Michael D. Moberly January 4, 2012
It’s surely the fiduciary responsibility of the decade. But, one in which there is no (proverbial) silver bullet or one size fits all template that companies and their management teams can follow to unlock the value (exploit) their intangible assets.
A prudent starting point to doing so for any management team is to accept (embrace) the economic fact that, conservatively speaking, 65+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, and building blocks for growth today lie in – directly evolve from intangible assets! In other words, company value is no longer lodged in tangible (physical) assets, rather intangible assets! In today’s knowledge intensive companies, that 65+% figure represents a global business reality that’s firmly embedded and irreversible.
Today, an increasingly necessary requisite to company profitability and sustainability lies in management team’s ability and determination to mobilize and exploit those long overlooked assets. Unfortunately, in numerous instances, experience tells us intangibles are still routinely:
- taken for granted, dismissed, or neglected
- inadvertently allowed to become stagnant and not replenished, and otherwise
- overlooked as viable sources of value and revenue to be exploited
As Weston Anson consistently states and as emphasized in Cass Business School (UK) research, the value of intangible assets depends upon – is related to how their used. In other words the context. This means each company management team must:
1. devote time to identifying and unraveling individual and/or clusters or chains of intangible assets, and
2. assess the status of each asset relative to its:
a. legal defensibility
b. being part of a company’s ‘building blocks’ necessary to achieve/strengthen competitive advantages and margins
c. stability – fragility as a sustainable contributor to company value and source of revenue
As is so often the case, progress in the ‘intangible asset arena’ is largely dependent on a management teams’ receptivity to become learned advocates of intangibles and recognize them as effective tools to stimulate change, spark innovation, and make improvements in their company’s business processes and ultimately, its bottom line.
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