The SANE Business Analysis Framework.

At Mäd, we have had an extensive, diverse clientele spanning various industries, yet all with the same common goal: to improve their strategies and succeed. 

While every client is different and requires a unique approach, the first step for these projects is essentially the same: business auditing, or digging deep into how each client’s company operates. We conduct analyses of the business itself, as well as its processes, and find areas of deficiency, or, inversely, high potential. This is important to our understanding of the client and helps us better plan our approach. 

A helpful way to manage business auditing or analysis is to use frameworks that provide structure and help to ensure you aren’t overlooking any details

First, Why Analyze Businesses?

Let’s start with the obvious: business analysis is an important procedure to go through for any company, especially when planning change initiatives. It helps to track progress and growth, outline all operational processes and structures, identify strengths and weaknesses, and find opportunities for growth.

Business analysis typically involves looking at internal data and performance, along with external information, such as market trends. This is necessary to gain unbiased insight into how the company is performing, as well as to understand the competition and the customers. All this can help organizations make informed decisions about their strategies and operations.

On a basic level, business analysis can be done through methods like surveys, interviews, market research, and, of course, by collecting and interpreting data from the business itself. For example, you can start by outlining and evaluating all the business processes in your organization. This will give insight into how things are running in the company, and whether or not improvements are required. 

Applying Frameworks.

Particularly when it concerns change and risk management, preparation is vital for companies to avoid costly mistakes and maximize their potential for success. Performing a business analysis can help accomplish this by giving a comprehensive view of the organization and enabling a holistic approach to problem-solving. This can be done using frameworks. 

Frameworks are tools and/or techniques that provide a structured approach to analysis. They are helpful in guiding the audit process, evaluating the current state of the business, and then developing effective strategies to achieve objectives. 

Below are a few of the most commonly used frameworks in the business ecosystem. 

SWOT Analysis.

Perhaps the most well-known framework in business, marketing, and sales, SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This approach is used to analyze both the internal and external factors that can affect a business and is a great basic starting point for a full audit. 

PEST Analysis.

The acronym PEST stands for Political, Economic, Social, and Technological. This framework is useful mainly to assess the external environment of a company by looking at the bigger picture and identifying potential opportunities and threats in the market. 

Porter’s Five Forces.

The ‘five forces’ in this tool are (1) competitive rivalry, (2) supplier power, (3) buyer power, (4) threat of substitution, and (5) threat of new entry.  Referring to these elements, Porter’s framework helps to analyze the competitive environment of an organization and evaluate the operations and positioning of its industry rivals. 

Value Chain Analysis.

Much like business process analysis, this framework involves determining the activities and processes in a company’s value chain to find opportunities for improvement. It is typically used as a management tool that prompts internal teams to consider how each step or task adds value to the final product or service.

Gap Analysis.

The gap analysis framework is used to compare the current state of a business to its desired state and determine whether business objectives are being met. This approach is also often referred to as a needs assessment or need-gap analysis, as it also requires thinking about the steps that can be taken to reach unmet business goals. 

All of these tools can be incredibly helpful in evaluating an organization and its performance. However, a combination of these techniques can be even more effective in auditing either your own or your client’s business. 

Mäd, yet SANE.

If Mäd were to have its very own business analysis framework, we would call it SANE. (After all, in the often chaotic contemporary business world, we are in urgent need of some sense and order.)

SANE is a combined result of the most relevant parts of each approach we outlined above and encapsulates the typical method we utilize to analyze our clients’ businesses here at Mäd. The abbreviation stands for: 

  • Strengths. Our method is to start by recognizing the existing strengths of the client’s organization, including its core competencies, unique selling points, and competitive advantage. Why does the business stand out in the market? Which aspects can be leveraged to advance it even further?
  • Areas for Improvement. The next step is to look at current weaknesses, including inefficiencies, redundancies, and operational bottlenecks. This gives us insight into both areas that can be developed or improved and redundant qualities that no longer serve the business.
  • Needs Assessment. Drawing on elements of the gap (or need-gap) analysis, we then conduct a needs assessment to identify gaps in the company's resources, skills, and capabilities. This step helps to clarify the needs (obviously) of the business based on what it’s currently lacking, while also considering emerging market trends and customer demands.
  • External Environment. Finally, this brings us to a more thorough evaluation of the external conditions surrounding the organization. This can include factors like the competitive landscape, industry trends, and regulatory issues that may impact the company's operations — just like the PEST framework. 

How to Use Frameworks.

Most frameworks we have mentioned so far tend to outline a process of analysis through a particular set of steps. But the procedure doesn’t have to be so rigid. 

In general, most business analysis, regardless of the framework type, can be done in a few simple steps: 

1.Define the problem. Identify the problem and define the scope of the analysis.

2. Gather data. Collect relevant data from internal and external sources.

3. Analyze data. Evaluate data for patterns, trends, and correlations.

4. Develop solutions. Think of possible solutions to the problem based on the analysis.

5. Test solutions. Experiment with solutions to determine their effectiveness.

6. Implement solutions. Find what works, and put it into action.

7. Monitor results. Track the progress and outcomes of the solutions to ensure they are meeting the objectives.

Overall, while many frameworks for business analysis may suggest a specific set of steps, the overall process can be simplified into a few key stages that apply to most situations. By following these steps, businesses can identify and address problems in a structured and effective manner, without being constrained by a rigid framework.

Final Thoughts.

So, there you have it. Business auditing doesn’t have to be as complicated as it seems — if you have the right tools and know how to use them. 

Business analysis frameworks in particular are a powerful technique that can help organizations identify and address their most pressing challenges. 

Although countless frameworks for analysis and evaluation exist, we made our process simpler by developing our own approach that we use as a starting point when working with clients. It draws on the key parts of other common methodologies while allowing us to focus on the things that matter most.

Whether you are evaluating your own or your client’s company, understanding the different types of frameworks will help you to find one that best fits their needs. Then, use it to solve problems, find solutions, and develop a strategy that brings results and drives the business forward. 

If you’re interested in enhancing your company’s strategy and improving operational excellence through digital transformation and better processes, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at