The Need for Business Assessments
Copyright AKAVEIL Technologies LLC all rights reserved
Written by D. Gowen
What is an Assessment?
Basically, an assessment is a knowledge tool. It enables you to learn about something and understand its nature or quality. Through understanding the current state of something via an assessment, judgements about what to do next and subsequent improvement recommendations and decisions evolve.
Many tasks and sources of information within a business are assessment based. Financial reports, work in progress dashboards, call center queues, all metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) and more. Using this information as an input causes us to interpret what it means and if the circumstances merit, take some resulting action to correct or improve from that point forward.
This is the nature of business management in general and therefore, assessment is a normal ongoing activity in daily operations. However, there are occasions where specific periodic assessments should be undertaken to drive strategic decisions and tactical planning. Operational analysis alone is not enough.
Type of Assessments / Techniques
- Culture (people within an organizational context)
- Process Maturity
- Service & Product Portfolio
- Business Continuity
- Availability & Capacity
- Risk Management
- BIA (Business Impact Analysis)
- Vendor / Supplier
- Projects & Programs
- Systems / Tools / Technologies / Applications
- Industry / Markets
- Sales Capability
- Quality (Service / Customer)
- Financial Health
- SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)
- Gap Analysis
- Ishikawa (fishbone diagram)
When to Use an Assessment
The need for assessments is based on what you need to know, why and when. How well is your business running and what are your challenges, problems, and concerns? What is most at risk? Since assessments produce information for analysis, the result will be knowledge. Applied knowledge is wisdom. All businesses should desire to make wise decisions.
However, engaging in too many assessments could be wasteful. Assessments cost money (people, skills and time) and require expertise in the subject area. They must also be done as objectively as possible or the resultant decisions for improvement may be flawed. Therefore, consultants with experience and expertise are often used to conduct various types of assessments. On the flip side, no assessments may indicate running a business in the dark and hoping for the best.
Therefore, strike a balance. Base the need for assessment type and frequency on operational data – how well are products and services being delivered in terms of customer perspective? Also, is the company growing according to its strategic goals? Is there a need to save money, eliminate waste, become more efficient? What is your level of confidence that your business is sustainable? Acknowledge where you are uncertain and running in the dark!
Some assessments are done regularly, perhaps on a quarterly or annual basis. Others are done as the need is justified for a future strategic initiative or because of an external factor, risk level or compliance requirement. Company governance may set the standards for certain assessment types and frequency.
Ultimately, business success is based on knowledge and decisions. A balanced approach to assessments drives strategic, tactical, and operational improvements. By answering tough questions on a regular basis, empowered business leaders target what they need to know, why and when. This triggers the appropriate assessment type in a strategically oriented manner. Results? Applied knowledge and wisdom on a timely basis.
The Bottom Line
Many business assessments are IT based and require specialized expertise. Key areas such as infrastructure, cloud, cybersecurity, risk management, business continuity, disaster recovery, systems and products, capacity, data compliance, maintenance and support and understanding the gaps in current state to recommended improvements are vital to your business success.
AKAVEIL Technologies has business management experience, process knowledge, and vast technical expertise. Our consulting services staff work directly with your business as a trusted advisor. Our customer success model is Assessment + Strategic Planning + Alignment + Execution = Return on Investment (ROI). Remain competitive and grow your business with AKAVEIL.
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