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What is Business Activity Modelling?

by Business Change Team · Updated on Nov 10, 2020

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Business Activity Modelling is a technique to show high-level activities and logical dependencies as a conceptual model, based on a stakeholders perspective.

In a business analysis project there are often varying and differing business stakeholder beliefs, values and concerns held about the organisation’s business system, that may result in conflicting priorities and requirements. Facilitating discussion to explore gaps and overlaps between stakeholders perspectives is key to reaching agreement about worthwhile business improvement opportunities.

One of many business analysis techniques, Business Activity Modelling provides a strategic view of the high-level business activities to be carried out given the stakeholders perspective and their world-view.

Five types of business activity are represented in a business activity model:

  1. Plan: the planning activities that set what must be in place beforehand
  2. Enable: the enabling activities that ensure necessary resources are available
  3. Do: the doing activities that process the primary business system transformation
  4. Monitor: the monitoring activities that check performance measures
  5. Control: the control activities that institute corrective actions

The Business Activity Modelling technique provides a conceptual view, which can be used to compare what could be happening with what is actually happening so that any gaps can be explored.

Why use Business Activity Modelling?

Stakeholder perspectives, and the potential business activities that their view implies, need to be considered in the context of improvement opportunities. Often differing world-views emerge, making it necessary to explore each business perspective individually to facilitate the disconnect and reach a decision on the way forward. Either through compromise agreements and /or  resolving the conflicting elements.

Business Activity Modelling focuses on ‘what’ the organisation is doing, rather than ‘how’ it does it (which is more the job of Business Process Modelling). Meaning that business analysts must clear their minds of what’s going on now, and instead channel their domain knowledge and conceptual thinking to consider what could be happening.

How do you use Business Activity Modelling?

There are five main business activity types that need to be mapped out, which are built upon from the ‘transformation’ element of the CATWOE Analysis.

Plan

The ‘planning’ activities that decide which resources should be obtained and setting performance levels.

What planning activities must be considered beforehand in order to complete the ‘doing’ and ‘enabling’ activities?

For example:

  • Define Employee Requirements
  • Identify Suppliers
  • Choose Materials
  • Plan Infrastructure
  • Source Finance

Enable

The ‘enabling’ activities that put in place the resources required for the transformation.

What enabling activities are needed to ensure that the resources for performing the ‘doing’ activities are available?

For example:

  • Recruit Employees
  • Train Employees
  • Order Materials
  • Develop Products
  • Establish Facilities

Do

The ‘doing’ activities that perform the primary tasks at the heart of the business system.

What doing activities perform the organisation’s core business activities, for which it has been set-up to do?

For example:

  • Sell Product
  • Perform Service
  • Deliver Training
  • Provide Consulting
  • Give Advice

Monitor

The ‘monitoring’ activities that measure the operational expectations for the primary tasks.

What monitoring activities check performance levels set during the ‘planning activities’ for the ‘doing’ activities?

For example:

  • Monitor Sales
  • Monitor Returns
  • Evaluate Customer Feedback
  • Appraise Staff Performance
  • Measure Staff Satisfaction

Control

The ‘controlling’ activities that take corrective action when performance is not as expected.

What controlling activities come into play to take action when ‘monitoring’ activities reveal poor performance?

For example:

  • Adjust Sales Target
  • Reconsider Product
  • Improve Service Levels
  • Adjust Performance Level
  • Change Work Environment

In summary, the Business Activity Model is a conceptual model that represents the ideal set of business activities required to implement the particular business perspective.

Would you like some help with this?

Business Change Management Group (BCMG) helps you build your business analyst career by teaching you the knowledge, skills and abilities needed, with an emphasis throughout on practical learning and real-life case studies.

BCMG’s Strategic Business Analysis course introduces you to all the essential skills of business analysis, including strategic analysis, stakeholder management, business activity modelling, gap analysis and making a business case.

Find out more about Strategic Business Analysis

Where do you use Business Activity Modelling?

Business Activity Modelling takes place after the initial investigation of a situation and the analysis of stakeholder perspectives, and can be used to:

  • Determine the root cause of conflicting stakeholder perspectives
  • Combine differing stakeholder perspectives towards consensus
  • Perform gap analysis between the ‘as-is’ situation and ‘to-be’ model
  • Identify business improvement opportunities and solution options
  • Form the basis of detailed analysis through business process modelling

There isn’t a specific notation for the symbols used on a business activity model. Three symbols are typically used: an oval for the activities, an arrowed line for indicating the logical dependencies between them and a lightening strike exiting the control activity.

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