Here are a few of the questions we get asked most frequently by consultants when considering becoming certified in System Mapping®.

If you want to discuss our System Mapping® process in more detail please to discuss how System Mapping® can benefit your business.

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Scroll down or click on questions to the left to see the answers.

Who are we and what do we do?

We are the creator of web-based systems thinking applications that help consultants apply their skills and talents more effectively. Because they are based on Systems Thinking, these applications allow consultants to literally see an entire organization, and how different areas are impacting others.

Our System Mapping® process has been developed over the last 12 years and used in mission critical projects with Fortune 500 clients, such as QUALCOMM, Sony Ericsson, AT&T, and Sun Microsystems – to name a few.

And now we are offering this process to other consultants.


What does System Mapping® do?

System Mapping® is a powerful business analysis tool that rapidly allows your consultants to do three key things:

  • Collect datain real time using our web-based application. This saves valuable interview time and allows you to see the data instantly.
  • Analyze that data using a graphic, easy-to-understand framework. The graphic nature of the framework allows you to rapidly identify areas of strength and areas where there are serious issues within an entire organization.
  • Identify the impacts that issues are having on other areas, pinpoint their root causes, and test the viability of actions to deal with these issues – before implementation.

This process greatly reduces the time needed to collect and analyze the information – without reducing the fees you charge your clients.


Why do we need this if we have experienced consultants who already do business analysis?

System Mapping® is an aid for your consultants, not a replacement, and it is most effective when used by experienced consultants. Let’s face it: the consulting field is changing because clients want to spend their budget on implementation, not analysis. System Mapping® helps consultants leverage their skills and expertise further by accelerating the data collection process and allowing rapid analysis of the underlying issues. You can spend more of your time working on recommendations that your clients can implement – successfully.


What if I’m happy with our current processes and offerings?

System Mapping® is not meant to replace what you currently do. It does, however, substantially decrease the amount of time it currently takes to collect and analyze data, identify problems and their underlying causes, and create sustainable recommendations for your client. In a nutshell, it helps you complete the project faster AND more effectively.


But we charge for our time. Why would we want something that takes less time?

What you charge your client is up to you. But whether you charge the same or offer a discount, the increased speed and effectiveness will allow you to increase your margin, making this a better year. And here’s an added bonus: your client will get better results.


What does “getting certified” mean?

We deliver a 2-3 day session at your site (or ours, if you prefer) to help you learn how to use System Mapping®. During this session we focus on identifying situations where System Mapping® is an appropriate approach; the background technology and thinking that goes into System Mapping® and how to use the process in the most effective way. We like to include real client data from your own clients so you hit the ground running. The certification includes additional coaching from one of our assigned specialists to make sure you are getting the most from your investment.


What happens after I am certified?

When you have identified a client project that you think will be suitable for the System Mapping® process, you can do either of the following:

  • Access our Certified Consultant Portal located on our website using the ID number you received when you were certified. Then, follow the easy-to-use instructions for setting up your project. It’s as easy as that!

    OR, if you prefer . . .
  • Contact your coach, and they will be happy to discuss your client situation and help you set up the process.


I am not very technical. Do I have to deal with our IT department?

That’s the beauty of System Mapping®. Its web-based applications don’t require support from any IT department. If you can navigate the internet and shop at Amazon – you can use System Mapping®.


What is the academic basis for the System Mapping® model?

Here’s the brief answer to our applications’ complex foundation: The core knowledge behind System Mapping® includes a number of academic and researched roots that we have been working with since 1996.

At the core of System Mapping® is Jay Wright Forrester’s work on systems thinking, as outlined in his book, Industrial Dynamics (1961). This theory has been enhanced by Chris Argyris and Donald Schön (Theory in Practice. Increasing Professional Effectiveness, 1974), and Peter Senge (The Fifth Discipline) who popularized Systems Thinking in his landmark work.

The problem with all these wonderful, effective theories is that many practicing corporate managers struggled to make use of the complexities of Systems Thinking. So we embarked on a mission to make Systems Thinking . . . well . . . more user-friendly. Focusing upon the aspects of interconnectivity between elements, as well as reinforcing and causal loops, we combined Systems Thinking with aspects of existing models, such as the McKinsey 7 S model developed by Tom Peters and Bob Waterman; concepts of Systems Dynamics, Gardner’s work on multiple intelligences, Tolman’s work on Cognitive Maps (1948) and Tony Buzan’s Mindmapping techniques to create the unique and easy-to-understand framework we have today.

We have validated our process through hundreds of interviews with corporate clients. Along the way we have discovered other academic and popular works that have supported the evolution of this dynamic model, such as Daniel Goleman’s work Blink! and Checkland & Wilson’s work on SSM (Soft System Methodology) at the University of Lancaster in the UK.


What other developments do you have planned?

We are currently working on two new versions for comparative System Mapping® that can be used before, during and after a Merger & Acquisition. Pre M&A, it can be used as a “Go” or “No Go” decision making tool. System Mapping® clearly shows areas of strength and alignment with the target organization - and where issues will arise if the M&A proceeds.

The second version will aid in Integration Planning. Once the M&A is complete this application will accelerate the planning of the 100-day integration plan by identifying current and future areas of alignment and non-alignment. After establishing the initial benchmark, it will show areas where change initiatives are working to integrate the companies.


How can you use the System Map™ to determine where issues are happening?

System Mapping® allows you to work with up to 20 demographic groups – by level, role, location, or any other criteria you want – to isolate where the issues lie. It does not identify individuals, so no confidentiality is broken. But it does enable you to clearly see where the issues are within an organization.


Can I use System Mapping® without showing it to the client?

Absolutely. Its flexibility and allows you to work in the way you want. You can either use the System Maps™ behind closed doors to identify the issues and then offer your conclusions and recommendations to your client. Or you can use it with a live client group to facilitate discussions and understanding. It’s your choice.


We have people geographically dispersed around the globe. How will System Mapping® work for us?

Because System Mapping® is web-based, people can access the applications from anywhere in the world, share and review data, and discuss recommendations – all in real time.


How many people should be included for one System Map™?

The short answer is any number. But for practical purposes we suggest using a percentage basis to “thin slice” the information. Your designated Simfony® coach will be happy to discuss the options with you and help you make the best decisions about who and how many people to include when collecting data.


Is System Mapping® available in other languages?

At this point, no. However, we will be happy to work with you on translation issues if your client is not an English speaker. There is an immediate benefit for non-English speakers, though. Because System Mapping® has a graphic interface and uses colors in data collection, anyone can easily understand the System Maps™.