A business manual might add value to my business, do you have any software I could try?

One phone call can change your day and lead to something new. One such call was about software I worked with to model businesses.

In this post, read how a question asking me to demonstrate business and process modelling software, quickly, resulted in a short-list of links and identified an alternative that could have potential.

One phone call can change your day

Image by Iamtheo (CC BY 2.0)

The problem:
My caller mentioned they knew someone who wanted to sell their business.  She had suggested to the potential seller that they consider documenting their business before they sold it. The idea would be that effective documentation would help prospective buyers and business brokers understand more about the business and make it easier to value.  She then offered to contact me about the software I had used for business modelling, which among other features, had the ability to generate a business manual.

A business manual can vary in size and content to describe many aspects of a business, including: the vision and mission statements, goals, organisation structure, roles, key performance indicators, policies, procedures, job descriptions, as well as details about each employee, customer, client, contractor, supplier, product and service they provide.  With this type of information, the potential buyer could use it to decide if the business was viable for them or not, and whether they would like the business to continue in the same or different way. One advantage for the seller of using software would be that the model could be created with one program and the manual could be customised for potential buyers and the successful buyer, so that the manual for the buyer would include intellectual property or commercial in-confidence material that would not be shown prior to the purchase.

Finding the fault:
These outcomes interested the potential seller and my caller asked if I could demonstrate the software I used to use for modelling businesses. Unfortunately, I no longer had the software because my role over the last few years, with my previous employer, did not need me to document organisations or their processes. However, having occasionally looked up software for business and process modelling to keep up-to-date with their development, I was quickly able to email some information and links on different software packages.

The remedy:
When our phone conversation was finished, I searched my emails for modelling software and sure enough, found emails with software names on them.  What a beauty! I then copied and pasted their names into a new email message, provided links to their respective supplier websites, useful tutorials, and local contact details where applicable.  Finally, I wrote the pros and cons of each software that I thought would help someone who was business savvy, had little experience with this type of software and who wanted to create a business manual in a timeframe needed for the sale of their business.

Installation, testing and closure:
The software I short-listed were: BizAgi, TKO Business Modeler and Tibco.  Each had their advantages and disadvantages, varying with their ease of use, licensing plans, features, active community, training and support. The feedback from the original caller was that the potential seller has started experimenting with one of the software packages already.

However, this was not where the story ended.  While getting information about the above software, I thought that newer and better software probably existed.  So I looked up process modelling software on my default search engine and to my surprise, one article led to another and I found myself reading more about enterprise architecture, IT architecture management and service management. From what I saw, the software developed to capture, analyse and report on these business strategies had potential to facilitate business solutions to not only meet current requirements but also to develop plans that were modular and flexible to meet future changes.  Enterprise architecture was relatively new for me, but as a result of one phone call it could become something useful:

Introductions to Enterprise Architecture (YouTube)

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