Business analysis is by far one of the most important steps while starting any new project. It is usually divided into multiple steps, each containing its own specific set of documentation, tasks, and principles to follow. Especially as a business analyst, when assigned a new project, various tools and strategies come into play to streamline the entire business analysis process.
The following article will give you a detailed overview of everything there is to know about the business analysis process, its importance, as well as the various steps involved.
So without further ado, let’s get started!
What is Business Analysis Process?
Simply put, business analysis refers to the process of assessing the business needs, and finding the appropriate solutions, to the many challenges that might haunt the business flow. It involves many different steps and tools that work as a bridge between stakeholders and the organisation so that the former individuals can get a crystal clear picture of the organisation’s overall structure and its general and operational policies.
There is no one particular business analysis method that needs to be followed. It differs according to the business needs and the industry types. However, the underlying principle is to optimise all the diverse systems and operations within the organisation to generate better business outcomes.
Why is business analysis important?
The need for business analysis has increased manifold, especially in today’s highly competitive dynamic market. It has, time and again, proved to be one of the most important tools for a business to sustain itself in the long run. The business analysis process encompasses a wide range of benefits for an organisation, be it for building matrixes or identifying potential areas that need improvement.
In fact, according to a survey, inaccurate requirements (39%) and changes in an organisation’s priorities (41%) were found to be the two main leading causes of project failures. Yet another report estimated that, on average, business process analysts spend as much as 83% of their time applying business analysis to projects and programs.
On that note, here are some of the main reasons that contribute directly to the importance of the business analysis process in an organisation.
- It helps to accurately evaluate and understand the structure and dynamics of an enterprise.
- It helps to increase the ROI (Return on Investment)
- The implementation of various effective business strategies helps to cut down costs and expenses.
- It is crucial to design efficient solutions that will help achieve an organisation’s long-term and short-term goals.
- It helps maximise the value of an organisation delivered to the stakeholders.
Steps to follow in the business analysis process
There are typically eight main steps in the business analysis process. Those are as follows.
1. Collecting Basic Information
The foremost step of the business impact analysis process is to collect and gather all the background and basic information related to the project. One of the most common rookie mistakes that business process analysts tend to make is to get involved when a project is already underway. However, most don’t realise this can lead to serious consequences and, ultimately, the project’s failure. Therefore, as a business process analyst, you must perform the tasks below prior to starting the project to understand the overall requirements and objectives fully.
- Getting a clear understanding of the project, and the project history
- Establishing who the main stakeholders are
- Evaluating the already existing systems and processes
- Outlining your roles and responsibilities as the business analyst
2. Understanding The Main Objectives
Properly documenting the various business objectives and strategies is also crucial since it helps project managers and team members stay focused on the vision and take the necessary actions accordingly. It usually involves the steps mentioned below.
- Understanding the needs and expectations of the stakeholders
- Resolving any conflicting expectations and devising a shared understanding of the goals and objectives
- Ensuring that all the business objectives are plausible and can be achieved
- Devising the business objectives so that it can define the scope properly.
Establishing the business objectives can be done with the use of various tools and techniques. The SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound) technique and the SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat) analysis are the most commonly used ones.
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3. Defining The Scope
Following this, the next step is to determine/define the scope. This is essential because it helps the team members get a clear view of what exactly the business needs. Some of the most common responsibilities included in this step are,
- Understanding the nature and extent of process changes that might be required
- Documenting a clear statement of the scope and reviewing it with the stakeholders
- Confirming the business case.
4. Designing A Business Plan
The ultimate goal of a business plan is to provide as much clarity as possible relating to the overall business analysis process. It should provide the appropriate answers to several key questions that might be raised during the process. Some of the main responsibilities include,
- Estimating the timeline for deliverables
- Establish a set of deliverables, including the scope and the stakeholders.
- Determining the required form of deliverables
5. Defining Project Requirements
Defining the project requirements is essential to help the implementation team get all the required information to identify a usable solution. It involves thoroughly reviewing and analysing the deliverables and asking the relevant questions to bridge any gap.
Some of the many techniques that help in this requirement-gathering process are interviewing the stakeholders or using tools such as use case templates, storyboards, and wireframes, among others.
6. Support Implementation
The team in charge of technical implementation is usually responsible for building and deploying software on a project. This includes,
- Scrutinising the final solution
- Collaborating with quality assurance professionals
- Managing any kind of requirement changes
- Enabling user acceptance testing in areas where it is possible
7. Assessing The Value Added By The Project
Finally, at the end of all these steps, it is time to properly evaluate the value created by implementing diverse solutions. This involves evaluating the overall process throughout the timeline and asking for stakeholder feedback. Based on the information gathered, and the feedback, new initiatives or modifications can be suggested that will help to align the business objectives with the implementation phase.
In order to get the real essence of the business analysis process, you need to understand the context within which it occurs. To help you with the same, here are a few examples of the business analysis process.
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These are the requirements that help to asses the qualities or traits of change in areas such as information security, risk management, compliance, and usability. One example might include when a corporate style guide provides in-depth information on the appearance or feel of products, services or user interfaces.
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It refers to the process of using various metric systems to measure the business process or to highlight areas of inefficiencies such as bottlenecks.
It is the process of comparing the current state of an organisation’s performance to its other competitors. For example, an e-commerce business might develop a benchmark that will help compare its shipping costs with a close competitor.
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To sum up, the importance of the business analysis process can never be underestimated. It has a direct impact on the success rate of a project. Each of the above-mentioned steps brings unique elements to the project, thus setting the overall tone.
Having said that, please note that this is just a generalised view of the business analysis process. Based on the business’s needs and requirements, you can always improvise or modify it accordingly.
As a business process analyst, it is crucial that you understand each of these steps. The more time and energy you invest in perfecting every aspect of the process, the better its outcome will be. Additionally, you can also take the help of various online courses that will help you develop the required skill set and knowledge to become an expert in this field.
One such includes the Executive PG program in Business Analytics, brought to you by upGrad! This 12 months duration course is specifically designed for working professionals or freshers who wish to transition into more technical roles such as business analysts or data analysts. It comes alongside many benefits, such as 100+ hours of live sessions, 24*7 student support, daily doubt resolution sessions, and an exclusive job opportunities portal.