Business Analysis

Business Analysis

Business analysis is the practice of identifying the needs within a business along with certain solutions to various business problems.  The solutions often include developing some sort of new system component but they may also consist of improving some process or another, reorganizing the structures, changing the strategies, or developing new policies.  The person who usually carries out the analysis is called a business analyst. How important is the alignment of the business analyst to your organization. Organization look at the business analyst to help with the alignment of the organization, but if the analyst is not aligned to your organization neither will be the solution.

Business analysis is a discipline that heavily overlaps requirement analysis that are sometimes necessary in certain fields.  While the requirement analysis will look at what the company should be doing based on certain requirements, the business analysis will look at how the company is doing based on the way they run things at that time.

When a company is analyzed, the analysis will show many things and make many suggestions.  If the analysis focuses on understanding the needs of the business and creating new strategies for its future direction, the business can expect to get the following items from an analysis:

-The creation and maintenance of the business’ basic architecture.
-Feasibility studies of any new ideas or innovations.
-New business opportunity identifications.
-Definitions of the new business opportunities.
-Preparation of the business case.
-An initial risk assessment.

An analyst may utilize one or many of the following techniques to gather the above information:

-Brainstorming sessions with employees, managers, or even customers.
-Document analysis.
-Focus group sessions.
-Interviews with managers, employees, and customers.
-Interface analysis.
-Workshops for employees.
-Surveys of employees and customers.
-User task analysis.
-Reverse engineering.

When it comes to looking through documentation, the analyst will want to see how the company meets certain requirements and whether or not there are enough details in place to take on a certain new project.  The analyst will likely want to look at the following details:

-architecture analysis
-object-oriented analysis
-business process analysis
-structure analysis

There are also many different techniques used by analysts.  One is known as PESTLE.  The attributes of this technique are used to examine the external factors that may affect a company.  The analyst will have to take a look at the following influences:

-Political-the current, past and future political influences in the world around the company
-Sociological-the ways the society affects the organization
-Economic-the world, national, and local economy and its impact on the company
-Legal-the effect of world and national legislations
-Environmental-the world, national, and local environmental issues
-Technological-the effect that the new and emerging technologies have on the company.

Analysts also often utilize the MOST formats, which have four attributes:

-Mission-where does the business intend to go in the future?
-Objectives-what are the key goals of the business that the mission can achieve?
-Strategies-what are the options for moving forward?
-Tactics-how are these strategies best put into action?

Once the analysis is complete, the companies may get the results in one, or many different forms.  They could receive a written document, diagrams, models, or even matrix information.  The information may be distributed to shareholders, employees, managers or others as the company sees fit and the decisions made by the organization on misaligned data will affect the alignment of the organization.

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David Peterson

David G. Peterson is a business consultant and author of Handling the Remedy. He has extensive international experience managing projects and operations for large financial institutions. He has worked in North America, Europe, Middle East and Asia skillfully managing business and technical requirements, core systems enhancement and support, merger and acquisition integration's, business process reengineering, off-shoring and outsourcing.