Southbeach brings together ideas from many different analytical methodologies and brainstorming styles.
Southbeach Modeller does not try to automate each and every method individually; rather, it provides a unified notation and creativity engine able to capture the common elements of each.
For example, the concept of a 'harmful' function counteracting a 'useful' function, may be called a 'blocker' in one method, and a 'problem' in another.
Similarly, almost all methods divide 'problems' into parts. How they do this varies hugely. In Southbeach, the common idea of a 'separation' is used. It is represented in the software using model tabs or canvas grids.
Unlike a drawing tool, elements in a Southbeach model inherit attributes from the tab or grid cell in which they are placed. These attributes, and your own user-defined tags, can be referred to in creativity rules, guiding the development of the model (elaboration), analysis of the situation (problem solving), and to generate ideas (creativity).
Do I need Southbeach?
If you are looking for the best software that most perfectly emulates a single method, you won't find that in Southbeach. If however you want a common tool with which to work with a very large number of methods, then Southbeach is for you.
By using a common tool, for 80% of your requirements, you gain the advantage of being able to develop templates, reusable models, creativity rules, report generators and tag libraries, that work across all of the content you develop in your work. For those special cases where you need a dedicated tool for a specific method, there is nothing to stop you complementing your use of Southbeach with other softare.
Process engineers, for example, use Southbeach to capture the useful and harmful aspects of a process they are trying to re-design. They will use Southbeach with their team to generate ideas and strategies for process improvement. They will still use a process modelling tool afterwards to set out the precise new design of the process. Only Southbeach, however, can capture what is useful and harmful about the current design, or a proposed design change, from the perspective of all stakeholders and requirements thus resolving the contradictions.
In another example, a system dynamics expert and data scientist always uses Southbeach first to determine the requirements for a needed simulation model. They find that team members relate to Southbeach far more readily than if he were to immerse them in the deetails of stock-and-flow models.
We know of enterprise architects who switch freely between Southbeach and dedicated EA tools, for similar reasons.
Despite the professional features of Southbeach, including rich notation, tags and tag library, user-extensible rules and reporting, it could never substitute for a full blown EA tool supporting TOGAF, UML or SysML. Nevertheless, some architects have found it convenient to move part of their work into Southbeach. They use it to model the useful and harmful aspects of existing or proposed architectures, for team facilitation and for stakeholder interview.
The models they create, and the ideas generated from them, are maintained throughout a transformation project helping to keep everyone on the same page.