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There are a variety of tools and methods used in system analysis to understand complex problems and find solutions to them. One such method is CATWOE, an acronym that describes the different perspectives that need to be considered when analysing a system. It is an analytical technique used in system analysis to explore a problem or situation from a number of different angles. The acronym is short for Customers, Actors, Transformation, World view, Owner and Environmental constraints. This method allows you to gain a holistic view of systems and is particularly useful in identifying problems and developing accompanying solutions.

Definition of terms

  • 1. Customers: Customers are those who are affected by or are the beneficiaries of a system. They can be individuals, groups, organisations or society as a whole.
  • 2. Actors: Actors are the ones who are active in the system and carry out processes. They can be people, organisations or automated processes.
  • 3. Transformation: Transformation describes the core of the system and how inputs are transformed into outputs. It encompasses the processes that take place in the system.
  • 4. World view: World view refers to the values, beliefs and principles that guide the system, as well as long-term goals and visions.
  • 5. Owner: Owner is the person or organisation that owns or is responsible for the system.
  • 6. Environmental constraints: Environmental constraints are external factors that can influence the system, such as legal requirements, economic conditions and environmental regulations.

Where is CATWOE deployed?

CATWOE is used in different areas and situations. For me, the following three areas are particularly interesting for adesso:

1. System analysis

CATWOE is often used in system analysis to evaluate existing systems and understand how they work. This is particularly useful for documenting the interactions between different system components and identifying what possible improvements could be made. CATWOE allows you to gain a better understanding of the system, describe the problem in greater detail and develop more comprehensive solutions.

2. Problem solving

CATWOE is also a great tool in business analysis, where it can be used to back up the results of a fit gap analysis. When working to solve complex problems, CATWOE helps to keep the different perspectives and stakeholders in mind, which lets you develop solutions that take into account the needs and requirements of everyone involved.

3. Project management

CATWOE is used in projects to assess the impact of changes or decisions on various stakeholders, which in turn helps you to minimise risks and ensure that the project objectives are achieved. Monitoring/identifying key stakeholders is especially important when you are involved in ongoing projects and need to get a quick overview of how the project is progressing.

What do users get out of using CATWOE?

The true benefit of CATWOE is that it allows you to view systems holistically. This lets you make informed decisions and produce well-designed solutions that meet the customer’s needs, effectively engage stakeholders, facilitate a meaningful transformation, comply with ethical principles, make the owner happy and take environmental factors into account. CATWOE allows you to pinpoint problems and create better solutions.

What added value does adesso bring to the table?

adesso uses the CATWOE analytical method in a number of projects to perform an in-depth system analysis. Here are a few examples of where adesso deploys CATWOE:

  • Process optimisation: An analysis that takes different perspectives into consideration makes it possible to identify potential improvements that can be made to business processes and any divergence between the target and actual state, taking into account the relevant criteria.
  • Project management: CATWOE is used in projects to assess the impact of changes or decisions on various stakeholders, offering an additional perspective on stakeholder management, which in turn helps you to minimise risks and ensure that the project objectives are achieved.
  • Change management: In change management projects, CATWOE is used to assess the impact of changes on the various stakeholders and foster acceptance for the changes. CATWOE serves as a checklist of sorts to ensure that all sub-areas affected by the change are taken into account.


CATWOE is a valuable analytical tool that helps you understand complex problems and develop solutions that take into account the many different aspects of a system. Having a holistic view of customers, actors, transformation, world views, owners and environmental constraints allows you to make informed decisions and create better solutions. CATWOE can be used in any sector or industry to more clearly lay out the different needs and requirements and solve the problem or problems more quickly.

Would you like to learn more about exciting topics from the adesso world? Then take a look at our blog posts that have appeared so far.

Picture Siver Rajab

Author Siver Rajab

Siver Rajab is a Consultant in the Banking division at adesso. With a background in data integration and many years of experience as a business analyst, Siver supports decision makers in taking the right steps towards success.

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