Business Analysis is the analysis of business requirements, to deliver solutions that meet the needs of the business. Business Analysis (BA) is integral to all phases of a project, from business case and conceptual design through to planning, building, testing, and implementing solutions. In this blog, we will co discuss er the following points:
- What is Business Analysis?
- Why Business Analysis is Important?
- Steps involved in Business Analysis
- Types of Business Analysis Models
- Common Business Analysis Techniques
- Business Analysis Tools
What is Business Analysis?
Business analysis is the process of examining a business or business environment in order to determine the best way to achieve objectives. It is concerned with gathering and analyzing information about the organization, including goals, processes, and systems, in order to make recommendations that will improve business performance. The result of this process is a business analysis report that outlines the findings and recommendations which can then be used as a basis for decision-making.
Why Business Analysis is Important?
Business analysis is a process of lowering the risk in a project. It is a structured approach to decision-making that includes gathering information from many sources, evaluating options using cost-benefit analysis, determining the best course of action based on your organization’s priorities and objectives, and facilitating communication throughout an organization.
- Business analysis can be used to identify projects that will have a positive impact on the organization, but it can also be used to evaluate the viability of an existing project or activity.
- Business analysis asks if a project or activity will be successful in achieving its objectives at a reasonable cost.
- Business analysis tries to ensure that all relevant facts and issues are considered when a decision is made.
- It provides a structured way for organizations to assess projects and business initiatives to maximize their success.
- By determining what each project or activity can reasonably accomplish, business analysis helps you set realistic goals and expectations for every project and budget.
Steps involved in Business Analysis Process
Business Analysis refers to the process of understanding and documenting business needs and creating solutions. The business analysis steps are an important factor for any organization to make important decisions. Following are the business analysis steps:
- Enterprise Analysis is a process of gathering, transforming, and communicating data in such a way that it portrays the real issues affecting the company. The result of enterprise analysis is a snapshot of the organization’s state and main elements affecting its success. It is a database representing the organization’s capabilities and limitations.
- Requirement Planning and Management is key part of business analysis. Business analysis is a process that aims to bring together the needs of all stakeholders in a business process. These business processes can be large-scale, such as supply chain management, or small-scale, such as a daily routine within a company.
- The main differentiators between business analysis and systems analysis are that business analysts generally work with people rather than technology and they focus on the “business” side of the “business process”, instead of the “technical” side. Business Analysis often involves working closely with the users of the system to identify their needs and translating these needs into specific requirements for a new or modified system.
- The purpose of the activity is to perform a gap analysis of current processes versus required processes, then document, prioritize, and scheduling requirements for review by stakeholders and developers. Business analysis may include gathering information from various sources, analyzing it, and presenting it in an understandable form to management.
- Requirement Elicitation: It is a process that intends to gather information about what the stakeholders need from the software solution. The goal is to gather accurate and complete information about the system’s requirements to be able to design it successfully. Business analysts are responsible for this step in the project life cycle which consists of capturing, analyzing, documenting, refining, and communicating essential information about how a new system should function. The main purpose of requirement elicitation is to gather all relevant information needed by the business analyst for understanding the business problem to properly specify the solution. Business analysts use specific techniques for gathering these requirements to help them better understand them and identify any missing details.
- Requirement Analysis and Documentation: The requirements analysis phase of a project, which is typically done in the early phases of a project, is the foundation of the entire project. It’s where all the stakeholders come together to define what they want to have built. The goal of this phase is to analyze all requests and build a testable, sharable model that reflects a consensus between all parties involved. The analysis will often involve interviews with key individuals who can describe their needs and determine what is feasible, based on technology constraints, standards, previous solutions, or methods used. Work products from this phase include:
- Use cases – these describe functional requirements, without regard to the underlying technology.
- Data models – these describe what data is needed by each use case.
- Process models – these describe how business processes are performed today and how they are expected to be performed once the system goes live.
- Requirement Communication phase is another important phase of the business analysis process which intervenes between the business justification for the project and the feasibility study. It is concerned with recording, documenting, detailing, validating, communicating, clarifying, understanding, and agreeing on the requirements which are crucial to achieving project objectives.
- Solution Evolution and Validation : The business Analysis process is a process of solution evolution and validation. Solution evolution starts with the identification of the business problem. Then solution concept is generated based on requirements gathered through various means. It evolves further to the solution prototype, which validates the cost, time, performance, and other characteristics. A business analyst is an expert who helps the business manager to find the right solution to the business problem.
Types of Business Analysis Models
Business analysis models are used to help business people understand the potential impact of a particular business decision or activity. The models enable a company to make better-informed decisions and to make them more quickly. Business analysis models attempt to simplify and structure a complex area of business so that it becomes easier for both technical and non-technical staff to understand how the various factors interact with one another.
There are three types of business analysis models:
- Business process model. This is a step-by-step description of how a business works, from the point of view of both the business and the customer. It usually has a list of steps and shows who does them (the actors) and what they use to do them (the tools).
- The information flow model. This describes how data flows from one place to another in the business. It usually shows who sends it, who receives it, and what happens to it in between.
- The data model. This describes all the different types of information that exist in the business, and how they relate to each other. Each type is called a “data element” or “object”. One diagram can show all the types together; or you can use several diagrams, where each one shows one type of object in detail.
- Information system design model. This describes what type of computer system you need for the information system to run well.
Common Business Analysis Techniques
Following are the five business analysis techniques:
- MOST : Most stands for Market, Operations, Structure, and Technology. The idea is to analyze these four areas, in turn, building up a picture of the opportunities and threats facing the company. The first thing you do when applying MOST is to list all the markets that your company currently operates in or could potentially operate in.
- Who owns it? How many shares are there? Who runs it? How does it raise money? How does it pay its employees and suppliers? This is your Structure analysis.
- The fourth step is to look at how technology allows you to operate in each of these markets. What tools do you use to sell things or manage your supply chain or manage your staff or interact with customers? This is your Technology analysis.
- PESTLE: is one of the most well-known frameworks for analyzing an industry. PESTLE stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental The idea is that all these things affect the industry you’re in, sometimes positively and sometimes negatively. PESTLE works best when you have a specific target to analyze. For example, you might use PESTLE to help decide whether to open a restaurant or a grocery store. Different businesses have different business models, so business plans appropriate for one might not be so good for the other. PESTLE helps by organizing your thinking about the differences.
- SWOT Analysis helps identify what makes a company strong, what areas it needs to strengthen, and where it will find its opportunities. Opportunities, strengths, and weaknesses are different internal and external actors. They can be macro-environmental factors, such as the economy or the rate of technological change. Or they can be specific to the organization, such as the availability of raw materials, or the extent to which competitors’ actions affect your ability to execute your strategy.
- MoSCoW is a method for classifying the requirements or features of a product. Each feature is assigned a priority between 1 and 5, with “must-have” being 5 and “won’t have” is 1.
- M – Must have – The product cannot ship without the feature.
- S – Should have – The product would be significantly better with this feature, but it can be omitted if necessary.
- C – Could have – It would be nice to add this feature if we had the time and budget.
- W – Won’t have – This feature will not be added to the product.
- The priorities are combined to form the Moscow designation: M-S or S-M means that’s a must-have; M-C means it’s a nice to have; C-M means it’s something we might do; W-M means it won’t happen; C-S means it could happen, and W-C means we’re not even considering it.
- CATWOE is a process that’s used during business analysis to come up with suggestions on how to improve a business situation.
- Cost Analysis – looking at the costs in a business process in detail to identify areas for improvement.
- Activity Analysis – identifying all of the activities required to complete a process, and measuring the time taken to complete each activity.
- Workflow Analysis – determining if there are any unnecessary steps or processes that can be removed from a process that would save time or reduce costs.
- Objectives – setting objectives that can be used to measure success in implementing improvements identified in the other steps.
- Events – identifying events that trigger changes in a process, and when those events occur.
Business Analysis Tools
Business analysis is fundamental to the success of any business, be it large or small. Here are some of the best business analysis tools:
- Google Docs : This is an online word processor that is compatible with Microsoft Word. It offers users real time collaboration capabilities, as well as a built in spell checker, version history, auto save feature and it can be accessed from anywhere via an internet connection.
- Amazon Web Services : This service offers users a robust set of cloud services including database management system, hosted DNS solutions, content delivery network, etc.
- Smartsheet: With this cloud-based project management software, users can manage projects from start to finish. You can assign tasks to team members and set deadlines for each task, which will then appear on your calendar. The application is compatible across all platforms and can be accessed via mobile device as well as desktop computer. It contains a calendar feature to make sure that you don’t miss any event or meeting.
- Sisense is a cloud-based business intelligence application that is widely used by various businesses globally. It’s currently used by some of the world’s 100 largest companies such as Cisco Systems, Airbnb, and Airbnb. The advanced analytics tool is designed to support collaboration for the entire organization. Its visualization capabilities can be used by users to connect with data using multiple filters and parameters.
- Freshbooks: This cloud-based accounting solution makes it easy for users to track their finances on the go using their smartphones or tablets. It supports Android, BlackBerry, iOS and Windows Phone 7 devices so that you can be sure it will work with whatever device you use most often.
- Trello is a project management software that makes it simple to manage tasks, assign work, and schedule due dates.. It contains pre-made templates that allow you to plan out various types of projects in depth. You can add comments, upload files, and track progress with Trello’s dashboard. Plus, it’s free to use as long as you want, so there’s no risk involved in trying it out.
- HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing platform that helps you build your brand and sell products using social media advertising, social sharing buttons, and more — plus it integrates with most major email platforms to help you get leads through your marketing campaigns. HubSpot starts at $200 per month for small businesses.
- Mavenlink is an online platform that allows businesses to organize their business operations, connect with their customers, manage their resources as well as track project costs and sales leads. The software offers invoice management system, time tracking system and project management software among other features for effectively managing the business operations.
- Slack This is the team communication software that we use at our company. Slack is extremely effective, and in slack there are all kinds of modes in which you can customize . The default settings will be just fine for most people, but the flexibility allows us to integrate Slack with other services that we use (like GitHub, Jenkins or Google Analytics).
- Zoho (Online office suite) : This cloud based service offers similar functionality to that of Google Docs but they are more widely used in India and Asia than the former.
- Tableau Public –This tool is used for building graphs and flow charts from different databases.. It also provides interactive visualizations that enable users to see information in a more efficient manner.
Business Analysis is the profession of gathering, analyzing, and documenting business information to support decisions. The BA uses this information to solve problems and make recommendations that improve an organization’s business processes or enable it to take advantage of opportunities. Business analysts are often referred to as “change agents” because they are in the business of change, which can be frustrating for some analysts. The job can also be extremely rewarding when analysts see their work has a positive impact on the bottom line.
Business analysis is not limited to one function or department in an organization. Analysts may be found in almost every area of the company, including finance, sales, production, marketing, human resources, and information technology. The analyst’s role depends on where she is located in the organization. Her scope of responsibility also depends on her level of experience.