Proposing Solutions

The following concepts will help you with:

  • What could we do in this case? - Propose a solution
  • What are the activities/steps required? - Define a solution
  • Are we able to deliver that? Define thesolution feasibility

Business Analysis - Solution Evaluation

The duties performed by business analysts to evaluate a solution in use by the enterprise’s performance and value delivered. Business analysts also advocate removing any obstacles or limitations that inhibit the full realization of value. You can think about it as been an enabler, unlocking value creation.

Solution Evaluation tasks can be performed on solution components in varying stages of development:

  • Prototypes or Proofs of Concept: working but limited versions of a solution that demonstrate value.
  • Pilot or Beta releases: limited implementations or versions of a solution used in order to work through problems and understand how well it actually delivers value before fully releasing the solution.
  • Operational releases: full versions of a partial or completed solution usedto achieve business objectives, execute a process, or fulfill a desired outcome.

Solution Evaluation tasks

  • Measure Solution Performance: determines the most appropriate way to assess the performance of a solution, including how it aligns with enterprise goals and objectives, and performs the assessment.

  • Analyze Performance Measures: examines information regarding the performance of a solution in order to understand the value it delivers to the enterprise and to stakeholders, and determines whether it is meeting current business needs.

  • Assess Solution Limitations: investigates issues within the scope of a solution that may prevent it from meeting current business needs.

  • Assess Enterprise Limitations: investigates issues outside the scope of a solution that may be preventing the enterprise from realizing the full value that a solution is capable of providing.

  • Recommend Actions to Increase Solution Value: identifies and defines actions the enterprise can take to increase the value that can be delivered by a solution.

The purpose of Recommend Actions to Increase Solution Value is to understand the factors that create differences between potential value and actual value, and to recommend a course of action to align them.

Recommendations Samples

  • Do Nothing: is usually recommended when the value of a change is low relative to the effort required to make the change, or when the risks of change significantly outweigh the risks of remaining in the current state. I may also be impossible to make a change with the resources available or in the allotted time frame.

  • Organizational Change: is a process for managing attitudes about, perceptions of, and participation in the change related to the solution. Organizational change management generally refers to a process and set of tools for managing change at an organizational level. The business analyst may help to develop recommendations for changes to the organizational structure or personnel, as job functions may change significantly as the result of work being automated. New information may be made available to stakeholders and new skills may be required to operate the solution. Possible recommendations that relate to organizational change include:

    • Automating or simplifying the work people perform. Relatively simple tasks are prime candidates for automation. Additionally, work activities and business rules can be reviewed and analyzed to determine opportunities for re-engineering, changes in responsibilities, and outsourcing.
    • Improving access to information. Change may provide greater amounts of information and better quality of information to staff and decision makers.
    • Reduce Complexity of Interfaces: interfaces are needed whenever work is transferred between systems or between people. Reducing their complexity can improve understanding.
    • Eliminate Redundancy: different stakeholder groups may have common needs that can be met with a single solution, reducing the cost of implementation.
    • Avoid Waste: the aim of avoiding waste is to completely remove those activities that do not add value and minimize those activities that do not contribute to the final product directly.
  • Identify Additional Capabilities: solution options may offer capabilities to the organization above and beyond those identified in the requirements. In many cases, these capabilities are not of immediate value to the organization but have the potential to provide future value, as the solution may support the rapid development or implementation of those capabilities if they are required (for example, a software application may have features that the organization anticipates using in the future).

  • Retire the Solution: it may be necessary to consider the replacement of a solution or solution component. This may occur because technology has reached the end of its life, services are being insourced or outsourced, or the solution is not fulfilling the goals for which it was created. Some additional factors that may impact the decision regarding the replacement or retirement of a solution include:

    • Ongoing cost versus initial investment: it is common for the existing solution to have increasing costs over time, while alternatives have a higher investment cost upfront but lower maintenance costs opportunity cost: represents the potential value that could be realized by pursuing alternative courses of action.

    • Necessity: most solution components have a limited lifespan (due to obsolescence, changing market conditions, and other causes). After a certain point in the life cycle it will become impractical or impossible to maintain the existing component.

    • Sunk cost: describes the money and effort already committed to an initiative. The psychological impact of sunk costs may make it difficult for stakeholders to objectively assess the rationale for replacement or elimination, as they may feel reluctant to “waste” the effort or money already invested. As this investment cannot be recovered, it is effectively irrelevant when considering future action. Decisions should be based on the future investment required and the future benefits that can be gained.