Business Analysis: Real World Examples [Microsoft Small Business Specialist Primer book excerpt]

G’day folks – I am the publisher of the above title and each day I post up a passage as a “virtual book reading” for you and the community. Enjoy the ride!

Real-World Examples

Here are two examples of small business situations you could encounter in the real world.

Example 1. An attorney’s office has a receptionist, three paralegals, a bookkeeper, and three attorneys. The business started out small with just two partners, with each of them keeping their data on their own laptops, and there was little need to share information. Eventually, more staff was hired and a peer-to-peer network was implemented to support the initial business needs. The business continued to grow, more customers, more staff and temporary staff was brought on board. Despite being on a peer-to-peer network with a master share, staff members still keep some of their projects and data files on their local machines, which are not being backed up. Staff members share their drives with other staff members and vice versa. There is a color laser printer connected to the receptionist’s computer, which everyone prints to, and the receptionist keeps a ring binder appointment book at her desk. Everyone has to walk to her office to add their individual appointments to the master schedule. Once a week, a staff meeting is held to bring everyone up to speed on the status of current court cases. Staff members express that they would like to be able to access both their e-mail and their data at the office while working from home or the court house.

Example 2. A construction company has 25 office staff, 40 on-site managers out at construction sites and a list of over 3,000 contractors (plumbers, electricians, roofers, etc) who work with the construction company on different projects. The 40 construction site managers have to come to the office at the end of each day to update the job site progress documents or call in and communicate this over the phone. There are errors in the communication and important information gets omitted or not updated in a timely manner. Every couple of days, staff has to send out a RFP (request for proposal) to either plumbers or roofers for a particular project, but it is a time-consuming task because all the contractor contacts are being e-mailed the RFP one at a time. The site managers would like to be able to access their work documents over the web and share documents with general contractors. The staff would like to find a way to bundle all contractors into categories instead of having to send the RFPs out individually.

Both examples outline the bottlenecks and business problems which are easily identified. Once a business problem has been analyzed it can be placed into one of these different categories:

• Functionality

Chapter 3Analyzing the Existing Environment

·       Efficiency

·                       Total cost of ownership

·                       Availability

·                       Reliability

·                       Security

·                       Flexibility

·                       Ease of manageability

At this point in the real world, recommendations should be added to the Technology Plan under a heading called “Business Requirements.” The recommendations should demonstrate how implementing each recommendation would answer the business needs. The Technology Plan is basically a business problem statement—a platform on which you build your case for implementing the project.

Important: During the Microsoft exam you may encounter a simulated version of a real world business problem and you will be given a list of technology solutions to choose from. In these cases, make sure to read the question at the end of the story very careful. At times it could be as simple as the answer that covers the “least expensive” or “most secure” solution. Many test takers fail because they compare exam questions with real life and start creating their own solutions. Do not fall into this trap – read the question twice – and stick to the exam objective.



Harry Brelsford, CEO at smb nation

Microsoft Small Business Specialist SBSC, MBA, MCSE, MCT, MCP, CNE, CLSE, CNP

PS – did u know I host a technology conference in the New York City area each spring? Save the date for March 6-8, 2009 and watch “voice meet data” in the SMB space!

PPS – my SBS 2008 book will be out in mid-November 2008!

PPPS – my Microsoft Response Point Primer book is here NOW!


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