Soft Systems Methodology & SMBs

Soft Systems Methodology, commonly known as SSM was created by Peter Checkland. He stresses that it is helpful in a wide range of situation by people without technical backgrounds and its prospect of efficacy. This is a tool to produce and evaluate plans for the future of the business. The outcome may be foreseen and plan may be successful if SSM will be used. There are two approaches on SSM which are real world methods and systems thinking. Real world activities relate to its feasibility in the present situation and in harmony with the real world order. The importance of this aspect is the use of the present and real situation which is experienced by the company not what is planned by the management for the future.

soft systems methodology

SSM recognizes that change is constant and that there is not objectively verifiable real world wherein the real world involves the individuals’ derived experienced based view, wherein changes in actions are adopted and new experiences gained. The use of systems approach is organizing the facts and information in a methodical manner to be able to obtain the desired outcomes. There are seven steps involved in the relevance of SSM in this present case study:

  • Identify the structured problem. This is the stage where the individual tries to think of the presenting problem and would restructure it based on the needs of the organization.
  • Convey the problem using the rich pictures. This is relating the problem to the present situation and trying to think of solutions based on real situations and using tangible resources.
  • Define the root definitions of the relevant system. The system will then evaluated and determine how the problem emerged.
  • Form the conceptual models. Identify the feasible models which the organization may follow in terms of solving issues within the organization. The model should be in accordance with the capabilities and resources of the organization so that it will not be hard to implement it.
  • Compare the models to the real world. The model used must be easily adopted by the organization by comparing it with real situations that may happen in a company.
  • Determine its feasibility and desirable changes. The model and the solutions to be used should be applicable to the changes that may happen within the organization.
  • Find actions to improve the problem situation. Determine the actions that the organization may adopt in properly addressing the situation.

Here’s a video, briefly explaining the Soft Systems Methodology.– Created using PowToon.


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To be able to resolve certain conflicts and come upon an effective outcome, the initial stages of SSM will be used which are feasibility, analysis and design aspects. Earlier, a plan was created to address the growing problem of multinational companies in the popular trend of online shopping. Thus, this part will try to show the feasibility, analysis, and design of the plan as a whole.

  • Feasibility of the Plan. Basically, the plan revolves in four main stages which are a translation, analysis, trade-off, and synthesis. These four aspects were considered the guide in achieving the objectives of the organization and ensuring that problems will be resolved. To be able to determine if the plan is feasible within the company, it should be noted if the methods used are in accordance with the capabilities and resources within it. The nature of the organization and how can it best apply within it should be properly assessed to determine if it is appropriate to be followed. Multinational companies involve an extensive scope in terms of its resources, clients to be served, branches to manage and countries where products are delivered. The single initiative of competing with online shopping is a risk for large companies as their shift to a technology savvy way may be detrimental to their operations. Thus, a plan to be created and followed within it should be scrutinized carefully so that if it will be applied, it will not cause any damage and should bring forth better results for the organization in the end. Taking the plan step by step is an important aspect of the plan so that everything will be well managed. The real situation should be considered as this will be the basis whether the plan had been successful or not.
  • Analysis of the Plan. The project plan created for this case study adheres to the principle of the systems approach as the researcher believes that systems approach can be better applied in a good structure international organization. The adoption of technology within any industry brings forth different impact such as new trends in operations and changes within business operations wherein each organization may adopt easily or in a slowly phased manner. Thus, multinational companies may have seen the advantages of the use of technology within their corporations, but utilizing it in a business wherein even small and medium firms can compete with them is an alarming aspect of the multinational industry. The easiness in communicating with different people and interactive advantage that the internet brings makes it hard for multinational companies to advance themselves from smaller businesses. The plan which was stated in this study tries to maximize the gap between the capabilities of small companies and the large multinational businesses. Thus, technology had minimized this gap, but with proper management of resources and adopting the right and feasible plan for a company, this may be addressed easily.
  • Design of the Plan. This part will determine if the project plan will be feasible within the organization as a whole. With the presenting plan which will be used as the important guide in making the company stronger in the market and ensuring that the company will maintain the interest of the clients in their products and services. The design of the plan does not only include the different stages which must be deliberately followed but should also consider the ability of the workers to adopt such changes and if the resources of the company are applicable to the plan initiated by the management. The subject of the plan is regarding certain methods which the company must adopt and it includes the use of technology. Thus, the applications of the plan should be in accordance with structure and operations of the organization as a whole. The plan should also then be implemented on the basis of the real world. Just what is reiterated on the different steps of using SSM, the model or design done should be insistently evaluated with the existent actuality. In this aspect, it may turn into a deeper analysis and alterations will prosper leading to the needed improvements for the said plan may be done. The SSM serves as the basic factor on how the plan will be applied cautiously and effectively within the organization.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Agatha Christie says:

    Any change to a business system requires that changes be desirable from the systems perspective but also culturally feasible. In this application, businesses and other supporting agencies have been required to work closely and cooperate with the government in the support.


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