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Business Analysis Techniques by Paul Turner, Debra Paul, James Cadle

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EVALUATE OPTIONS
(Structured Systems Analysis and Design Method) explicitly separated them.
The (reasonable) argument for this was that the business needs should be
considered first and the IT possibilities second, in other words that the IT ‘tail’
should not be allowed to wag the business ‘dog’. However, IT is now so intimately
involved in the operation of modern organisations, and so often provides the
stimulus for business change, that this distinction is no longer so valid. Here,
therefore, we consider business and IT options as part of a continuum.
The important thin
g at this point is not to reject prematurely any idea that might
offer possible benefits. Techniques such as brainstorming will probably be used,
and these are discussed in more detail under Workshops’ (Technique 14) in
Chapter 2, Investigate situation’. In Figure 5.2 a company is considering what it
can do about the impending obsolescence of the sales order processing system it
uses for some of its products. At a workshop several ideas are put forward,
including some quite radical ones like exiting this line of business, sharing the
order processing with a competitor or asking customers to process the orders
themselves. Although some of these might seem rather ‘o the wall’ at rst, they
should not be dismissed without more detailed consideration. For example, the
company might only be continuing with this line of products because it has the
capability to process orders for them, and would not be attempting to get into this
business without such a capability. That being so, the obsolescence of the system
might provide an opportunity to give up these products and concentrate on more
profitable and easier to service lines. Also and this is an important feature
of brainstorming one idea may well spark o another. In the example in
Figure 5.2 someone might have suggested outsourcing the processing, and this
could have led to someone else coming up with the idea of sharing processing
with a competitor.
Figure 5.2 Options identification
Identify options
1. Buy new system
2. Enhance existing system
3. Revert to manual processing
4. Outsource processing
5. Exit this business
6. Adopt sister-company system
7. Share processing with
competitor
8. Ask customers to preprocess
orders
SHORTLIST OPTIONS
Eight options, as listed in Figure 5.2, is too many for detailed consideration, so
we need to get our initial longlist down to a more manageable ‘shortlist’ of, say,
three options, as shown in Figure 5.3. In addition, if it has not come up already,
125

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