market changes and opportunities.

Source: Core Competencies Analysis for Growth-Driven Technology Firm, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

Flevy is the world's largest knowledge base of best practices.

Leverage the Experience of Experts.

Find documents of the same caliber as those used by top-tier consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, Accenture.

Download Immediately and Use.

Our PowerPoint presentations, Excel workbooks, and Word documents are completely customizable, including rebrandable.

Save Time, Effort, and Money.

Save yourself and your employees countless hours. Use that time to work on more value-added and fulfilling activities.

Read Customer Testimonials

Additional Flevy Management Insights

Download our FREE Strategy & Transformation Framework Templates

Download our free compilation of 50+ Strategy & Transformation slides and templates. Frameworks include McKinsey 7-S Strategy Model, Balanced Scorecard, Disruptive Innovation, BCG Experience Curve, and many more.