Analysis Without Paralysis : 12 Tools to Make Better Strategic Decisions

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-09-17
  • Publisher: Ft Pr
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Since the publication of the original edition, the importance of interpreting business data has become mission critical for professionals in all types of businesses. These professionals have discovered the benefits of business analysis to address their organizations most crucial strategic and tactical challenges. The Second Edition of this successful guide to business analysis, shows readers how to apply analytical tools without having to mire themselves in advanced math or arcane theory. Analysis Without Paralysisteaches readers the fundamentals of business analysis through the use of 12 core tools. Each tool will make the way readers assess and interpret their business' data more effective, accurate, and actionable. Accessibly written, the authors walk readers through the entire business analysis process and then explain each of today's most valuable analysis tools so business professionals will be able to make better decisions about their company's strategy and operations--and achieve better results. The Second Edition includes three new analytical tools and updates all of the prior edition's data and examples. For each tool, the authors present clear descriptions, context, rationales, strengths, weaknesses, step-by-step instructions, and case study examples.

Author Biography


Babette E. Bensoussan is an entrepreneur, business coach, and Managing Director of The MindShifts Group, a consulting firm specializing in strategy and competition throughout the Australasia region. Widely recognized for her international expertise in competitive analysis, she mentors and trains executives and organizations to support their implementation of competitive intelligence programs. A Meritorious Award Winner of the international association of Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP), she has taught Competitive Intelligence in undergraduate and MBA programs at universities in Australia and China, and is Adjunct Professor at the School of Business, University of Technology, Sydney.


Craig S. Fleisher is Chief Learning Officer and Director of Professional Development at Aurora WDC, Madison, Wisconsin, a leading professional services firm in competitive and market intelligence. A former business school dean, MBA director, university research chair, and full professor, he is widely cited and considered the “Dean of Intelligence Analysis.” Recognized as one of Canada’s top MBA professors by Canadian Business, he held or holds positions at leading universities in Australia, Canada, Finland, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, the UK, and the US. A SCIP Meritorious Award winner, Fellow, and past President, he was founding editor of the Journal of Competitive Intelligence and Management.


Bensoussan and Fleisher are also the authors of the well known Business and Competitive Analysis book, a must have for any corporate analyst.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix

About the Authors     xi

Chapter 1 The Role of Analysis in Business Management     1

The Increasing Need for Effective Analysis     7

Concluding Observations      9

Chapter 2 The Analysis Process     13

What Is Analysis?     16

Chapter 3 BCG Growth/Share Portfolio Matrix     23

Description and Purpose     23

Link to the Experience Curve     24

Link to the Product Life Cycle     25

Combining the Experience Curve and Product Life Cycle     26

Strengths     29

Weaknesses     30

How to Do It     32

Case Study: Google as Viewed in a BCG Portfolio Planning Matrix     39

Chapter 4 Competitor Analysis     45

Description and Purpose     45

Strengths    47

Weaknesses     47

How to Do It     48

Case Study: Chinese Mobile Phone Market    59

Chapter 5 Driving Forces Analysis     63

Description and Purpose     63

Strengths    64

Weaknesses     65

How to Do It     66

Case Study: Driving Forces in the Digital Music Market     75

Chapter 6 Financial Ratios and Statement Analysis     81

Description and Purpose     81

Basic Concepts Underlying Financial Ratio and Statement Analysis (FRSA)     81

Components of Financial Statements     82

Assessing the Appropriateness of Ratios     83

Strengths      84

Weaknesses     84

How to Do It     86

Activity or Efficiency Ratios     87

Leverage or Solvency Analysis Ratios     90

Liquidity Analysis Ratios     91

Profitability Analysis Ratios     93

Other Analysis Ratios: Capital Market or Shareholder Returns     95

Methods of Ratio or Measure Comparison     98

Consolidation and Segmented Analysis     102

Case Study: FRSA of the Three Large North American Warehouse Clubs    104

Chapter 7 Five Forces Industry Analysis     109

Description and Purpose     109

Threat of New Entrants     111

Bargaining Power of Suppliers     112

Bargaining Power of Buyers     113

Threat of Substitute Products or Services     114

Degree of Rivalry Among Existing Players    115

Strengths    116

Weaknesses     117

How to Do It     118

Case Study: Applying the Five Forces Model to the U.S. Passenger Airline Industry     120

Case Study: Applying the Five Forces Model to the Global Pharmaceutical Industry     123

Chapter 8 Issue Analysis     127

Description and Purpose     127

Strengths    129

Weaknesses     130

How to Do It     131

Examples of Issue Analysis in Practice     144

Chapter 9 Product Life Cycle Analysis     147

Description and Purpose     147

Strengths    156

Weaknesses    157

How to Do It     158

Case Study: Apple’s Product Life Cycles and Growth Potential from the iPod to the iPad     163

Endnotes     165

Chapter 10 Scenario Analysis     167

Description and Purpose     167

Methods for Generating Scenarios     168

Strengths     172

Weaknesses     173

How to Do It     174

Case Study: Scenarios for Traditional and Emerging Forest Products Enterprises     179

Endnotes     184

Chapter 11 Macroenvironmental (STEEP/PEST) Analysis     187

Description and Purpose     187

Strengths     191

Weaknesses     192

How to Do It     193

Case Study: STEEP Analysis of the Life and Death of Brands     197

Chapter 12 SWOT Analysis     199

Description and Purpose     199

Strengths    202

Weaknesses     202

How to Do It     204

Case Study: Lockheed Martin Corporation     213

Endnote     222

Chapter 13 Value Chain Analysis     223

Description and Purpose     223

Strengths     229

Weaknesses     230

How to Do It     231

Case Study: Value Chain Analysis of Walmart Stores     242

Chapter 14 Win/Loss Analysis     249

Description and Purpose     249

Strengths     250

Weaknesses     252

How to Do It     254

Win/Loss Case Study: Email Marketing Solutions     260

Index     263

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