Using Flowcharts for Situation Analysis

“What a business needs most for its decisions is data about what goes on outside it. Only outside a business are there results, opportunities, and threats” – Peter Drucker

A rational assessment of an operating environment is vital to ensure business performance and commercial success. The sets of actions that comprise such an assessment are commonly referred to as a situation analysis in business parlance. The assessment must primarily aim to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that face a business enterprise. In this context, experts aver, “situation analysis refers to a collection of methods that managers use to analyze an organization’s internal and external environment to understand the organization’s capabilities, customers, and business environment.” Ideally, a situation analysis must be simple to use, must focus on key factors that may impact a business, and must clearly identify the goals that an enterprise must achieve in a given situation.

Business analysts can deploy flowcharts to conduct a situation analysis for an organization. This instance of human enterprise must integrate within the business plan of said organization – the illustration may include an analysis of a current product, a survey of the target market, an assessment of the distributor network, a probing eye on competitors in the market, certain elements of financial analysis, and more. In essence, the flowchart must emerge as a document that conducts multiple elements of a typical situation analysis exercise. In addition, business analysts may design the illustration to include periodic updates; this allows the document to represent a snapshot of organizational strategy in the face of evolving market landscapes.

Certain factors may represent variables that must find representation inside a current situation analysis report. Business operators must identify these factors with a view to impart higher levels of relevance to the situation analysis. We may include a host of factors inside the flowchart diagram; these include income levels of target customers, mapping various distribution channels, a brief analysis of the buying behavior of customers, the frequency of purchase patterns of various customer segments, market size, etc. The intelligent analyst may seek to draw co-relations between these various factors inside the flowchart diagram; subsequently, the insights (or conclusions) can be stacked in text boxes located outside the flowchart. This instance clearly spotlights the utility of deploying flowcharts for situation analysis.

A modern situation analysis should offer definitive insights into the real world business environment through analysis of data and information. In line with this, business operators can fashion flowcharts that analyze the business position and actions of competitors. The various stages of the situation analysis flowchart can describe the various facets of the competition, while offering insights into the moving parts of creating a new business strategy. In addition, the flowchart must seek to analyze the distribution networks of an organization and offer inputs into expanding said networks. These lines of information allow the illustration to provide solid impetus to the situation analysis initiative.

Key informant interviews and focus groups remain central to any situation analysis initiatives. These actions are crucial because they serve to boost and reinforce the validity of said initiatives. In line with this assertion, business analysts can populate a flowchart with information elicited by interviews of key informants; the said information may pertain to feedback issuing from a variety of quarters about the estimated performance of a product or service. These lines of action also extend to creative discussions whose outcomes can be etched inside the said illustration. In doing so, the analysts are able to transform the situation analysis flowchart into a business document that may point the way to the fashioning of interesting business strategies. Additionally, the flowchart and its content may also help decode the commercial performance of an organization during past calendar quarters.

Errors can make their presence felt inside any analytical framework. Attempts at conducting a situation analysis through flowcharts are no exception. Therefore, business strategists that embark upon such voyages must remain vigilant; they would do well to walk the proverbial talk by checking and re-checking the collections of data and information that animate said flowchart. They must re-visit the information and re-assess the validity of the co-relations between various factors. These actions narrow the field for errors such as the misinterpretation of data or information. In addition, the situation analysis must include references to information offered by certified providers of market data. The sum of these actions helps to fortify ongoing efforts to remedy the flaws that persist in current situation analysis paradigms.

Colorful illustrations may emerge when the modern enterprise sets about the task of conducting a situation analysis through flowcharts. A typical illustration, when deployed for said mission, may incorporate major labels such as internal factors, external factors, corporate strategy, marketing strategy, a pictogram of the target market, and a subsequent implementation of the strategy. Each of these headers may lead to clusters of sub-stages that reside inside the illustration. The intent of the exercise is to create a marketing strategy taking into account the various moving parts detailed earlier in this paragraph. Specifically, the marketing strategy may be informed by sub-headings such as promotional tactics, pricing strategy, place of launch, and the product itself. Additionally, business analysts may choose to append learnings from legacy marketing campaigns as part of efforts to plan the perfect product launch through situation analysis.

Arrowheads typically emerge from a wide base and terminate in a sharp point. Instances of arrowheads are found in nature as well as in the outcomes of human enterprise. Certain forms of situation analysis can emerge in the form of flowcharts that conform to the outlines described by an arrowhead. Pursuant to this, a range of stacked processes may represent the wide base in such an illustration; the subsequent stages may variously describe business objectives, opportunities and threats, strengths and weaknesses, and the specifications of current strategy. Further stages of resolution help the flowchart to proceed to a sharp point denoting decisions pertaining to market strategy. This description of this illustration allows us to appreciate the importance of a graded development of a strategic planning initiative; the situation analysis forms a core function in said illustration.

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats represent a crucial part of the situation analysis framework. In line with this, a business operator can elect to sketch a flowchart that drives an analysis of each of these four elements. The illustration may primarily hinge on four buckets; clusters of sub-stages can emerge to describe each bucket. The business operator can populate each cluster, sub-stage with relevant data, and peruse the outcome of such efforts to draw insights that will drive business strategy. Additionally, this attempt at situation analysis can help the business operator boost the proverbial weak links inside the master business plan. Hence, multiple flowcharts can be created to drive resonance between different aspects of planning, analysis, and strategy. Digital technologies can assist in such matters, thereby helping refine the use of flowcharts in driving situation analysis.

The flowchart represents a versatile tool that should assist business operators to drive competent efforts at flowchart analysis. The inter-connected nature of such illustrations and the overtly visual nature of information flows therein allow the flowchart to act as a premier tool in business planning initiatives. The use of digital technologies and color also justifies the use of such diagrams. The insights gleaned from the perusal of such visual illustration can offer precious momentum to the growth and expansion of the modern enterprise.

Develop interactive decision trees for troubleshooting, cold calling scripts, medical appointments, or process automation. Enhance sales performance and customer retention across your call centers. Lower costs with customer self-service.

Interactive Decision Tree