Introducing TA Digital Business Analysis Practice – A boon, no bane
Business analysis is the act of studying a business and its processes to identify the requirements of the business or its systems and develop solutions for them. Some of the typical solutions derived from the business analysis include organizational reform and new systems, processes, and strategies. A person who performs business analysis might be called a consultant, a business analyst or a business system analyst. In addition to developing an intimate familiarity with a business and its products, a business analyst may perform additional roles including project management, organizational development, quality assurance, training, and documentation.
Requirements: Why Business Analysis Exists
Before you can fully understand analysis, you need to understand what a requirement is in business terms. A requirement is a condition or capability that a business needs to achieve the desired state or solve a problem.
Requirements drive businesses to create new processes and systems and refine existing ones. The different types of requirements include:
Business Requirements: Business requirements are the primary goals or needs of the company as a whole. The purpose of an enterprise — along with the key indicators used to measure the business’s success in achieving that purpose — are business requirements.
User Requirements: A business has requirements. A solution is a plan for achieving those requirements. For a solution to work, the people within the business have to put the solution into practice. User requirements are the features or capabilities that the people in the organization require in order to achieve success with the solution.
Functional Requirements: The solution itself also has requirements for success. Functional requirements describe the necessary capabilities of the solution along with how it will function and perform.
Non-Functional Requirements: Non-functional requirements do not relate directly to how a solution works or the way in which people use it. Rather, non-functional requirements describe external factors such as environmental conditions necessary for the success of the solution.
Why Business Analysis Matters
During the evolution of a project — or a business as a whole — requirements may change. In some cases, the decision makers within an organization may not fully understand the requirements for achieving a goal. A business analyst understands an organization and its industry well enough to cut through the complexities and vagaries of a project, identify the project’s requirements and create solutions for achieving them. Because business analysis helps to ensure the success of projects, it also reduces the risk inherent in beginning a new project.
Business analysis facilitates open communication within an organization and encourages the use of best practices to ensure the success of projects. Mature businesses typically create dedicated or part-time business analysis groups with significant authority and budgetary freedom.
Responsibilities of Business Analysis
One of the key responsibilities of a business analyst is to ensure that no one person is necessary for the desired outcome in any business process. The business analysis produces standardized tools, templates, and processes — and codifies the expected results — to ensure that anyone with the proper skills and training can achieve success in a project. Business analysis ensures that an organization can repeat its successes, maintain its standards and carry any knowledge gained forward so future projects can benefit.
What Are the Primary Functions of Business Analysis?
A business analyst:
Tactical Project Assistance: The business analyst should thoroughly analyze a project to determine its requirements and devise a solution to ensure that the project’s requirements are met. The business analyst acts as a trainer and coach to ensure that the personnel working on a project continue to follow the documented best practices.
- Provides tactical assistance throughout a project to ensure successful delivery
- Determines the tools and methodology necessary to ensure the success of a project
- Documents best practices to ensure the consistent success of future projects
- Ensures that the business’s goals and interests remain at the forefront of every project
Tools and Methodology: The business analyst determines and documents the best approach for planning, execution, and monitoring of a project. He or she then identifies the tools necessary to ensure that the people working on the project can follow the prescribed methodology consistently. The tools may include anything from documents and spreadsheets to enterprise-class collaboration software.
Best Practices: The business analyst thoroughly documents the results of a project and creates documentation, models, and use cases. By documenting the factors that contribute to the success of a project, the business analyst ensures that the organization can bring future projects to success more efficiently.
Business’s Goals and Interests: The business analyst translates the results of the project into business terms to give the organization’s decision makers a business view of the proposed solution and its results. Since the business analyst understands the project from the business’s point of view and the team’s point of view, he or she acts as a liaison between the two parties to mediate the requirements and the solution.
What Does Business Analysis Offer a Company?
In addition to providing the expertise necessary to ensure the success of current and future projects, business analysis seeks to identify and meet the needs of the business as a whole. The business analyst serves the business by:
- Thoroughly assessing and documenting the current state of the organization
- Determining the goals and desired future state of the organization
- Identifying the gaps between the organization’s goals and its current state
- Identifying the level of maturity that the organization must reach before the desired future state can be realized
- Developing the model by which the business will achieve the desired future state
- Disseminating the proposed improvements to the organization’s stakeholders and decision makers
- Coaching and training the organization’s teams to ensure that all parties follow the best methodology for implementing the proposed improvements
Whether serving the needs of an individual project or the business as a whole, the business analyst begins by assessing the current state of a project, system, team or organization. The analyst assesses the system and its capabilities by conducting focused group sessions with management, team members, and other stakeholders. By documenting the information learned during the focus sessions, the analyst obtains a more comprehensive understanding of the system’s needs and gaps. When the analyst fully understands the current state and desired future state of the system, he or she develops and documents a strategy for achieving the desired future state. The analyst uses the documents as a basis when training the business to follow the proposed solution.
Developing a business analysis practice within an organization increases the maturity of the company and helps to ensure the success of its future projects. For a business analysis practice to contribute materially to the future success of an organization, the practice requires constant care and proactive management. The organization must clearly outline the budget, responsibilities, and powers of the business analysis practice. The organization must also ensure that the practice consistently receives the resources that it requires for success.
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