Most organisations start because some enterprising individual steps out of the crowd and proceeds to undertake the provision of goods and services for himself and his fellow men. The usual motive is self-advancement, the profit motive, but it is possible for other motives to generate enterprise – for example, scientific interest in a project, technological interests, artistic self-expression and the ideology of the cooperative movement. However rudimentary the original arrangements, they are likely to be a complete system in that they will only be successful if they realise the original concept of the entrepreneur. At a later stage in the development of a business we may need to review its state. It may be at a time of expansion, or when the life-cycle of original projects is drawing to a close and a new direction is being sought, or at a time of take-over when a major rationalisation is taking place. We need to review the existing structure and analyse what has been going on. This procedure is called systems analysis. This is often thought of as a procedure which has something to do with computerisation. It is true that the use of computerised models enables alternative future developments to be tried out, and it is therefore a very useful technique for systems analysis, but the true purpose of systems analysis is to help decision makers. They need to understand what is being done at present, what alternative procedures might be adopted and the likely results from each alternative. Armed with this information it becomes possible to choose the best course. Once this course has been decided upon it becomes possible to plan and organise (or re-organise) the system, to phase it in and then direct and control it over the lifetime of the system – since every system that is instituted goes through a life-cycle similar to a product life-cycle. We therefore have two main stages:
• systems analysis • systems management
The concept envisaged by an entrepreneurial decision-maker is usually subjective – only the decision-maker really knows what it is. It may have been going through a fairly long gestation period, gradually taking shape in his/her mind. It may be of more recent development, perhaps triggered off by changes in an existing business, or the business of a competitor, so that an opportunity arises which was not envisaged before. Either way, the conceptual phase has to be replaced by a definition phase, in which the true objectives have to be made clear, and communicated to other staff who can advance their achievement. This stage calls for a thorough examination of the entrepreneur's objectives, and the potential for realising them. Thus some facets of the objective may be long-term and only realisable after other more easily obtained facets have been achieved. There may be difficulties of timing, cost, consolidation, risk, etc., which lead to alternative ways of proceeding and the need to choose the best path. The result of this definitional phase will be a clear statement of the original concept and the objectives to be achieved. It would usually be a prudent document, stating not only the ultimate goals believed to be attainable but also envisaging lesser goals that might be achieved if circumstances prevent the full realisation of the ultimate goals.