Applying the FAROUT© Method
Choosing from an increasing array of techniques can be one of the most difficult tasks facing an analyst. Research of the use of conceptual tools and techniques suggests that executives heavily support the idea that business managers who use the right tools will succeed, while simultaneously recognizing that most tools over-promise and under-deliver results. We think one of the reasons this is believed is that the methods selected and used by analysts are frequently incorrect and inappropriate to their needs.
Using appropriate techniques and using them correctly provides the following benefits:
- Greater understanding of relationships and situations
- Focus the analyst on the data and facts
- Guide efficient data collection efforts
- Encourages analysts to be rigorous
- Forces analysts to think critically
- Promotes a proactive attitude to analysis
There is a process to properly identify analysis techniques, and analysts should think through a series of questions before they make their choice:
- What is the full range of techniques that can be used to respond to the question asked or issue at hand?
- What is the focus and scope of the competitive phenomenon being analyzed?
- What are the constraints—personal, informational, organizational, resources, and contextual—that might affect the analysis process?
The FAROUT© Approach
FAROUT© is based on the premise that for analytical output to be insightful, intelligent, and valuable to business decision makers, it needs to meet a number of common characteristics. The output needs to be:
Failure to meet all these criteria to a satisfactory level will result in the analytical output being less than optimal and of lesser value to the decision maker. These six components of FAROUT© are described more fully in our pdf paper as well as providing a FAROUT© Summary of over 29 different analytical methods.