Essent Webinars: Get the Most From Your Software with Business Analysis

Take a closer look at how your software works for you. Business Analysis helps you match your technology to the way you do business, so you continually get the most out of your software.

Watch the Essent Business Anaylsis Webinar

Slide 1: How to Get Started on Business Analysis
Hello and welcome to the latest webinar from Essent. Today we’re going to show you how to get started on Business Analysis so you can always get the most out of your technology
Slide 2: Moderator: Douglas B. Brill
My name is Doug Brill. I’m the Essent marketing coordinator and I specialize in the promotional products industry. I’m also your moderator today.
Slide 3: About Essent
Before we begin, a very brief overview of Essent. Essent is the leader in providing Comprehensive business management solutions since 1981 Essent has been serving Distributors, Decorators, and Suppliers in the promotional products industry since the year 2000 $3 Billion in Commerce flows through Essent’s solutions each year
Slide 4: About Essent Business Analysis
And a bit about Essent when it comes to Business Analysis. Essent performs Business Analysis sessions for promotional products companies every day. Dozens of promotional products companies use Essent Business Analysis services each year. And throughout the course of a year, Essent is analyzing businesses that collectively handle billions of dollars in transactions per year.
Slide 5: The Crux of Analysis
When Essent does Business Analysis, it comes down to taking a hard look at three questions. What does the business do? What does the software do? What can the business and software do together?
Slide 6: Business & Technology
Let’s take a quick look at the business-technology relationship. At the beginning, the business has its operations. The technology has its capabilities. And you find the best way that they work together.
Slide 7: Business & Technology (continued)
But what happens next? Both the business and the technology evolve over time. The Business adds clients, staff, processes, services and more. And the software provider adds features, functionality, best practices, solutions and more. But businesses will rarely pause to evaluate how these new improvements work together.
Slide 8: Business & Technology (continued)
So the business remains right where it started. It’s using the technology the way it did from the get-go. And it probably still works. But the business and technology are both improved now. So is it working the best it can?
Slide 9: Getting the Most Out of Your Business Analysis Software
That’s why Business Analysis is the way to make sure you get the most out of your software. It comes right back to those three central questions What does the business do? What does the software do? And what can the business and software truly do together?
Slide 10: Presenter: William Austin
And with that, here to take you into greater detail is your presenter, Will Austin. Will is a business analyst for Essent, and he’ll tell you about using Business Analysis to continually get the most out of your software.
Slide 11: Business Analysis Pyramid
Thank you very much, Doug. When getting started on Business Analysis, it helps to think of your business in terms of the parts that make up the whole.
Slide 12: Business Analysis Pyramid
You have activities, which are like the building blocks of your business. An activity could be something like emailing a quote and following up. Then those activities come together to form a process. That quote and follow up would be part of a larger sales process, for example. And finally those processes come together to form the business. The strength of the processes is the strength of the business.
Slide 13: Are Your Goals Bottom-Up or Top-Down?
Once you envision your business that way, it’s easier to see how to approach the analysis. You can take a Bottom-Up approach, where you look at the activities that make up a process Or you can take a Top-Down approach, where you look at the processes that make up a business.
Slide 14: Bottom-Up Analysis
A Bottom-Up Analysis is typically easier to perform than a Top-Down Analysis. It tends to be narrow in scope because it seeks to optimize a specific process, not the entire business. It also usually involves staff as opposed to managers or senior managers. And since it’s narrow and focusing on activities, it tends to be quicker than a Top-Down analysis. It’s typically used for smaller implementations. These are your quick-hitter type of projects.
Slide 15: Top-Down Analysis
A Top-Down Analysis is more involved. It’s broad in scope because it’s seeking to optimize several processes, not just one. It usually includes managers and senior managers as opposed to staffers. It’s longer than a Bottom-Up Analysis because it’s looking at more processes. And it’s typically used for bigger implementations
Slide 16: Examples of Analysis Types
Now we’re going to review some examples of when to use each to help show the difference between the Bottom-Up and Top-Down Analysis. You might use bottom-up analysis when implementing a new CRM system. But you would use top-down analysis for implementing whole new Business Management System. You would use bottom-up analysis to optimize sales-order entry process But you would use top-down analysis to optimize the whole sales department. If you’re a distributor providing fulfillment services and want to improve those services, you would use bottom-up analysis to focus on the activities that make up the process of fulfillment Whereas if you’re a dropship distributor who’s now wants to offer fulfillment services for the first time, that would probably be a top-down analysis.
Slide 17: What does the business do?
Ultimately, bottom-up and top-down analysis are two approaches to answering the first central question: What does the business do.
Slide 18: Inside or Outside the Box
The next step is determining what the technology does. The business can use the best practices already inside the technology. Or it can look into software engineering to add functionality.
Slide 19: Gap-Fit Analysis
Most businesses want the built-in best practices. They want the functionality that’s in the box. A Gap-Fit Analysis looks at the existing functionality and matches it to the business. Those are called the fits. It also identifies where the software can’t do what the business wants. And those are called the gaps.
Slide 20: Examining Fits
Let’s a take a closer look at Fits. A fit is when the business wants a process or activity automated. And the software is able to automate it with its built-in functionality. Then it’s a matter of identifying the configurations, settings, features, and functionality to perform that automation.
Slide 21: What are Gaps?
A gap is the opposite. The business wants a process or activity automated. But the software doesn’t currently have the functionality to automate it. Gaps are expected because no software system automates every unique business rule and process.
Slide 22: Filling Gaps
Once a Gap is identified, it’s a matter of analyzing how to fill it. A Gap can be filled with a manual process. For example: If a business wants to automatically convert a quote to a sales order but the software can’t do that, then the business would manually enter re-enter the quote as a sales order. The gap can also be filled with other software. Functionality that’s not available in a basic edition might be available in an enterprise or premium edition. There’s also the option of custom software engineering. If the functionality doesn’t exist, the technology provider could create it.
Slide 23: Engineering Analysis
When a business wants functionality that’s not already in the software, it uses an Engineering analysis.
Slide 24: Engineering Analysis (cotninued)
The analysis could be to fill a gap, like the example we just provided. That would include identifying, designing, and developing new features and functionality for the software. An Engineering analysis also could be for integrating systems. If a business wants to add new software to existing software, an engineering analysis could determine how to make the platforms work together. Another example would be for integrating trading partners. If a distributor and supplier wanted to automatically communicate orders, an Engineering analysis could determine how to integrate the business communiations.
Slide 25: Engineering Analysis (continued)
Essentially, the business and technology provider examine how to create a new software solution. First the business process is defined step-by-step. Then the automation is defined step-by-step. And the result is ultimately a development design or proposal that details how the solution will be built.
Slide 26: Comparing Types
This comparison helps show the difference between a Gap-Fit Analysis and an Engineering Analysis. A Gap/Fit analysis focuses on existing software. An Engineering Analysis focuses on creating a software solution that doesn’t exist yet. A Gap-Fit Analysis is quicker because it doesn’t require design and development And an engineering analysis is usually more in-depth because it involves creating solutions from scratch. The Gap-Fit analysis is usually a smaller investment. And the Engineering analysis is the greater investment, but also potentially a greater return.
Slide 27: How to Choose
Which analysis type is right? A Gap/Fit Analysis covers the majority of implementations. The business decision is to go with a software platform that brings built-in best practices. Or the business wants to take a fresh look at its existing software to see what more it can do for their business. An engineering analysis, on the other hand, is used in fewer implementations. It’s for a business that wants to add new functionality to a software system. Or wants to create a whole new software platform or integration.
Slide 28: What does the software do?
Ultimately, Gap-Fit and Engineering analysis are two approaches to answering the second central question: What does the software do?
Slide 29: Analysis Types
We’ve now discussed four analysis types. A bottom-up analysis is smaller in scope and looks at activities. A top-down analysis looks at processes. A gap-fit analysis looks at the existing software functionality. And an Engineering analysis that looks at creating new software functionality.
Slide 30: Analysis Types (continued)
And here’s a closer look at how the analysis types work together. You can look at business activities and existing technology with a Bottom-Up Gap Fit Analysis . For example, if you want to automate quoting so you can use the Bottom-Up Gap Fit to find a software system that bdoes it. Or you can look at processes and existing technology with Top-Down Gap-Fit Analysis. For example, you want to optimize your sales process so you use a Top-Down Gap-Fit to find a software system that does it. For Bottom-Up Engineering Analysis, you look at activities and new technology. For example, if you wanted to automatically communicate order status to your trading partner, you would need new technology solutions to integrate the systems. And finally you can look at processes and new technology using a Top-Down Engineering Analysis. You would use this if you are creating a totally new software solution for your sales department to optimize your whole sales department.
Slide 31: What can the business and software truly do together?
Combining these approaches helps you ask the most important question of all: What can the business and software truly do together? Now I’ll turn it back over to Doug who can tell you more.
Slide 32: Take a Closer Look
Thank you very much, Will. Business Analysis is the way to get the most out of your software. Taking a fresh look at what your business does and what your software does lets you know what they can do together. To learn more, visit You’ll find a recap of much of what we discussed today, plus an FAQ about Business Analysis Services provided by Essent. While you’re there, you can also register for a free consultation to find out if Business Analysis Services are right for your company. Again, visit to learn more and get your free consultation. Thanks again to everyone for attending today’s webinar. Get the most out of your software with business analysis