Business Analysis is often confused with other roles and a proper definition of what exactly business analysis is not clearly understood by many. Business analysis in simple terms means bridging the gap between the IT team and the business or the client. Usually a client has a view about the objectives of his company and the goals to be achieved. This is seldom understood by the team which develops the product to achieve the goal. So, there is clearly a gap in understanding the value that is provided by the developed product. When business objectives are well understood, better value can be achieved. This gap is filled by business analysis.
It can be defined as a set of tasks or techniques that can be used to understand the objectives of the business and recommend solutions to achieve the goals.
Many assume business analysis is to gather requirements. But it is so much more than that. User might not be aware of the impact of the change he proposes or may not be fully aware on how to achieve a particular objective. By clearly understanding the future goals of a business, more analysis needs to be done before finalizing on the changes.
Business analysis evolved over time, as realisation of business benefits in real time proved extremely difficult when all the concentration was on development and design of the solution. There was very less time given to analysing the needs of the business and understanding what is actually needed by them. This resulted in customer dissatisfaction. The teams also found it difficult that there was a lot of time spent on rework which increased the overall cost of the project. The need for a business analyst role arose from there.
Business analysts perform the below roles:
- clearly understanding the need for change or what exactly is the problem.
- Consider all the stakeholders perspectives for a particular project.
- Develop a to-be business activity model which can add value to the customer.
- Performing Gap analysis to identify improvements required to existing functionality
- Use techniques to analyze the risk, impact, cost benefit analysis and consider options which can be provided as a solution.
- Prepare a business case for the recommended option providing insights into the advantages, impact and risks, if any.
- Finalize on the requirements and document the same clearly and concisely.
- Support in the implementation of the changes by helping with user acceptance testing and provide user training on new functionalities.
One can also see that, in order to define requirements many processes are involved and these need to be carried out holistically considering everyone associated with the project.Let’s see few benefits of using business analysis. This is based on surveys conducted on top reasons for a project failure and how business analysis can reduce this:
- Adding value to the customer: because business perspectives are considered by the business analyst.
- Removing risk of incomplete or inaccurate requirements: As many techniques and tools are used to elicit information from the user, the risk of inaccurate requirements is mitigated.
- Overall cost reduction: As the requirements are clearly understood and the impact has been analyzed, rework and redesign are reduced.
- Customer satisfaction: When the product developed is more reliable and as expected, the customer is more satisfied.
- Relationship building: This is one of the added advantages which a business analyst can achieve.
- Support to customer: As a business analyst is involved in the implementation phase, by supporting in user acceptance testing and also in providing user training to new users in understanding the new changes that have been implemented.
All these factors prove that business analysis is a very important aspect of any project in realizing the benefits and adding value to the customer.
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