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Business Analysis Terms: D-K

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Business Analysis Terms: D-K


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The below are business analysis terms that begin with letters D-K:

Discounted cash flow An investment appraisal technique that takes account of the time value of money. The annual net cash flow for each year following the implementation of the change is reduced (discounted) in line with the estimated reduction in the value of money. The discounted cash flows are then added to produce a net present value. See Net present value.

Document analysis A technique whereby samples of documents are reviewed in order to uncover information about an organisation, process, system or data.

DSDM DSDM is a project delivery framework that emphasises continuous user involvement and the importance of delivering the right solution at the right time.

Entity relationship diagram A diagram produced using the entity relationship modelling technique. The diagram provides a representation of the data to be held in the IT system under investigation. See Entity relationship modelling.

Entity relationship modelling A technique that is used to model the data required within an IT system. The technique models the data required to describe the ‘things’ the system wishes to hold data about – these are known as the ‘entities’ – and the relationships between those entities.

Ethnographic study An ethnographic study is concerned with spending an extended period of time within an organisation in order to obtain a detailed understanding of the culture and behaviors of the business area under investigation.

Explicit knowledge The knowledge of procedures and data that is foremost in the business users’ minds, and which they can easily articulate. See Tacit knowledge.

External business environment The business environment that is external to an organisation and is the source of forces that may impact the organisation. Types of forces may include the introduction of new laws, social trends or competitor actions. See PESTLE, Porter’s five forces.

Force-field analysis A technique to consider those forces inside and outside the organisation that will support adoption of a proposal and those that will oppose it. This technique was developed originally by Kurt Lewin and may be used in evaluating options for change and in change management.

Functional requirement A requirement that is concerned with a function that the system should provide, i.e. what the system needs to do.

Gap analysis The comparison of two views of a business system, the current situation and the desired future. The aim of gap analysis is to determine where the current situation has problems or ‘gaps’ that need to be resolved. This leads to the identification of actions to improve the situation. The business activity modelling technique may be used to provide an ideal future view which can then be compared with a view of the current situation. An alternative, more detailed approach is to use the business process modelling technique, using ‘as is’ and ‘to be’ process models.

Holistic approach The consideration of all aspects of a business system and their interactions. This incorporates the people, process and organisational areas, in addition to the information and technology used to support the business system.

Impact analysis The consideration of the impact a proposed change will have on a business system and on the people working within it.

Intangible benefit A benefit to be realised by a business change project for which a credible, usually monetary, value cannot be predicted. See Tangible benefit.

Intangible cost A cost incurred by a business change project for which a credible, usually monetary, value cannot be predicted. See Tangible cost.

Internal business environment The internal capability of the organisation that affects its ability to respond to external environment forces. Techniques such as MOST analysis or the Resource Audit may be used to analyse the capability of the internal business environment. See MOST analysis and Resource audit.

Internal rate of return A calculation that assesses the return on investment from a project, defined as a percentage rate. This percentage is the discount rate at which the Net Present Value is equal to zero and can be used to compare projects to see which are the better investment opportunities. Alternatively, this rate may be used to compare all projects with the return that could be earned if the amount invested was left in the bank.

Interview An investigation technique to elicit information from business users. An interview agenda is prepared prior to the interview and distributed to participants. The interview is carried out in an organised manner and a report of the interview is produced once the interview has been concluded.

IT system A set of automated components hosted on a computer that work together in order to provide services to the system users. See Business system.

itSMF An internationally recognised forum for IT service management professionals

Institution of Engineering And Technology (IET) One of the world’s leading professional bodies for engineering and technology.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) These are specific areas of performance that are monitored in order to assess the performance of an organisation. Key performance indicators are often identified in order to monitor progress of the critical success factors. Measurable targets are set for KPIs. See Critical success factors.

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