Common Sense Analysis

Common Sense should be the root of all analysis. 'Should'.

Posts tagged business analysis

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Process, Procedures and Workflows

There is a propensity in our industry to get confused between process, workflows and procedures. There are a lot of words out there describing this, but here is the way my mind works. This mental model has held up pretty well when used in anger, so see if it helps you…

Note: workflow and procedures can also sit in process - it is the linking bit between people, process and tools… but I couldn’t make it pretty enough. B-)

Filed under consulting business analysis ba process workflow

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everyone likes a good story

There are very few places where a narrative wont help. one example i can think of is a dictionary… and… nothing else comes to mind…

In my role of consultant, I come across a great many documents… most of them dry, badly structured and hard to understand. I reckon it is due to bad story telling. because they stick to the facts and nothing else, it is hard to really remember what they are talking about.

Narrative is the fuzzy side of the velcro. It is the emotional connection a reader needs to really relate to what you are writing. I am not suggesting that you have to dramatize a business case for effect, but to ensure that there is some story for the reader to cling on to and come back to when they get confused. Context, people, context!

Whether you are writing a business case, requirements doc or a research paper, the narrative is paramount. Narrative gives context, makes statements less ambiguous and increases readability.

So make the effort to add a bit of story to your documents. it will be more successful.

Happy documentation, webizens.

Filed under story telling consulting business analysis documentation

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What is the aim of Social Media - PRINT

So what is the aim for a business? what is the goal to get involved in social media? What does success taste like?

Sociagility offers a nice model here to guage success in Social Media - summarised by the acronymn PRINT:

  1. Popularity - being well liked and followed
  2. Receptiveness - willingness to listen and engage with the community - not just broadcast
  3. Interaction - willingness to engage regularly and consistently with community
  4. Network Reach - actual and potential audience reach
  5. Trust - influence and authority within the community

This infographic shows how the world’s most recognisable companies performed in their studies.

It is a great indication of the minefield that businesses need to navigate in Social Media. Being an authority means nothing if you are not popular. Being an authority needs to be complimented with being receptive and interact with the community - which can be viewed as arrogance.

On the flip side, it also offers a great stretegic perspective to understand failings. If you have the knowledge, but are not getting your message, it might be your reach that is suffering a little. Defining and understanding these metrics will be a key win for any Social Media enabled (or to-be enabled) business.

Filed under Social Media business analysis consulting

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Social Media leads to better decisions

Over the last couple of days, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a few new people and get their opinions on Social Media.

One particular point that kept coming up was “Yes, I have an account, but I dont know how to use twitter”. This was consistent and across the board.

Well, there are several aspects to using twitter, which can be seen below:

Using twitter is not the same as contributing to twitter. In fact, just being on there and listening to the trends and topics that are being discussed is of huge value to your business. Just listening to what is out there is information.

Let’s say you are a product manager looking to white-label a Cloub based Retail Banking offering. Why not go to twitter and check out who is talking about products like yours? any competitors? check their activity out on twitter.

Check out http://trendsmap.com/ - it is a good tool to see what is trending where - using location based analysis to see who is talking about what where. Some fascinating data.

On your twitter dashboard, you also have a list of trends - check them out to see what people in your location are talking about.

Now back to the topic of this blog… it’s simple really - it has been well established that the more information you have, the better the decision you can make. Twitter and social media provides free, easy to find information. It is not just market research, but also for key business decisions.

Filed under Social Media business analysis consulting

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Engaging Customers and Curation

There are a great many things that can be done with Social Media. In the context of a business, I reckon the following is a good list, in no particular order:

  1. Locate new employees
  2. Find new customers (marketing)
  3. Customer Service (twitter, etc)
  4. Product research (what customers want)
  5. Perception research (what customer think of us)
  6. Content Curation (Pintrest)
  7. Content Creation & build traffic (white papers, etc)
  8. Thought leadership (blogs, twitter)
  9. Critical Evaluation of others’ products and services (blogs)
  10. Build Company Credibility (Creation, aggregation, thought leadership and critical evaluation)

From the plethora of information on the web, marketing via social media is the major topic of discussion. There are a few ways to increase your market presense, which I will look at discussing later on (if I can add value to the great blogs out there already).

There are other topics that I suspect you already have a good handle on, like using SM for research, or posting thought leading blogs (like Forrester or Gartner). Of course, there is the all important Customer Service aspect. It is a large topic to cover, so I will leave that to another blog.

The really interesting emerging market is content curation. Pinterest is an emerging social media site that describes itself as a way to “organise and share the things you love”. Put simply, it is a way to easily share the interesting things that you come across on the web.

Tumblr (which this blog is built upon) is also a great way of sharing content IN YOUR OWN SPACE. The content is free - and sharing is a click away. You build a collection of work from other people that can showcase your identity. (incidentally, while Blogspot is a clear market leader, Tumblr has caught up to Wordpress for popularity - source CompetePulse).

Let’s apply this to a busienss context. Every good CIO, CTO, Exec Mgr and those with aspirations read blogs, articles on the market, etc. If you think some content is good - reblog it. This allows easy engagement not only with your future customers, but also your business collaborators, peers and competitors. Market-wide reach and collaboration and you make your site a great place for your customers to frequent - you are pre-assembling subject specific content for your customers.

Let’s look at it from the point of view of a customer - a CFO is looking to invest in some BPM work in your organisation. Before you engage the board or even your direct reports, you do a quick google. Among the individual articles, you come accorss a site which presents a well constructed, impartial list of articles that educate you and allow you to sound well researched and versed. Is this a site you would bookmark? Is this a company you would take note of?

Filed under CIO CTO Business Analysis Social Media customer relationship Consulting

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B2B in Social Media

So how is Social Media applied to Business to Business (B2B) interactions?

I found a nice little graphic that was made for Mashable.com online, with some interesting stats for b2b firms: 

  • 86% said they use social media
  • 64% said there is appetite within exec committee
  • only 32% said use social media on a daily basis
  • over 50% said they do not understand their ROI

It paints a rather interesting picture. While there is certainly an appetite for social media in enterprises, there does not seem to be a coordinated approach. The stats from Australian companies that I posted previously (here) also support this.

Companies that form a strategy, understand their ROI, and deploy appropriate staff to tackle Social Media are reporting significant impact.

Schwartz communications (a PR company) have a deck up that asks a couple of questions that are common (to paraphrase):

  • Do B2B companies really need Social Media or is it something more for B2B?
  • My daughter uses Facebook, but do our customers?

The answer is yes to both questions, but we need to understand which SM tool is being used when. The deck refers to a study done by IDG research to understand Tech Buyers’ (over 3,500 interviewed) behaviour patterns:

It is absolutely key in any B2B marketing strategy to understand where your customers are. This seems to indicate that LinkedIn is NOT where tech buyers are getting input for their buying decisions. When referring to APAC, the figures indicate an even higher percentage never use LinkedIn to make their Tech Buyer decisions.

Indeed, it is hard to see where APAC Tech Buyers are getting input, unless you look at Blogs. 100% of companies who update their blogs daily report that they have influenced tech buyers to buy their product. That’s every single company who have invested time to update their blog daily have reported they got new customers. A clear message: blogging is #1 priority.

However, there is a new twist to the tale - Content Curation… more in the next post.

Filed under Business Analysis marketing consulting social media

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The Future Customer

In case you didnt know (there are QUITE a few blogs on this very subject), the world is-a-changing. Your customers are changing. What got you here wont get you there. As the addage goes - you need to go where your customers are…

What do your future customers look like?

(source desk.com)

They are ultra connected, ultra mobile, with very little patience. Their expectations about processes, communication and interaction are radically different to the generations before. In a previous post, I posted a diagram about how the CRM would be affected. One of the lines there was about customer driven processes. Not customer centric, customer DRIVEN. They tell us how they want to work, and it seems we need to cooperate. If not, they will go somewhere else.

Businesses need to be receptive to their expectations. Businesses that are prepared to ‘go where the customer is’ will reap the benefit of increased discovery and loyalty.

Source Desk.com

A recent study by Nielesn (Oct 2011) showed that Australia leads the way when measuring minutes spent on Social Media per person (7 hours 17 minutes per person). This is great news for Australian businesses. The same report also show that twice as many people aged 55 and over are using social media on phones compared to last year. This means not only are the next generation on Social Media, Baby Boomers are adopting it at astonishing rates.

Source: Nielsen Oct 2011

The above chart also shows the split up of how different age groups use different networking sites. It is very interesting to note the heavy use the 45+ demographic have on LinkedIn. Certainly warrants another post on this subject.

The figures certainly paint a compelling picutre: Social Media seems to be way of the future, and it would be a wise business that invests in it as early as possible.

Filed under Social Media nielsen Business Analysis CIO CTO Consulting BPM Process

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Current state of Social Media in Australia - Forrester’s Model + Sensis Data

I am looking at the developing trends in measuring Social Media Maturity. Last post, I looked at it from a conversational POV. This time, let’s see how Forrester considers it and then try to see how Australia would fit into the model.

Forrester Research has come up with a model that has been discussed well in the blogoshpere. Namely, it is the following:

  • Laggards: the dormant stage. Forrester estimates that one in five companies is currently not using any social media…
  • Late majority: the testing stage. While most companies are using social media, it tends to start organically in pockets. This stage can be described as “distributed chaos,”…
  • Early majority: the coordinating stage. At this point, management recognizes the risks and rewards of social media and begins to put the resources and governance in place to create consistency across the organization, from “distributed chaos” to a more centralized approach.
  • Early adopters: the scaling and optimizing stage. These leaders (think Starbucks, Best Buy, and Coca Cola) have already coordinated their social organization and are now focusing on optimizing their social media activities…
  • Innovators: empowering their employees. At this stage, all relevant employees have been trained and empowered to use social media – essentially “organized distribution” – though centers of excellence are still needed…

source: Forrester blog by Sean Corcoran on June 2, 2011

This is a nice sliding scale that offers a view on where Forrester’s researched companies stand.

Next on the research route is Sensis’ Social Media report in May 2011 - here. There is a very telling stat to show how the above graph would look like in Australia. When Medium and Large businesses were asked how much they spend on Social Media a year, an alarming 23% of medium and 47% of large businesses said they don’t know (with a known average of about $80k). This indicates that they certainly don’t have any ROI measurements and, at best, an immature, uncoordinated approach to Social Media.

Source: Sensis, May 2011

Having a look at the stats, I reckon Forrester’s graph would look much more like the following:

There is a much more heavy lean to the right - with very few organisations classified as early adopters, with the majority of organisations residing in Testing and Dormant stages.

The REALLY interesting stat from Sensis leads to some good news: there is a strong appetite for growth in social media:

Source: Sensis, May 2011

So, then, expect a strong shift to the left of the graph from the large organizations with a bit from medium size orgs.

Social media is coming to a company near you - so we need to understand how best to work with it, what the most effective strategies might be over the next 12 months or so. Coming up in the next blog!

Filed under Social Media Australia forrester sensis business analysis consulting