Business analysis is an important process that can help outline current problems that companies face and develop a strategy for overcoming them successfully. Tools used for business analysis differ a lot in their structure, applications, and benefits. These tools can be used both by professional business analytics and by managers who are willing to determine issues and future strategies. The present paper will discuss some of the main tools in business analytics and describe their purpose, benefits, and uses.
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“As Is” Process Analysis
“As is” process analysis is an essential tool in business analytics, as it is used to define the current state of certain processes in a company. For example, in production companies, “as is” process analysis can be applied to the manufacturing of a particular product. According to Madison (2018), “as is” process analysis involves creating a detailed process map that describes all steps involved in a particular process, from beginning to completion.
The map can be used to ensure the clarity of operations or determine unnecessary tasks that can be eliminated without losing productivity. The map can then be used to analyze the process in detail using five lenses of analysis: customers, frustrations, time, cost, and quality (Madison, 2018). When problems in any of these areas arise, this indicates that the process requires improvement to promote efficiency. Thus, this tool can help to determine issues and improve performance, which makes it useful for clients in various settings.
“To Be” Process Analysis
“To be” process analysis is often used together with “as is” process analysis, as the two tools complement one another. “To be” process analysis can help to determine potential issues and gaps in processes that are not yet implemented, thus enabling companies to prevent various issues. Brandenburg (2018) explains that “to be” process analysis defines all steps involved in a planned process. Then, the steps are analyzed to ensure that they are necessary, efficient, and do not cause issues during later stages of the process.
This tool can also help to outline the risks involved at various stages of the process. For example, if there was a technical issue during one step of production, it can halt the entire production process or only affect the quality of one finished product. “To be” process analysis can help to determine the risks and their levels of influence, thus assisting the management in identifying focus areas for risk management.
Performance measurement is also a critical tool for business analysis. Performance measurement involves defining measurable process outcomes and tracking performance continuously to ensure that processes achieve the set goals (Miyake, 2015). Measures used in business process analysis can include financial measures, including sales, and customer measures, such as customer satisfaction, as well as process and people measures (Miyake, 2015).
It is essential to ensure that the outcomes can be measured consistently and accurately; otherwise, performance measurement might not achieve the desired results. For instance, for manufacturing processes, outcomes can be measured as the number of items produced in a specified time period. If there are any deviations from the target performance, the management can use other analysis tools to determine the source of the problem.
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Performance measurement can also be applied to human resources to motivate employees using rewards. Therefore, performance measurement can benefit companies by identifying issues and enhancing human resource management.
Surveys and Interviews
Surveys, or questionnaires, and interviews are two tools that can be used for collecting data that could help in business analytics. Questionnaires include a set of questions, on paper or online, that are distributed to and filled in by a group of people (Harris & Brown, 2010).
Customer satisfaction surveys are examples of questionnaires designed to evaluate the quality of products and services and their ability to fulfill customers’ needs. Interviews are face-to-face conversations, during which a person responds to set questions (Harris & Brown, 2010). Both surveys and interviews can be used by businesses to collect meaningful data on processes, products, and operations. However, surveys are usually cheaper and can be used to obtain a broader scope of data, while interviews provide in-depth information (Harris & Brown, 2010). Using both tools allows businesses to improve their decision-making and problem-solving processes, thus contributing to success.
Root Cause Analysis
Root cause analysis is a helpful tool that can be used to diagnose the reason for poor process outcomes. Vidyasagar (2016) states that the Five Whys technique is one of the most common ways to perform root cause analysis. The method consists of breaking down problems by asking “Why?” repeatedly, thus reaching their root cause. This tool is particularly useful in quality management efforts because it enables the management to determine a particular step in the process that causes quality issues. Thus, root cause analysis benefits businesses by improving product and service quality and increasing the efficiency of operations.
SWOT analysis is a tool used for analyzing the company’s internal and external environment. It looks at intrinsic factors that influence business success (strengths and weaknesses) and external forces that affect the company (opportunities and threats). Therefore, SWOT analysis provides a comprehensive picture of the company’s current situation. It can also be used to devise strategies for future development.
For example, if one of the company’s weaknesses is a limited product range, it could seek to diversify it to attract more customers, thus earning a larger market share. However, if a company faces a threat of competition, it would be more useful to focus on the quality of products to promote customer loyalty and increase sales. SWOT analysis is a relatively simple and low-cost tool, which enables most types of businesses to use it (Nordmeyer, 2018). Overall, SWOT analysis provides several important benefits for businesses, including the understanding of the current situation, assistance in strategy development, and improved competitiveness.
The competitive comparison involves creating a document comparing a company’s products or processes to that of its key competitors. For example, companies can use a competitive comparison to determine best practices in quality management or market research. This tool can help businesses to improve their competitive position by identifying the gaps or features that distinguish them from competitors. As a result of applying this tool, companies can gain a larger market share, enhance their operations, and improve productivity.
Overall, there are numerous tools that can be used by companies in their business analysis efforts. Each tool provides certain benefits to its users, such as the opportunity to increase sales, productivity, or customer satisfaction. Nevertheless, the tools differ in terms of their focus, cost, and use, and thus companies need to have a clear understanding of all the options. This will enable the management to apply tools that are most relevant to the company’s current situation, thus improving the outcomes of business analysis.
Brandenburg, L. (2018). How to analyze a “to be” business process. Web.
Harris, L. R., & Brown, G. T. (2010). Mixing interview and questionnaire methods: Practical problems in aligning data. Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation, 15(1), 1-19.
Madison, D. (2018). Analyzing the “as is” process. Web.
Miyake, D. (2015). Performance measurement vs. performance management. Web.
Nordmeyer, B. (2018). Advantages & disadvantages of SWOT analysis. Web.
Vidyasagar, A. (2016). The art of root cause analysis. Quality Progress, 49(1), 48-49.