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Getting Back to the Basics: Using Business Analysis to Find the Right Solution

I’m sitting on a plane right now, writing this blog, because I have been struck with the irony of “getting back to basics.” I’m on the last leg of my second roundtrip flight in two weeks, on two different airlines that have all made the same choice, which is to remove free in-flight entertainment.

Image of the back of airline seats with video displays

For those of you who don’t travel much, you might not have heard that in-flight on demand entertainment technology is no more…really. No free on-demand shows, no free video games – the airlines have even gone as far as removing the armrest radio channels! These changes are not unique to one airline, but rather most airlines are moving to this model throughout their fleets.

This thought struck me as the plane was taking off, when I didn’t hear the multi-screen, surround sound of the default safety video, but instead heard the “old school” intercom flight attendant voice. As the blur next to me proceeded with the seatbelt-oxygen-mask demonstration, followed by the “Two exits forward, four exits over the wings, and two rear aircraft exits...Take a look around you, as the nearest exit may be behind you” speech, I realized the plane had been completely stripped of entertainment technology and simplified down to the basics.

Now, this isn’t a discussion about anyone’s thoughts and opinions about the unilateral decision to put the responsibility on the passenger for signing up for Wi-Fi or bringing along personal entertainment devices and DVDs. We could go off on a rant about how the forced Wi-Fi fee in lieu of free streamed entertainment is a revenue generating machine, but that’s not the point. Also, it’s not like our flight rates will be reduced by the elimination of the costly technology no longer being offered, but I’ll save that for a later post.

Instead, this realization brought to mind recent client engagements regarding organizations faced with the issue of dinosaur development (i.e., development that was done years and years ago for many reasons). Here is a list of possible reasons for dinosaur development:

  • The chosen technology platform didn’t have the functionality they needed when it was implemented.
  • Development was put in place by previous employees or executives.
  • It has just “always been there.”
  • “We run that process…because we always have.”
  • “I run these 10 reports every month.” “Really, why?” “Well because my previous boss from three years ago wanted them, so I assumed my current boss needs them.” Turn to current boss with raised eyebrows…current boss’s response, “I don’t look at them. They don’t give me the information I need today.”

Any number of things may be the reason to continue to use dinosaur development. Many of them, when simply asked, “Why?” cannot be answered or given a solid reason why it should still exist.

Organizations are moving forward with these systems and setups, carrying the costs of previous development (and administration) that may not even be working toward the company’s current and future strategic goals. These systems and setups may be keeping functional areas in their work silos or keeping them from exploring the possibility that, “There must be a better way”, or even worse, “We keep doing the same thing, but our business problems are not being solved.” Should we really be paying staff to work on tasks that don’t work towards our objectives? Tasks that may not be keeping them challenged with moving the organization, or themselves, forward?

I can appreciate the airlines stepping back and taking fresh look at today’s technology – individual entertainment is now at everyone’s fingertips – and how that impacts their bottom line. It was a decision that I’m certain has many passengers frustrated, disappointed, and upset. But regardless of that, was it the right decision? Does it help achieve the overall goals and objectives of the airlines? It might have been difficult up front to get through, but will it also yield long-term gains?

At ArcherPoint, with our Business Analysis projects, we look at our clients’ businesses through the same lens. That is, we want to work with you to take a step back. Let’s not spend a whole lot of time on what you have now, because it may be keeping you from moving forward. Let’s spend time together finding out what you should be doing…addressing problems you need to solve.

  • What are your objectives?
  • What are your current and forward thinking business strategies?
  • Are your resources working on tasks and system transactions that still feed your business model? By the way, do you have a handle on what your business model is, and have you communicated it to the employees performing the daily tasks?
  • Have you asked the stakeholders in each functional area about their challenges, and what keeps that order from shipping?

These seem like logical questions. They are. But they are not always simple. It takes a lot to be willing to ask the hard questions, and even more so to listen to the answers.

Let’s deconstruct…and rebuild towards your future. Let’s look at how the solution platforms that fit your requirements have advanced in functionality. There is opportunity. Opportunity that would allow organizations to let go of the cost of decisions made long ago, that served a previous purpose, but no longer serve your strategic business focus and motivation.

With ArcherPoint and a Business Analysis project, we’ll help you answer the hard question of “Why?” Even better, we’ll work with you to help find the right solution to address the answers.

Let’s stop. Look. And listen. And get back to basics.

If you would like to explore the opportunities for your organization’s future, contact ArcherPoint to discuss a Business Analysis engagement.

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