A Pattern of Business Activity (or PBA) is simply that, the documented explanation of the pattern to which you would expect to see a particular business activity conducted.
EVERY business activity can or should be predictable (to a large degree) and many activities are well understood in terms of their nature.
The simplest examples are those activities which are very structured and repetitive such as monthly payroll processing:
It is know that at the beginning of the month the payroll staff will be, mainly, engaged in queries, entering new starters, updates and the like. Later in the month they'll start entering any payroll hours, adjustments, etc. and then towards the end of the month the payroll will be processed, the interfaces will be run to the financial systems and BACS is processed. In terms of staff resources this is a simple PBA as shown.
But the processing the payroll team need to undertake is just the business process (the PBA); the service provider needs to examine this and understand what services are used to accomplish each activity and what level of demand is represented throughout the cycle. Once you understand this you can make decisions about how much capacity to have available (processing, storage, bandwidth, support resources, etc.) at what time in order to support the business needs.
But, that's just taking a basic view. How about if you combined the PBAs for all of the business activities across the organisation? This would give you a clear picture of the service demands from all business units over the week or month or quarter or year. Or would it? Well, not entirely because all we've talked about so far are the regular aspects; those things which happen periodically and repetitively. It's also useful to add to this information all the business activity demands associated with all the changes predicted over the same period. This gives a complete impression of the anticipated demand for all the service providers services.
Once you've collected this information it can be used in so many ways:
- for portfolio analysis to identify what services and what elements of service need the most investment;
- during service design to determine the service architecture which will best meet the availability, capacity, continuity and security needs and determine the overall service level requirements;
- during testing to understand the baseline against which actual performance can be compared;
- during live operations to highlight points in the cycle where actual performance is not meeting expectations; and
- as part of continual service improvement to identify opportunities to better meet the business requirements in a timely and cost effective manner.
If you'd like any help putting your PBAs together, get in touch with us.