|Management of a business|
Business analysis' 'Business Analysis as a practice helps facilitate change in an organization by defining business needs (problems or opportunities) in collaboration with its stakeholders through strategy analysis and requirement engineering (planning, elicitation, analysis, management, and validation). The recommended solution could be an IT or non-IT, minor or humongous and customized or off-the-shelf product.' Alternatively, Business Analysis'' is a research discipline of identifying business needs and determining solutions to business problems. Solutions often include a software-systems development component, but may also consist of process improvement, organizational change or strategic planning and policy development. The person who carries out this task is called a business analyst or BA.
'In addition to the above-mentioned factors, to analyze the current-state, the business analyst will have to study the products, services, operations (how products/services are delivered to the customer, how policies, and regulations, including internal and external regulations, affect the operations, etc.) and business needs. While recommending a solution, the business analyst will have to synthesize the market data before defining future-state. This ensures that the potential solution is suitable for current and future needs.  Business analysts do not work solely on developing software systems. Those who attempt to do so run the risk of developing an incomplete solution.
Although there are different role definitions, depending upon the organization, there does seem to be an area of common ground where most business analysts work. The responsibilities appear to be:
- To investigate business systems, taking a holistic view of the situation. This may include examining elements of the organisation structures and staff development issues as well as current processes and IT systems.
- To evaluate actions to improve the operation of a business system. Again, this may require an examination of organisational structure and staff development needs, to ensure that they are in line with any proposed process redesign and IT system development.
- To document the business requirements for the IT system support using appropriate documentation standards.
In line with this, the core business analyst role could be defined as an internal consultancy role that has the responsibility for investigating business situations, identifying and evaluating options for improving business systems, defining requirements and ensuring the effective use of information systems in meeting the needs of the business.
- 1 Sub-disciplines
- 2 Business Analysis Techniques
- 3 Role of business analyst
- 4 Function within the organizational structure
- 5 Goals
- 6 Business analysis qualifications
- 7 See also
- 8 References
Business analysis as a discipline includes strategy analysis, requirements analysis(sometimes also called requirements engineering), future state description (this is also known as future operating model. However, future state description includes future operating model as well as other details such as organizational capabilities, Organizational structure. It focuses on ensuring the changes made to an organisation are aligned with its strategic goals. These changes include changes to strategies, structures, policies, business rules, processes, and information systems. 'Bold text Examples of business analysis includes:
Enterprise analysis or Organization analysis
Focuses on understanding the needs of the business as a whole, its strategic direction, and identifying initiatives that will allow a business to meet those strategic goals. It also includes:
- Defining Business Need Document
- Defining project summary or Terms of Reference(TOR) Document
- Defining Current State description
- Creating and maintaining the business architecture
- Conducting feasibility studies
- Identifying new business opportunities
- Scoping and defining new business opportunities
- Preparing the business case
- Conducting the initial risk assessment
- Defining Future State description
- Identifying future Organizational Capabilities through Gap Analysis
Requirements planning and management
Involves planning the requirements development process, determining which requirements are the highest priority for implementation, and managing change.
Describes techniques for collecting requirements from stakeholders in a project. Techniques for requirements elicitation include:
- Document analysis
- Focus group
- Interface analysis
- Reverse engineering
- User task analysis
- Process mapping
- Observation/job shadowing
- Design thinking
Requirements analysis and documentation
Describes how to develop and specify requirements in enough detail to allow them to be successfully implemented by a project team.
The major forms of analysis are:
- Architecture analysis
- Business process analysis
- Object-oriented analysis
- Structured analysis
- Data warehouse analysis, storage and databases analysis
Requirements documentation can take several forms:
- Textual – for example, stories that summarize specific information
- Matrix – for example, a table of requirements with priorities
- Diagrams – for example, how data flows from one structure to the other
- Wireframe – for example, how elements are required in a website,
- Models – for example, 3-D models that describes a character in a computer game
Describes techniques for ensuring that stakeholders have a shared understanding of the requirements and how they will be implemented.
Solution assessment and validation
Describes how the business analyst can perform correctness of a proposed solution, how to support the implementation of a solution, and how to assess possible shortcomings in the implementation.
There are over 100 business techniques that a business analyst can select when facilitating the business change. These are categorized as strategic, investigative, analytical, project management, documentation and modeling techniques.
Role of business analyst
As the scope of business analysis is very wide, there has been a tendency for business analysts to specialize in one of the three sets of activities which constitute the scope of business analysis, the primary role for business analysts is to identify business needs and provide solutions to business problems these are done as being a part of following set of activities.
- Strategy Analyst
- Organizations need to respond to the changing internal or external environment such as introducing new product or services, adopting regulations, maintaining competitive edge over competitors or follow the industry standards. The strategy analyst work closely with senior management to understand the strategic direction for the organization and work closely with stakeholders to understand their needs and recommend the solution that meets organizational as well as stakeholders' needs.
This solutions could be small such as changes to existing process or system. It could be organization wide change such as adopting new operational excellence or implementing organization wide system or changes to organizational policies.
- Business Architect
- Organizations may need to introduce change to solve business problems which may have been identified by the strategic analysis, referred to above. Business analysts contribute by analyzing objectives, processes and resources, and suggesting ways by which re-design (BPR), or improvements (BPI) could be made. Particular skills of this type of analyst are "soft skills", such as knowledge of the business, requirements engineering, stakeholder analysis, and some "hard skills", such as business process modeling. Although the role requires an awareness of technology and its uses, it is not an IT-focused role.
- Three elements are essential to this aspect of the business analysis effort: the redesign of core business processes; the application of enabling technologies to support the new core processes; and the management of organizational change. This aspect of business analysis is also called "business process improvement" (BPI), or "reengineering".
- System Analyst
- There is the need to align IT Development with the business-system as a whole. A long-standing problem in business is how to get the best return from IT investments, which are generally very expensive and of critical, often strategic, importance. IT departments, aware of the problem, often create a business analyst role to better understand, and define the requirements for their IT systems. Although there may be some overlap with the developer and testing roles, the focus is always on the IT part of the change process, and generally, this type of business analyst gets involved, only when a case for change has already been made and decided upon.
In any case, the term "analyst" is lately considered somewhat misleading, insofar as analysts (i.e. problem investigators) also do design work (solution definers).
The key responsibility areas of a business analyst are to collate client's software requirements, understand and analyze them further a business perspective. Business Analyst is required to collaborate with the business and assist them in improvising their processes and operational discipline followed.
Function within the organizational structure
The role of business analysis can exist in a variety of structures within an organizational framework. Because Business Analysts typically act as a liaison between the business and technology functions of a company, the role can be often successful either aligned to a line of business, within IT or sometimes both.
- Business Alignment
- When Business Analysts work at the business side, they are often subject matter experts for a specific line of business. These Business Analysts typically work solely on project work for a particular business, pulling in Business Analysts from other areas for cross-functional projects. In this case, there are usually Business Systems Analysts on the IT side to focus on more technical requirements.
- IT alignment
- In many cases, Business Analysts live solely within IT and they focus on both business and systems requirements for a project, consulting with various subject matter experts (SMEs) to ensure thorough understanding. Depending on the organizational structure, Business Analysts may be aligned to a specific development lab or they might be grouped together in a resource pool and allocated to various projects based on availability and expertise. The former builds specific subject matter expertise while the latter provides the ability to acquire cross-functional knowledge.
- Practice Management
- In a large organizations, there are center of excellence or practice management group who define frameworks and monitor the standards throughout the process of implementing the change in order to maintain the quality of change and reduce the risk of changes to organization. Some Organization may have independent center of excellence for individual stream such as project management, business analysis or quality assurance etc.
A practice management team provides a framework by which all business analysts in an organization conduct their work, usually consisting of processes, procedures, templates and best practices. In addition to providing guidelines and deliverables, it also provides a forum to focus on continuous improvement for the business analysis function.
Ultimately, business analysis wants to achieve the following outcomes:
- Create solutions
- Give enough tools for robust project management
- Improve efficiency and reduce waste
- Provide essential documentation, like requirements document, project initiation documents and others.
One way to assess these goals is to measure the return on investment (ROI) for all projects. According to Forrester Research, more than $100 billion is spent annually in the U.S. on custom and internally developed software projects. For all of these software development projects, keeping accurate data is important and business leaders are constantly asking for the return or ROI on a proposed project or at the conclusion of an active project. However, asking for the ROI without sufficient data of where value is created or destroyed may result with inaccurate projections.
Reduce waste and complete projects on time
Project delays are costly in several ways:
- Project costs – For every month of delay, the project team costs and expenses continue to accumulate. When a large part of the development team has been outsourced, the costs will start to add up quickly and are very visible if contracted on a time and materials basis (T&M). Fixed price contracts with external parties limit this risk. For internal resources, the costs of delays are not as readily apparent, unless time spent by resources is being tracked against the project, as labor costs are essentially ‘fixed’ costs.
- Opportunity costs – Opportunity costs come in two types – lost revenue and unrealized expense reductions. Some projects are specifically undertaken with the purpose of driving new or additional revenues to the bottom line. For every month of delay, a company foregoes a month of this new revenue stream. The purpose of other projects is to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. Again, each month of failure postpones the realization of these expense reductions by another month. In the vast majority of cases, these opportunities are never captured or analyzed, resulting in misleading ROI calculations. Of the two opportunity costs, the lost revenue is the most egregious – and the effects are greater and longer lasting.
N.B. On a lot of projects (particularly larger ones) the project manager is the one responsible for ensuring that a project is completed on time. The BA's job is more to ensure that if a project is not completed on time then at least the highest priority requirements are met.
Document the right requirements
Business analysts want to make sure that they define the requirements in a way that meets the business needs, for example, in IT applications the requirements need to meet end-users' needs. Essentially, they want to define the right application. This means that they must document the right requirements through listening carefully to ‘customer’ feedback, and by delivering a complete set of clear requirements to the technical architects and coders who will write the program. If a business analyst has limited tools or skills to help him elicit the right requirements, then the chances are fairly high that he will end up documenting requirements that will not be used or that will need to be re-written – resulting in rework as discussed below. The time wasted to document unnecessary requirements not only impacts the business analyst, it also impacts the rest of the development cycle. Coders need to generate application code to perform these unnecessary requirements and testers need to make sure that the wanted features actually work as documented and coded. Experts estimate that 10% to 40% of the features in new software applications are unnecessary or go unused. Being able to reduce the amount of these extra features by even one-third can result in significant savings. An approach of minimalism or "Keep it Simple" and minimum technology supports a reduced cost number for the end result and on going maintenance of the implemented solution.
Improve project efficiency
Efficiency can be achieved in two ways: by reducing rework and by shortening project length.
Rework is a common industry headache and it has become so common at many organizations that it is often built into project budgets and time lines. It generally refers to extra work needed in a project to fix errors due to incomplete or missing requirements and can impact the entire software development process from definition to coding and testing. The need for rework can be reduced by ensuring that the requirements gathering and definition processes are thorough and by ensuring that the business and technical members of a project are involved in these processes from an early stage.
Shortening project length presents two potential benefits. For every month that a project can be shortened, project resource costs can be diverted to other projects. This can lead to savings on the current project and lead to earlier start times of future projects (thus increasing revenue potential).
Business analysis qualifications
An aspiring business analyst can opt for academic or professional education. Several leading universities in the US and UK offer master’s degrees, with a major in either Business Analysis, Process Management or Business Transformation.
There are many universities offer bachelors or masters degree in Business Analysis, and some of them are as mentioned below:
- The University of Manchester
Master of Science (MSc) in Business Analysis
- Victoria University of Wellington
Master of Professional Business Analysis
- City University of Hong Kong
BBA in Business Analysis
The three most widely recognised Business Analysis Qualifications are:
- International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) Certified Business Analysis Professional
- Project Management Institute - Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)
- BCS International Diploma in Business Analysis
- Cost overrun
- Data Presentation Architecture
- Enterprise Life Cycle
- International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA)
- Operations research
- Real options valuation
- Requirements analysis
- Revenue shortfall
- Viability study
- cf. business analytics
- Business Analysis from BCS Template:ISEB.
- Kathleen B Hass, Richard Vander Horst, Kimi Ziemski (2008). From Analyst to Leader: Elevating the Role of the Business Analyst Management Concepts, 2008. ISBN 1-56726-213-9. p94: "As the discipline of business analysis becomes professionalized"
- "Business Analysis Body of Knowledge v2.0" (PDF). IIBA. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
- "Business Analysis: The Question and Answer, pg 12". ANISAN Technologies Inc, 2017. ISBN 9780990637455. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
- Alternaltive definition of Business Analysis from BCS ISEB.
- http://businessanalystmentor.com/2009/06/29/why-should-you-become-a-business-analyst/ http://news.dice.com/2013/06/13/5-steps-to-becoming-a-business-analyst/
- IRM, https://irm.com.au/ba-training-roadmap/
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- "BBA in Business Analysis". Retrieved 2018-07-07.
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- "Level 2 - CCBA - IIBA - International Institute of Business Analysis". www.iiba.org. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
- "Level 3 - CBAP - IIBA - International Institute of Business Analysis". www.iiba.org. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
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- "BCS International Diploma in Business Analysis". Retrieved 2 November 2016.