Also called abstract or business modelling, essential modelling can be an extremely valuable tool for the business analyst. Instead of modelling how things are done (the current system), or how they might be done (a proposed system), we model what is done, or what might be done. For example the purpose of a Customer Service Department is to provide customers with a level of service they expect (or the company defines). Things like call centres and customer relationship management systems are the how of customer service.

This switch in thinking is not always easy as we have to ignore the very practical matters of procedures, methods, people, technology etc. The more involved we are in the system that we are looking at, the more difficult it may be to look at things conceptually. We have to look at what business objective we are trying to achieve. The business analyst who can do this - and explain it to clients and management - becomes a most valuable asset to the business...

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