Gap in the market

Winston Churchill said “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” and by that mark many of us can give ourselves a pat on the back. Unfortunately your chief executive may not see it that way.

So many organisations that I see have a pit of poorly performing systems. The users hold them in low esteem, the IT department has little enthusiasm to improve them and the finance areas are worried about their cost.

So why does the reality look so different from the constant hype of the technology revolution – delivering products and services cheaper, faster and with better quality?

There is a way to be successful with technology projects. Those individuals who have run great change programs would recognize it. Surprisingly there is not a strong presence of firms providing these services (cynics would say that the IT ecosystem makes its money from complexity and rework).

The route to success is to create a connection between the initial strategic idea and the lowest level of detail of the solution.

This powerful technique relies on analysis and traceability – starting with a strategic idea and ending with full benefit realization. It is ineffective to break the chain along the way, purporting to detail strategy in a voluminous document, defining business requirements in isolation to a change agenda or implementing projects without business cases.

The right way to do things relies on experts who can take you through the whole process:

  • Strategic analysis – analysing ideas to provide insight and develop strategic plans
  • Portfolio and Program analysis – picking the right initiatives and formulating them into a program to deliver benefits
  • Project start up analysis – developing the project rationale to steer delivery
  • Requirements and data analysis – creating specifications connected to the original idea
  • Business change – ensuring those benefits are delivered.

Finally you have to add in the sustaining components of continuous improvement and education. That doesn’t seem that hard does it?

So how confident are you that your organisation is creating the connections that deliver success maybe a business analysis service could help you?

Analyse for Success

There is no doubt that developments in technology is presenting huge opportunities for organisations. Who wouldn’t want a driverless car (except taxi drivers) or an intelligent machine that could do everything from improving medical diagnosis to translating languages?

But at the same time, the press is full of stories about IT disasters – from Queensland Health payroll to the Myki card.

Almost every senior executive wears the battle scars of an IT project that did not deliver to expectations. At the same time they cannot ignore technology and hope it goes away. So where do they turn?

There is one sure-fire way to reduce the risks from technology. And if you reduce the risks, you can seize the opportunities!

The approach is not new, not revolutionary and does not rely on an “app”. It is often hidden within the context of business unfriendly terms like enterprise architecture or program blueprinting. But to people who have learned from their battle scars and seen technology success, it can seem a bit obvious.

To get your technology right, you need to get your analysis right!

Implementing a successful technology solution means getting a whole bunch of decisions right. These choices start at the very top of the organization as new technology challenges many businesses operating model. Then there are investment decisions, decisions on approach (e.g. insource or outsource) right down to decisions on what options to present on a screen.

If you haven’t done the analysis, or if you haven’t done it well, every decision is a risk and some of them will fall out wrong!

Of course many executives have also been burnt by poor analysis – usually getting the impression that vast fortunes are being spent on spinning the wheels. Analysis has to be targeted, relevant and joined up to be of use.

The key to success for any executive dealing with technology is to have access to a trustworthy, high quality analysis capability.

Organisations need to reset their thinking, learn from past mistakes and focus on doing technology right. This means analysing the right things to the right level, using the insights to set strategy and then delivering. Excellent program, project and service management teams working with great analysts deliver amazing outcomes.

So executives need to reset their views on analysis. They need to arm themselves with an analysis capability and they need to insist on sufficient analysis at all levels of a technology project.

They could do worse than to restate W. Edwards Deming famous quote “In God we trust; all others bring data”

So how confident do you feel that your organisation is doing it’s analysis right?

Driving Innovation

The key to any organisation driving innovation is knowing the organisation, understanding key strengths, weaknesses, competitors, customer satisfaction and ultimately values of the organisation. Business process modeling is the best technique to illuminate the true value of an organisation.

We hear often about Business Process Management (BPM), however the danger is these initiatives forget about the business need and get carried away with the mapping of business processes or focus or the notation correctness. Anchoring the project on services/products and business process driven requirements, a Business Analyst (BA) can understand the business process for a service or product in order to elicit the business requirements.

Correctly structured business process driven requirements focus on the business need – delivering services or products or both to customers. These services and products are inevitably delivered through business processes, people and technology. Therefore it is critical that the BA always considers business process within their analysis to discover the business need, related to the delivery of services/products and therefore drive innovation.

When working on the IIBA Competency Model the core team discussed different job titles such as Business Process Analyst, Business Analyst, Business Rules Analyst, Business Systems Analyst, Data Analyst and all agreed that the key role was the Business Analyst who tightly stitched and traced all the elements together.

Innovation – The process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay. Sounds like the BA role provides the greatest opportunity to lead and influence stakeholders to make more informed business decisions, assisting organisations to become more strategic, flexible, customer focused and innovative in delivering services and products.

Are you using business analysis as a service to drive innovation in your organisation?