Southbeach brings together ideas from many different analytical methodologies and brainstorming styles.
Southbeach Modeller does not automate each method individually; rather, it provides a unified notation and creativity engine. One tool; many methods.
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, a 'separation' is used. This is represented in the software using 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 additional 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 single-purpose software that perfectly emulates a single method, you won't find that in Southbeach. If, however, you are looking for a common tool with which to work with a number of standard methods, Southbeach is for you.
By using a common tool, covering 80% of requirements, you gain the advantage of being able to develop templates, reusable models, creativity rules, reports and tag libraries, that work across all of the content you develop in your work. For the 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 re-designing. They would use Southbeach with their team to generate ideas and strategies for process improvement. They may then use a purpose-built process modelling tool afterwards to set out the details of the new design. 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 all requirements, thus resolving the contradictions.
In similar vane, a systems dynamics expert could use Southbeach before they model stocks and flow to determine requirements for a needed simulation model. Non-technical team members may relate to Southbeach more readily than if the consultant were to immerse them in the details of the mathematics of stock-and-flow models.
We hear of enterprise architects who switch freely between Southbeach and dedicated EA tools, for similar reasons.
Despite the professional features of Southbeach, including its 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.