Business Analysis is a common business term that has a very wide boundary as far as the scope and the implications are concerned. Business analysis when done right can’t be confined to a particular department or just one stakeholder.
Business Analysis or BA as it is termed by project managers is a process that examines, evaluates and liaises with the goals, objectives, policies and stakeholders of an organization in a cumulative holistic manner to understand the pulse of the business.
Only then can a business analyst recommend viable solutions to promote growth and development of the company while strengthening and tweaking its existing model to cope with changing market and technology trends.
Business analysis involves:
- Understanding the goals and objectives of an enterprise as well as the processes and tasks to be implemented to reach them.
- Understanding how internal and external stakeholders interact with each other and affect the dynamics of the business.
- Defining the capabilities required by the business to produce goods and services for the external stakeholders
- Mapping the potential value that may be realized from the existing projects and business efforts so that the ROI can be better leveraged
The common terminology of BA is as follows:
- Domain – It includes the processes, the resources, the stakeholders and the departments under evaluation. It is also described as the “area under analysis”.
- Solution – Sometimes the main aim of business analysis is defining the changes needed in the present business model and the validity of the proposed changes. A solution is the set of changes recommended by the analyst after careful consideration of the domain to ensure that the company reaches it goals and fulfills its objectives.
- Requirements – A requirement is defined as the capability a stakeholder must possess in order to reach a particular objective and the capability of a solution to solve the issue at which it is aimed.
There are many Business Analysis techniques, as described in the BABOK guide, which have been propounded over a period of time, but some of the most popular and widely used are:
- Brainstorming – It is an individual creativity technique that is translated into the collaborative setting under the umbrella of business analysis. As a result of brainstorming key stakeholders and the business analyst can review, dissect and discuss all aspects of the organization from the perspective of continued growth and improved results.
- Process Modelling – This practice is generally undertaken in the presence of experts who have a wealth of knowledge regarding the vision, mission and specifics of the company being analyzed. It involves representing processes which form the foundation of a particular domain of the business so that they can be viewed in relation to other inter-dependent processes in order to tweak performance.
- Problem Tracking – Here a business analyst tracks all defects and issues reported with processes and products through to resolution so that the origin of the anomalies and aberrations can be identified, isolated and eliminated.
As an overview, the whole business analysis process can be broken down into 5 logically flowing steps:
- Orientation – A business analyst must get oriented and acquainted with the business in question and its track record intimately.
- Objective Determination – Sometimes after the orientation process a number of inefficiencies and areas requiring attention may rise to the surface, a business analyst must not settle for pre-conceived notions. It is better to discuss the matter with stakeholders and get a complete briefing of their objectives and goals for the exercise.
- Definition and Requirements – This is the meat of the process. Here the business analyst draws up a scope of job document and details out the requirements to see the proposed changes (solutions) through to actual implementation.
- Technical Implementation – In this penultimate step the business analyst armed with the approved requirements and solutions list collaborates with the technical team to ensure that the solutions are implemented in a manner best suited to the business framework as well as the stakeholders.
- Business Adoption – The last step in the process is to facilitate the adoption of the manifested changes due to the implemented solutions.
Business Analysis is an exhaustive exercise – one that must be carried out as a routine check and not simply implemented in the face of a financial constraint.
Learn about other project management concepts in the Project Management Glossary.