The business case is a narrative account of a situation as it might occur in the business world. You will be faced with either a question requiring an answer or a problem needing a solution. Your analysis of the case provides an understanding of the problem and allows possible decisions and recommendations to flow from it. The aim of your written report is to successfully convey that understanding to the reader.
All of the stages in planning are preliminary steps and should be methodically and thoroughly carried our BEFORE any actual writing is done. By the time you begin writing, you have completed the analytical process, have come to the necessary conclusions and are certain of the direction your firm should take.
When you read a case for the first time, the lack of structure can be intimidating. The first task is to impose some order on the mass of unorganized detail. The generalized analytical framework contains the following:
1. Identify the problem. Define the main questions posed in the case and think through any subordinate questions they may imply. Formulate a statement of intent.
2. Situation Analysis: Seek out and examine all data that will help you make the best recommendations. Remember the 3 Cs: Consumer, Company, Competition and industry.
3. Interpret the significance of the data (consumer, environmental, financial analyses, etc.) SWOT may be useful.
4. Formulate and Evaluate the alternatives. Having explained what it all means, you must then recommend what should be done.
5. Develop a course of action for management. Implementation Strategy. This is your ultimate decision that should urge specific action over a specified period of time.
1. IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM
The most critical and difficult part of a case analysis is defining the problem and the goals to be achieved. What is the reason for the report? Does it involve a major policy of a firm and have long term implications, or require a reaction to a specific action by a competitor? If a high level decision depends on your findings, precisely what information is required to make that decision? How will you support your recommendations?
The first step in the analysis is to read the case carefully -- several times -- in order to set all the facts in mind. In most instances, the details will be randomly presented, without structure or a clear direction, and you will be required to narrow and focus this information.
￼￼Sometimes it may be difficult to identify the exact nature of the problem before more information has been examined. If so, move on to have a closer look at the data and return to formulate a clearer idea of the problem later.
2. Situation Analysis
Decide what is essential: whether the facts are consistent and reliable, and what details are pertinent, some of which may be buried in a chance remark or minor statistical exhibit. Quantitative information must be examined, using a variety of ratios, graphs and tables. Cases may contain deliberate errors or gaps in the information. If so, assumptions may need to be made for the analysis to continue -- assumptions that you must be prepared to defend.
A complete analysis is not one-sided; a review of a business situation is not sound until both sides of an issue are considered and major supporting and opposing arguments have been presented. Interpret the facts impartially and stick with the hard evidence you have been given, or have researched. Personal viewpoints have no place in a business report. In addition, take care not to distort data by omitting vital points; statistics themselves do not lie but, taken out of context or rendered incomplete, they can certainly be manipulated.
You may feel after reviewing the facts that although you have a clear idea of the nature of the problem you do not have enough information to reach a firm decision, and recommend that it be postponed, pending the results of further research. Because of the…