Cloudy with a Chance of Transformation
“Climatology” beckons images of clouds, temperature, sea levels and currents, naturally occurring events including volcanoes, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc. The climatologist’s analysis considers weather conditions over specific periods of time, identifies conditional variables, applies forecasting averages, examines interdependencies between climate changes and effect on people and events. They also work in various locations, scrutinise current, past and future states, translate predictions and determine requirements. Have you spotted the similarities in approach between climatology and business analysis, yet?
How does this climatologist concept relate to business analysis? It all started when I came across the term “business ecosystem”, first used in Moore’s May/June 1993 Harvard Business Review article, which was titled “Predators and Prey: A New Ecology of Competition”, and won the McKinsey Award for article of the year.
Moore defined the business ecosystem as an economic community supported by a foundation of interacting organisations, individuals and customers of the business world. Organisations, individuals and customers refer to both internal and external suppliers, lead producers, competitors and stakeholders who organise, co-evolve and adapt their capabilities and roles and to align variable economic conditions.
This conceptualisation provoked a minor adjustment in my approach to business analysis.
Should business analysis engage the climatologist approach with the purpose of understanding, identifying, resolving, maintaining and restoring the order and balance to the business ecosystem between people, process and technology?
According to the climatology method, the essential elements for observation in the ecosystem are likely to be cloud formation, climate, weather, temperature, sea and current levels, natural order and culture. In the business analysis world, these essential elements make up the following:
- Cloud formation – Impending projects or initiatives, economic drivers, external risks, regulations etc
- Climate/ Temperature/ Weather – Strategic priorities and exceptions; Atmosphere
- Sea levels – Levels of impact; level of process and affected areas of the business
- Sea currents – Strategic direction, values, mission, what is enabling/ constraining process activity
- Naturally occurring events – Existing or impending disorder or interruptions to business activities
- Elements of natural order – Business policy, rules, controls, process infrastructure and performance metrics
- Culture – Way of thinking and doing in particular business context, process infrastructure
Following this approach, I succeeded in enlarging the business analysis focus and capturing the appropriate communication, capability, learning and change requirements key to understanding how conditions in the business ecosystem impact on people, process and technology. It appeared easier to determine the scope, steadiness or change requirement of process across the organisation and the best process intervention approach between technology, process improvement, redesign or reengineering.
On your next project or initiative, try adapting your optical lenses to the climatological view and consider people, process and technology as core components in the business ecosystem. Observe the essential elements in the business ecosystem and identify conditional variables operating within the business. Go on to determine the arising emanations, ripple effects or impending change effects to people, process and technology.
Develop your understanding of the business needs to deliver a holistic solution for your business.
The probable advantage of this approach is magnified stakeholder identification, improved engagement, better collaboration, superior communication strategies and alliance between people, process and technology.
What’s more, (and a value add to the customer) …if these broadened business ecosystem identified requirements do not fit in the scope of what you are delivering, capture these important out of scope initiatives and communicate the importance for integration into operational initiatives, and as part of the business strategic plan to complement current project and programme activities.
Do you consider yourself a climatologist in the business ecosystem when engaging in your business analysis adventures?
Don’t forget to leave your comments below.