Getting Started on Business Analysis: Are Your Goals Strategic or Tactical?

Business Analysis Top Down Bottom Up ArrowsA business analysis takes valuable time to perform, but the results are invaluable. The hardest steps are deciding what to analyze because there is simply so much you can choose.

As a guideline, decide if you want to start at a high-level, figuring out the best way to run the business, or at a low-level, identifying quick wins, low hanging fruit, and the specific business activities that can be automated and optimized in a short period of time.

Strategic "Top Down” Analysis

A Strategic Analysis examines the most efficient way to automate the processes that make up a business.

A strategic perspective is higher level (i.e. managers) and seeks to understand the processes that make up the business and deliver its value. It focuses on the processes that constitute a business as opposed to the activities that constitute a process, although it’s not uncommon for the analysis to touch on both.

For example, a business typically has processes for customer relationship management, order management, operations, and accounting, to name a few. A Strategic Analysis examines how those processes work together to create the value of a business and determines the most efficient way to automate those processes.

Tactical "Bottom Up” Analysis

A Tactical Analysis examines the most efficient way to automate the activities that make up a process.

A tactical perspective is lower level (i.e. practitioners) and seeks to understand the activities that make up processes. It focuses on the activities that constitute a process as opposed to the processes that make up a business, although it’s not uncommon for the analysis to touch on both.

For example, a business typically has a series of activities that staffers perform for order management. A Strategic Analysis examines how those activities work together to create a process and how those activities can be automated.

How to Choose


Strategic Tactical
Gap/Fit Focuses on processes within existing software functionality Focuses on activities within existing software functionality
Business Process Engineering Focuses on processes outside existing software functionality Focuses on activities outside existing software functionality

A business that enters a Strategic Analysis seeks to maximize its overall efficiency and is typically considering an entirely new software platform.

A business that enters a Tactical Analysis seeks to maximize the efficiency of part of the business and is typically considering new ways to leverage its existing software platform.

If you’re considering a new software platform, then a Strategic Analysis is probably right for you. If you want to get more out of your existing software platform, then a Tactical Analysis is a better fit.

After choosing a Tactical or Strategic Analysis, the next step is to examine built-in software functionality versus custom software functionality.

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