Business Analysis: What It’s All About

For businesses to survive, particularly during tough economic times, they must set themselves apart from their competitors.  Innovation, therefore, becomes a key component of their success. Innovation requires both a strategic vision on the part of businesses, as well as creating conditions that can be achieved through internal changes and improvements.  This is accomplished through a process called Business Analysis.

Business Analysis can be defined as an investigation into the operations of an enterprise aimed at understanding every aspect of how the enterprise is functioning including its processes, people and performance, as well as its goals and objectives.

Business analysis is the crucial first step in the software consulting process because it identifies enterprise needs and helps build the solutions required to meet these needs.

Although, technically, business analysis is distinct from financial analysis, project management, quality assurance, organizational development, testing, training and documentation development, it is a given that all these functions take place.

It is imperative that organizations ascertain the mood and the conditions for starting or consolidating a business venture.   If you don’t understand how the business works, what makes i  successful, what the challenges are, and where it is headed, it is most likely headed in the wrong direction.

Over time, best practices have been developed which contain a series of well-defined steps. The BABOK—Business Analysis Book of Knowledge has been created by the International Institute of Business Analysis to collect and consolidate the experience of hundreds of practitioners.

The first step is to gain a basic understanding of the business and then proceed to the final design, deployment and validation of whatever solution best meets the organization’s needs most effectively. The following is the list of steps in the business analysis process:

    * Understanding the business
    * Competitor Analysis
    * Market Analysis
    * Defining Project Scope and Objectives
    * Requirements Gathering
    * Requirements Analysis and Documentation
    * Communicating Requirements
    * Designing the Solution
    * Implementation and Testing the Solution

The accomplishment of an effective business analysis project is a challenging project.  It will most often include a combination of modelling, systemic thinking, innovating, communicating  root cause analysis, persuasion and several other analytical skills.  It is something which involves considerable interaction with other team members as well as substantial client interface, so team work and good interpersonal skills are important.

While Business analysis is not an exact science, it is still a wiser alternative than rushing into a new business strategy or decision without planning ahead.  By understanding how the business works, what makes it successful, what the challenges are, and where it are headed, opportunities to succeed and prosper are truly enhanced.

Thanks for reviewing this article, I hope you found the information useful and to of great use.

About the Author

Richard Frederick, PMP, MCP, MSF Practitioner, is a Business Analysis subject matter expert.

Richard Frederick recommends business analysis training.