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Business analysis has been performed for Balogne Pty. Ltd, a sugar products company, in three areas: business process modeling, calculations, and graphs creation inappropriate software (e.g. Microsoft Excel), and Web 2.0 applications. It was established that business process modeling (e.g., in the swim lane format) could improve the management’s understanding of operation; the use of spreadsheets helps gain insight into the performance of a company and its various components; and Web 2.0 applications can make communicating with employees, suppliers, and distributors more efficient.
Balogne Pty. Ltd is a company that produces a wide range of sugar products. Ms. Erica Norris was recently appointed as a new general manager, and she is interested in understanding all the aspects of the company’s operation in order to improve business processes and strategy. As part of the work of a business analyst, three issues have been addressed in the presented report: the role of business modeling and process modeling in decision-making, the use of such software as Microsoft Excel for calculations and improving business strategies, and the adoption of Web 2.0 applications for internal communication and communicating with farmers and distributors.
The Role of Business Modeling
For such organizations as Balogne Pty. Ltd., business process modeling will help align operations with the business strategy by helping the manager sustain consistent processes while controlling the overall strategy. Moreover, it will help improve process communication by establishing a unified methodology and language for communicating information about processes and decisions (Flowers & Edeki 2013, p. 36).
Another advantage for managers is increasing control and consistency through formalizing existing processes that have not been documented well or that have transformed into ‘informal knowledge.’ the most important benefit of business process modeling is gaining competitive advantage; with the implementation of this tool, companies tend to achieve better performance indicators compared to their competitors since they tend to refine and improve their operations through business process modeling.
With regard to the benefits of using a process model, such as process flow diagrams, the general manager Ms. Erica Norris can clarify complex processes, get a better understanding of the performance, identify key participants, conduct an easy analysis of continuous improvement, and have an overall versatile process mapping tool with high levels of flexibility.
A tool that can be used for the indicated purposes is a swim lane diagram that will reflect the process flow in production operated by Balogne Pty. Ltd. An advantage of this type of diagram is that they divide all the processes into areas and allow estimating the role of each area (such as sales, contracts, and legal or, in the given case, transportation, mill, and refinery). Also, the diagram allows reflecting decisions that are made in the production process to determine what the next step is. Figure 1 illustrates how the company’s processes can be organized in a diagram according to the swim lane format.
The diagram in Figure 1 can help the new general manager understand the flow of production and make better decisions based on a properly structured and systematized vision of the company’s operation.
Sales Statistics and the Use of Software
In her work, Ms. Norris will find it helpful to use various electronic tools for monitoring and to analyze key aspects of the company’s operation, such as sales. Such software as Microsoft Excel is designed to perform calculations that are pivotal in evaluating the performance of a business. A major advantage of the software is that it not only allows inputting data and generating graphs and diagrams, but the output can also be modified by altering the initial input because all the data is contained in one file, and it is interconnected.
The use of constant formulas (such as net profit, revenue, and cost formulas) allows eliminating the possibility of errors in calculations. For example, Ms. Norris’s intention is to evaluate sales indicators for 2014 and 2015. She decides to use Microsoft Excel to assess the growth and loss in earnings in the two indicated years. By inputting available data, it is possible to create a graph that will show the growth and loss in earnings by-product; a graph generated as a result of these calculations is demonstrated in Figure 2.
Further, the general manager may be interested in assessing yearly earnings and comparing this indicator for 2014 to the same indicator in 2015. By considering revenues and costs for all the products, it is possible to create a graph that will reflect the necessary information (Figure 3).
The use of Microsoft Excel allows visualizing key aspects of a company’s performance, and this contributes to better decision-making (Evans & Lindner 2012, p. 5). Graphs and diagrams that can be generated by the software are what business analysis relies on determining risks, problems, and successes. For example, based on the information demonstrated in Figure 2 and Figure 3, Ms. Norris can make conclusions on which products require additional development, promotion, and improvement and determine which ones contribute to the growth of yearly earnings; these conclusions will help her develop a business strategy for the future with the consideration of the company’s production flow in Figure 1.
Web 2.0 Applications
There is a widespread idea that Web 2.0 applications can be beneficial for businesses only in terms of communications with existing and potential customers (Jussila, Kärkkäinen & Aramo-Immonen 2014, p. 607); this communication includes promotion, marketing, advertising, and public relations. However, more academic attention has been paid recently to the use of Web 2.0 applications for business-to-business cooperation and internal operation.
Major characteristics of Web 2.0 applications include interoperability and increased capacity for sharing and exchanging content as opposed to merely generating or receiving it. For businesses, one of the main advantages of using such applications is efficiency (Barnes et al. 2012, p. 708). For Balogne Pty. Ltd particular, it will be useful to adopt two types of applications: one for internal communications and one for communicating with farmers and distributors.
For the first type, any current social networking services can be used. By creating a corporate account, the general manager (or someone appointed by her to be responsible for internal communications) will be able to reach the company’s employees for announcements; also, the corporate culture can be enhanced if the management manages to deliver to the employees key aspects of the implemented business strategy through a medium that the employees are likely to use for their personal communication (i.e., social networking services).
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For the second type, a key aspect a speed; Web 2.0 applications will allow communicating with suppliers and distributors quicker and more efficiently. Social networking services are appropriate for this, too; however, what the management of Balogne Pty. Ltd may also find useful is blogging, instant messaging, and video sharing. For example, a video blog can be established, the content of which the suppliers and distributors will be able to view and comment.
It has been established that composting diagrams in the swim lane format can help a company’s decision-makers understand key processes and the connections between them; this practice highlights the areas in which improvement is possible. Also, it has been shown that such software as Microsoft Excel can generate information that is valuable not only for assessing the performance of a business but also for planning future actions.
Finally, two types of Web 2.0 applications have been suggested—social networking services and video blogs—and it has been explained that the use of these types of applications can make the process of communication with employees, suppliers, and distributors more efficient.
Barnes, D, Clear, F, Dyerson, R, Harindranath, G, Harris, L & Rae, A 2012, ‘Web 2.0 and micro-businesses: an exploratory investigation’, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 687-711.
Evans, JR & Lindner, CH 2012, ‘Business analytics: the next frontier for decision sciences’, Decision Line, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 4-6.
Flowers, R & Edeki, C 2013, ‘Business process modeling notation’, International Journal of Computer Science and Mobile Computing, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 35-40.
Jussila, JJ, Kärkkäinen, H & Aramo-Immonen, H 2014, ‘Social media utilization in business-to-business relationships of technology industry firms’, Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 606-613.