Business Analysis

Business Analysis 101

Business Analysis (BA) tasks are what a Business Analyst does. There are a number of pathways to become a certified Business Analyst. I chose to get trained in Business Analysis to become a Certified Business Analyst Professional (CBAP).

Business Analysis (BA) tasks are what anyone in an organisation does that creates solutions to bring about change based on determining business needs. With the training I received, I learnt all the necessary tools and techniques to understand business needs. Armed with these techniques, I can elicit information from various people in the business (stakeholders) to identify gaps. The solution would eventually cover those gaps through a roadmap of one to several changes that need to be implemented.

It is a common misconception with ‘senior’ management and executives that they need to hire a ‘proper’ Business Analyst (BA) to get the work of a BA done.

Perhaps a feel-good factor? Let’s expand on this. Demanding workloads may warrant organisations to look outside to tap into resources with BA skills. It is important to note that external BAs, in most circumstances, lack corporate knowledge to effectively design solutions to solve business problems from the get-go. However, the good news is that a ‘proper’ BA’s main skillset is to elicit information – draw out business needs from a variety of techniques that are an essential part of the business analysis training.

External BA resources do not necessarily have the lenses that internal resources already have. External business analysts should be almost fearless to ask the ‘hard questions’ and dig deep into areas that need addressing. By this I mean constraints, pitfalls and limitations to achieving any business objective that the resource is engaged to address.

Ideally, a BA needs to have several discussions and workshops with various teams, individuals and divisions in an organisation to be effective and draw out the business context of a solution design.

There are two important ingredients for a Business Analyst to be effective:

  1. Support from Upper Management
  2. Collaboration with internal resources

If budgets don’t allow, I would encourage Upper Management to look at harnessing existing Resources within their organisation to perform some of the leg work before engaging an external Business Analyst. Never ignore the value of acquired corporate knowledge of your staff. Create a system or a programme to aggregate input from internal resources as a start. This would help define a problem. Problem definition is the first step in determining business need. Once a problem is defined (using internal resources), a gap analysis can be performed with a skilled BA that you may consider engaging.

What is essential here is to pay attention to the type of people available that have all the necessary skills and touch points to draw up the gap analysis on a business problem, solved by an appropriate, contextual business solution.

Here are some broad needs of businesses:
New service offerings
New product design
Efficiencies in operations, human resources, finance, supply chain, etc.
Innovation throughout the organisation
Organisational culture change
Business repositioning

Business growth

I am a member of the International Institute of Business Analysis – a Canadian non-profit professional association formed in 2003 with the purpose of supporting and promoting the discipline of business analysis. If you are interested, you can read more on the CBAP Certification here:

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