Step 1: Define
Start by defining all the variables that will be used in your analysis, such as people and the roles they play or systems and the problems they solve. You need to create an isolated environment in which to analyse the various elements of your target subject. The more specific you are, the more accurate results you will be.
Step 2: Analyse
Ask questions and gather responses to gain insights into the subjects that matter to your business the most. You need to know what works and what doesn't. Incremental steps forward are good but it's the big leaps that will make your business thrive. Focus on impact, get a direction!
Step 3: Change
Einstein stated "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results". No matter how good you are, if you're doing the wrong thing you will inevitably fail. Our framework will let you identify the all-important things you need to focus on in order to make a difference.

The Basics

Entity Lifecycles and Stages

ESF is a groundbreaking tool that will help your business thrive. We’d dare to say that it’s as close to a magic formula as it gets. The concept is simple, you collect data in key areas, ask a series or questions critical to these areas and the ESF platform will provide recommendations on what needs to be improved.

There are three principles you need to follow in order to get the most of ESF.

An entity lifecycle provides the foundation for all data captured by your business about a subject that you are working with and the stages it goes through. Each stage provides the context within which your data is collected as it’s simply not enough to capture data about an entity – you need to pinpoint which part of the entity lifecycle the collected data relates to.

For instance, knowing what systems are used throughout the entire lifecycle of an Account entity won’t help you identify the potential areas for change as it’s way too broad. Knowing the systems involved in the creation stage of the Account will, on the other hand, help you identify opportunities for improvement.

Below is an example of how the lifecycle of an Account entity may look:

Entity Account
Stage 1 Creation
Stage 2 Approval
Stage 3 Management
Stage 4 Inactivation
Stage 5 Closure

We have identified that the lifecycle of an Account in our example consists of 5 stages. Each of your company’s accounts may have the same lifecycle but not every account will progress through all 5 stages.

Some lifecycles will end prematurely without ever reaching the final stage. Missed opportunities like this may prevent your organisation from meeting its objectives. That’s where ESF comes in – to help you optimise the process. But how do you do that?

Each of the stages will have a number of tasks involved which, when completed, will allow your entity to progress to the next stage of its lifecycle. In other words, there’s quite a lot going on behind the curtains that decides whether the progress is made or not.

Let’s take a look at what happens between the first two stages of the Account entity:

Stage 1 Creation
Task 1 Jump
Task 2 Roll
Task 3 Spin
Task 4 Sing
Stage 2 Approval

Progress can only be made if all of the tasks are completed. In order to complete each of the stages you will need to:

How do you accomplish the above, you ask? By asking questions, of course. That’s right, you will need to question people as well as systems and processes involved in order to identify what needs to change and how. But, of course, it’s not just asking questions, that would be too easy. You need to ask the right questions, at the right time, addressing the right people and systems they are using to obtain the right kind of responses that can then be analysed.

This is precisely what ESF was built for!

Of course, your organisation will have numerous entities and lifecycles you may wish to analyse in order to learn how to improve multiple areas of your business. The table below shows a few more examples of the stages an entity may be going through, just to give you an idea of how complex the process may be if tools like ESF are not used. Bear in mind that these are only the stages and there’s also a number of tasks in each of these stages that you will need to analyse.

EntityStage 1Stage 2Stage 3Stage 4Stage 5
Credit NoteCreationApprovalProcessingClosure

Hopefully by now you have a good understanding of what ESF is all about. It’s brilliant, isn’t it? We would highly recommend that you request our free taster pack, which contains samples of our questions. It should give you a flavour of how ESF can change your business for the better. Also, take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions below. 

Get In The Know

Frequently Asked Question

ESF implementation may take as little as 1 week to get some exciting results depending on the size of your business, the issues its facing, the goals you wish to achieve and the number of staff members you have available to work on the project.

Customers who decided to go with a certified partner have, on average, cut the implementation times by half. Using the pre-defined question sets is a great way to speed things up, too!

That really depends on the type and size of your business and, most importantly, on the number of entities you wish to analyse and the number of stages each of these entities have in their lifecycles.

Normally you will need at least 1 analyst to lead the data capture work and 1 subject matter expert (SME) per business area to utilise ESF’s GRASP method to capture and analyse business information of a typical 5-stage entity lifecycle.

Certified partners know ESF inside out and will help you ensure that the framework is applied in the correct way to render results that are accurate and trustworthy. Using a certified partner will also speed up the process meaning that you will be able to identify problem areas quicker.

The ESF is designed to be compatible with all business types and models, so, in short, yes, it will work with your business. The framework is extremely flexible and can be adapted to any scenario. There are a wide range of pre-defined question sets available that you can use to speed up the process. Alternatively, you can define your own questions.

You’re very unlikely to get meaningful answers if you don’t ask meaningful questions. That’s where the ESF question sets come in. Each of the question sets focus on a different business objective and are designed to capture comparable data and key business information. They are used to enable comparison in order to provide insight into areas of improvement.

Choose the question set that is right for you or simply create your own.

Keep it simple! Seriously, the simpler you can make this, the more insight you will get. The standard set of entities, lifecycles and stages provided with the ESF platform will meet 90% of all business needs without any additional analysis requirements.

In other words, start with the out-of-the-box solution as it is more than likely to meet all your requirements or simply use it to create a proof of value proposition.