A collection of magic tricks contained not only artifacts needed to conduct the maneuvers themselves. It also included detailed instructions as to how to perform each trick. In much the same vein, we present a compendium of the ‘tricks of the trade’ associated with contemporary business analysis and business design practices. The techniques are presented in alphabetical order with a brief description of each method.
|Action research||Action research is an approach to systematically evaluating interventions in some domains of an organization. Problems are identified, changes planned, the intervention made, and the intervention evaluated in terms of lessons not only for the organization itself but for business analysis more generally.|
|Affinity mapping||This technique is beneficial within a problem setting and involves identifying various issues related to a problem situation. The problems are then grouped or clustered together in terms of their affinity.|
|Ansoff’s box or matrix||Used as a tool for strategic analysis, this matrix plots existing and new products produced by an organization against existing markets and new markets for these products. This helps Ansoff define four different growth strategies. Market penetration is where the firm seeks to increase its market share by selling more of its existing products in its current market. Market development involves targeting existing|
products in new markets. Product development means creating new products for existing markets. Diversification consists in developing new products for potential new markets.
|Balanced scorecard||This technique is mainly used to help define and manage performance within organizations. It suggests viewing an organization from at least four different perspectives. The business process perspective focuses on internal processes and whether these are meeting targets set from the organization’s mission. The customer perspective focuses on determining whether products and services and after-sale service produce satisfied customers. The financial view is the typical way of assessing performance in terms of profit and loss. Finally, the learning and growth perspective focuses on the potential of human capital to solve organizational problems.|
|Benchmarking||Benchmarking is usually conducted to compare the strengths and weaknesses of some organization unit against some other comparable team. For instance, a given production process might be analyzed and compared to a competitor’s.|
|Benefits management||Benefits management, sometimes called benefits realization or realization management, is based on the assumption that an investment in some change is only successful if the benefits stakeholders were hoping to get are realized. A benefit of this philosophy is a measurable change (an outcome) that positively impacts some domains. Approaches to benefits management typically emphasize defining outcomes and how they are measured. Change is then planned based on achieving results. Once the change is implemented, then it is reviewed against benefit measures.|
|Boston box||A tool for strategic analysis, the Boston box is a matrix that distinguishes between high and low market share of and on the other dimension distinguishes between low and high rates of market growth. This matrix can be used to think about an organization’s business units, activities or products. For instance, a product would be considered a star if it is likely to command a high market share in a fast-growing market. A cash cow is a product that commands a high market share in a slow-growing market. A ‘question mark’ is a product with a low market share but in a fast-growing market. Finally, a ‘dog’ is a product with a low market share in a slow-growing market.|
|Brainstorming||Brainstorming is a technique applied on an individual or group level to solve a specified problem. Creativity is encouraged through generating ideas in an open, spontaneous and free-form manner. Judgements about the relative value of ideas are deferred until after the brainstorming session is completed.|
|Business event analysis||A process is typically seen as triggered by an event. Events may be external such as the customer ordering a product or internal such as stock level reaching reorder level. Analyzing the typical events that affect some processes through techniques such as entity-life histories or use cases is therefore important.|
|Business motivation model||The Business Motivation Model is a modelling approach for strategic planning. This framework is produced by the Object Management Group (OMG) and essentially consists of a standardized vocabulary designed for expressing business plans (specifications for business models). A business plan is a specification for a business model. The declared aim of this modelling approach is to allow the clear tracking of the motivation or the reasons for the design of a particular business model. The aim is also to enable better alignment of business plans/models to ICT systems through the mediating concepts of business processes and rules.|
|Business process modelling||Process modelling is the activity of specifying, usually visually, the workings of some activity system. A popular technique is Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN), developed by the Business Process Management Initiative and is now maintained by the Object Management Group. It aims to provide a standard notation that is readily understandable by various business stakeholders, including business analysts who create and refine business processes, technical developers responsible for implementing the ICT systems they need, and business managers who manage and control them.|
|Business rules analysis||Business rules make up a substantial amount of the functionality of a commercial ICT system. Business rules implement a decision strategy within some process. Typically, such rules ensure that the data system reflects its information system and activity system accurately. Such practices are usually expressed as conditional expressions such as IF-THEN rules.|