About Analyze

Analyze Consulting was founded in 2007 with the purpose to help businesses get to the bottom of and solve business inefficiencies. The cornerstone of this dream is a passion for quality business analysis and project management.

We are motivated and rewarded by helping businesses be more efficient and solve problems.

We believe that the best way for us to do this is to start with a deep and thorough understanding of the problem or opportunity. The discipline and insight that we apply to this enables us to be confident and truly objective about defining the best possible solution.

Our vision is to be the partner of choice in solving business challenges through the appropriate use of technology, process and people.

Get In Touch

Email: info@analyze.co.za

Tel: +27 (0)21 447 5696

Cape Town Office:
The Studios – Unit 314
Old Castle Brewery Building
6 Beach Road
Woodstock
7925

Johannesburg Office:
Block A
Homestead Park
37 Homestead Road
Rivonia
2191

Data analysis

/Data analysis

Delivering value to your customers: 4 business analysis obstacles to overcome

We all know the saying “customer is king”.  It’s a motto that was popularised within the retail industry, but today holds water for pretty much any industry you can think of. With this move to a customer-centric world, developing any new product or service without a clear understanding of your customer’s needs is like serving the perfect steak at your dinner party but then realising that your guests are all vegetarian. Great business analysts understand the importance of the customer within the broader context of any change.  In many ways, they become the voice of the customer, thereby playing a vital role in ensuring that customer value is achieved.  Unfortunately, this can be a very challenging undertaking, especially when the pressures of getting things done as quickly and cheaply as possible come into play. To ensure that you’re not missing the mark from a value perspective, take note of the following analysis obstacles that need to be overcome: Obstacle # 1:  Defining who the customer is Look beyond the obvious.  Customers can be both internal and external as well as directly or indirectly linked to your service or production chain.  Start with a list of direct consumers, then flesh this out by looking at their consumers, and so forth.  Once you have a comprehensive list, the next step is to get an understanding of each party’s needs and how they may be inter-connected. Obstacle # 2:  Constantly evolving customer needs In today’s fast-paced world, customer needs are constantly evolving as technology continues to advance and competitors continue to push the boundaries of what is possible.  If you don’t want to get left behind, you need to have your finger on the pulse.  Ongoing market & customer research should be at the top of the priority pile, ensuring that you’re able to track how customer needs are changing and then adjust accordingly. Obstacle # 3:  Listening for the unsaid Good analysis stems from not just implementing what someone says they want, but from pulling that idea apart and understanding all of the supporting factors that have led to this request.  In most instances, there’s more than one way to satisfy a need, and it’s the BAs role to attack an issue from all angles to get to the best solution possible.  Imagine being able to take someone’s request and then not just delivering to their expectations, but creating something even better than they had imagined… #priceless Obstacle # 4:  Adapting to new requirements gathering techniques Gone are the days where the BA is simply seen as a documenter of what people want.  You know, that person that joins the project early, produces a whole bunch of documents and then leaves.  Requirements gathering has become a far more interactive and iterative process, with analysts playing more of a consultative role throughout the lifespan of a product or service.  BAs today need to bring their own ideas to the table, they need to challenge the status quo & they need to encourage new ways of thinking. When it comes to delivering value to customers, experience goes a long way.  If you feel you may benefit from supplementing your BA competency, Get in touch Share this:

Creating context for The Context Diagram

Often, when business analysts start projects, they are required to define the scope of work that will be involved in implementing a new system. One way to do this, is to draw up a context diagram that graphically illustrates the full scope of the system. What is a context diagram? This is a simple but powerful tool that clearly shows the system under consideration and the various external entities that interact with it.  A context diagram shows at a very high level: The system boundaries The external enties – these could be people or other systems The information that flows between the system and these external entities External entities may include various stakeholders and systems that have direct interactions with the system under consideration. It is not to be confused with the use case diagram which is more detailed and includes detail down to the process level. Why is it important? This very useful tool is often overlooked by business analysts as they believe it does not add much value. The team at Analyze, however, believe that it is a critical step in the initiation phase of a project. The context diagram is a tool that will be a central reference point for scope. How to draw one up? The key is to ensure that the context diagram depicts the project scope simply but accurately. Here are our top tips on drawing the context diagram: Start by drawing the main system under consideration in the middle of the page. List all external entities around the system. NB. Only list those external entities that have direct contact with the system. Taking each external entity, describe the relationship it has with the system. This relationship includes – what kind of information the entity will require from the system and what their main interactions with the system will be. Represent this relationship with a line between the entity and the system. Use an arrow on each line to indicate the direction of the information flow, either towards the external entity or towards the system. Describe the information that moves between the entity and the system. Information may only flow in one direction. Follow step 3 and 4 again for the opposite relationship i.e. relationship between the system and the external entity. An example? Take for example a new e-commerce website being developed for a retail chain. The main system under consideration will be the e-commerce website. The various external entities may include customers, staff, management and payment system. Customers can register on the system, view different goods for sale, place orders, make payments, track orders etc. Staff can update inventory (prices and goods) on the system, view customer orders, track customer orders, process orders placed by customers etc. Management can access reports on goods sold, user statistics, stock levels etc. The payment system can process payments, send notification of successful/failed payments etc. Ecommerce Website Example You can see from the example above, that the context diagram is really valuable in defining the scope of a project at a high level. This ensures that all project stakeholders are on the same page from the get go. Having problems defining scope? Contact us today to find out how we can help you in defining the scope of your project. Share this:

How to avoid the analysis paralysis trap

Analysis paralysis is defined as a state of over-analysing or over-thinking a situation to the point where a decision is never made or action is never taken.  Sound familiar?   With growing pressure to get things right the first time, many businesses are finding themselves in this difficult situation when evaluating new initiatives.  But there are ways to avoid the analysis paralysis trap.   Here are our top tips: Keep the number of options in check – Too many options lead to clutter and unnecessary noise.  Create a set of non-negotiable base requirements and use these to eliminate the unrealistic or undesirable options very early on.   Create a firm deadline (and stick to it) – The biggest mistake is to leave things open-ended.  In the absence of a deadline everyone can work towards, you and your team will easily come up with a host of excuses as to why additional time is required.  Sometimes a bit of pressure is needed in order to move forward.   Don’t strive for perfection up front – Accept that you can’t plan for every possible permutation or unknown risk up front.  Your direction may need to change as you progress and more details are uncovered, but that’s OK.   Focus on what you can control – Global warming, the political climate and ever-changing customer trends are all examples of factors which are out of your control.  The trick, however, is to not use these as reasons for inaction.  If you’ve got a business issue that needs solving, focus on your people, process and technology to find a way to improve the situation instead of waiting for a larger external factor to correct itself.   Break it down into manageable pieces – If the overall task seems too daunting to solve, break it down into manageable pieces or project phases. Being able to achieve smaller milestones towards a bigger goal will create a feeling of accomplishment while also increasing confidence in yourself and your team.   Stick to your core values – If an initiative doesn’t align with your core business values, scrap it immediately.  There’s no point in investing further energy into something that just doesn’t feel like the right fit from the start.   Plan for the worst – Ask yourself:  What’s the worst that could happen if this initiative failed?  By understanding the worst-case scenario you’ll realise that either A) It’s not a train smash, or B) You can put some preventative or protective measures in place in case things do go wrong.     Make the circle bigger – It’s always a good idea to include subject matter experts and/or leaders from different areas within your business in the decision-making process.  They will assist in seeing gaps, issues or even hidden potential that perhaps you were too close to see.   If you’re struggling to keep momentum going within your business, there could be a need for an objective outsider’s perspective or a specialised team who can help you drive your decision-making process.   Contact Cathy at Analyze on (0)21 447 5696 or email her on cathy@analyze.co.za to discuss the ways in which we can assist.     Share this:

Why a technology agnostic approach is important

Following a technology agnostic approach means that as a business you are unbiased towards the use of any specific technologies to solve your business problems. In essence, it supports the notion that there is no one single fit for a particular problem and that there are of course many ways to skin the cat (so to speak). But why is this important? Because at the end of the day, finding the right fit solution is key. To do this you first need to understand your business problem or opportunity, the solution requirements and your user needs. Once you know what is needed and expected, you can overlay your requirements with various technology options to fulfil them. One of the biggest traps is to decide on the technology or software solution before really understanding what you need it to do for your business. It may be tempting to go with technologies that your team is familiar with or to choose a sexy technology that you think will be useful. But by going this route you’re actually putting the cart in front of the horse. You’re also limiting your solution to what your team knows and not looking at broader possibilities. If you choose to go with the familiar, it may save you money in the short term seeing as you have all the needed expertise and your team could roll out something in a shorter time period, but what if your solution doesn’t match up to user expectations and ends up never being used? You have to weigh up short-term savings against the risk of system rework and redesign costs over the long run. Another flawed approach is to invest in technologies that are popular or bleeding edge. Yes it’s nice to be seen as the company that’s keeping up with current trends, but have you considered whether you’re actually fulfilling your system needs in a cost-effective and practical way? It’s easy to get carried away with what your competitors may be doing, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the right answer for your business. While there is great value in having a technology strategy and ensuring that new technology solutions align with this strategy, remaining technology agnostic allows you to keep an open mind while you assess the pros, cons, strengths and weaknesses of various solutions. A well-considered solution design ensures that your technology preferences are not dictating how to solve a problem, but that the problem is driving the technology choices instead. You have to ensure that your team is able to look beyond simply applying a particular technology. Instead it is important to take a step back and question why and when it makes sense to do so. It’s simple really: To avoid potentially costly technology or vendor lock-in decisions, go back to the basics by properly defining your problem first. Do you perhaps have a business problem you’re currently struggling with? Are technology drivers playing an inhibiting factor? We can assist. Contact Cathy on (0)21 447 5696 or cathy@analyze.co.za Share this: