Document Analysis - What, Why and How

Ann P
13 min read
6/28/23 7:40 AM

Unlocking the power of information is a cornerstone for success in today's fast-paced business world. One powerful tool that allows businesses to do just that is document analysis. But what exactly is document analysis and how can it benefit business analysts? In this blog post, we will unravel the mysteries surrounding document analysis, exploring its history, applications, and providing practical tips on how to conduct effective analyses. So, grab your detective hat and join us as we delve into the captivating realm of document analysis!

What is document analysis?

What is document analysis? Document analysis involves the systematic examination and evaluation of various types of documents to extract valuable insights and information. These documents can take the form of reports, contracts, emails, surveys, social media posts, or any other written materials relevant to a particular business context.

The goal of document analysis is to uncover patterns, trends, themes, and relationships within the data contained in these documents. By analyzing textual content using various methods such as text mining or natural language processing techniques, business analysts gain a deeper understanding of customer preferences, market trends, organizational processes, and more.

Document analysis goes beyond simply reading through documents. It involves carefully categorizing and organizing information into meaningful structures that can be easily interpreted. This process allows businesses to make informed decisions based on reliable evidence extracted from their own internal records or external sources.

Effective document analysis requires not only technical skills but also critical thinking abilities. Analysts must possess strong research capabilities to find relevant documents and discern which ones are most pertinent for their purposes. They need to have a keen eye for detail while maintaining a broader perspective on how each piece fits into the larger puzzle.

How document analysis helps business analysts?

Document analysis is an essential tool for business analysts to gather valuable insights and make informed decisions. By carefully examining various documents such as reports, contracts, and proposals, analysts can gain a deep understanding of the organization's processes, goals, and challenges.

One way document analysis benefits business analysts is by providing them with detailed information about current practices within the company. By studying internal documents like policies and procedures manuals or employee handbooks, analysts can identify areas for improvement or potential bottlenecks that may be hindering productivity.

Another advantage of document analysis is its ability to uncover trends and patterns over time. By reviewing historical data in financial statements or market research reports, analysts can identify long-term growth opportunities or potential risks that need to be addressed.

Additionally, document analysis enables business analysts to identify inconsistencies or discrepancies between different sources of information. This allows them to validate data accuracy and ensure that decision-making is based on reliable facts rather than assumptions.

Document analysis empowers business analysts by providing them with comprehensive insights into the organization's operations. It equips them with the necessary knowledge to propose effective strategies and solutions for improving efficiency and driving success.

History of document analysis

The history of document analysis dates back centuries, as humans have always sought to understand and interpret written texts. In ancient civilizations such as Egypt and Mesopotamia, scribes were tasked with analyzing documents like hieroglyphics or cuneiform tablets to decipher their meaning.

Fast forward to the 20th century, with the advent of computers, document analysis took on a new dimension. Researchers started developing algorithms and techniques to automatically analyze large volumes of textual data. This led to advancements in fields such as natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning that further enhanced the capabilities of document analysis.

In recent years, with the explosion of digital information, businesses have recognized the importance of effectively analyzing documents for various purposes. From extracting insights from customer feedback surveys to identifying trends in market research reports, document analysis has become an indispensable tool for business analysts.

With advancements in technology and growing demands for efficient data processing methods, document analysis continues to evolve rapidly. The integration of AI-powered tools and techniques is transforming how organizations approach this task by enabling faster and more accurate extraction of valuable information from documents.

As we move into the future, it's clear that document analysis will remain a vital component in understanding vast amounts of textual data generated every day across different industries. By leveraging its power effectively, businesses can gain valuable insights that drive decision-making processes and ultimately contribute to their success.

When to use document analysis

Document analysis is a valuable tool that can be utilized in various scenarios by business analysts. Understanding when to use document analysis can greatly enhance the effectiveness of their work.

One key instance where document analysis comes into play is during the initial stages of a project. When gathering requirements, business analysts may need to review existing documents such as user manuals, process flows, or technical specifications. By analyzing these documents, they can gain insights into current processes and identify areas for improvement.

Another situation where document analysis is useful is when conducting market research. Business analysts may study industry reports, competitor analyses, or customer surveys to understand market trends and consumer preferences. This information helps them make informed decisions about product development or marketing strategies.

Furthermore, document analysis proves beneficial during organizational change initiatives. Examining policies and procedures manuals enables analysts to assess how well an organization's practices align with its goals and objectives. This knowledge aids in identifying gaps and proposing changes for increased efficiency.

Additionally, when troubleshooting issues within a system or process, document analysis is crucial. By examining error logs or incident reports, business analysts can pinpoint patterns or root causes of problems faster and more accurately.

Knowing when to use document analysis empowers business analysts to extract meaningful insights from various sources of information throughout their projects. It allows them to make data-driven decisions leading towards improved outcomes

How to conduct document analysis

Conducting document analysis is an essential skill for business analysts. It allows them to extract valuable insights and information from various types of documents, such as reports, memos, contracts, and emails. Here are some steps to effectively conduct document analysis:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the documents: Start by reviewing the documents thoroughly and understanding their context. Pay attention to key details like dates, authors, recipients, and any relevant attachments.
  2. Identify the purpose and audience: Determine why the document was created and who it was intended for. This will help you understand its content better and analyze it from the right perspective.
  3. Highlight important information: Use highlighting or underlining techniques to mark crucial points or data within the document. This will make it easier for you to refer back to specific sections later on.
  4. Categorize the information: Organize the extracted information into categories based on relevance or themes that emerge from your analysis. This will enable you to spot patterns or trends more easily.
  5. Analyze for inconsistencies or gaps: Look out for any discrepancies in data or missing pieces of information that could affect your overall understanding of the document's message.
  6. Assemble findings into a report: Once you have completed your analysis, compile your findings into a comprehensive report that highlights key insights derived from each document analyzed.

By following these steps, business analysts can effectively conduct document analysis and gain deeper insights into their organization's operations, strategies, and decision-making processes.

Document Analysis Template

When it comes to conducting document analysis, having a well-defined template can greatly streamline the process. A document analysis template serves as a framework that guides analysts in organizing and evaluating the information contained within various documents. It helps ensure consistency and efficiency in their approach.

A good document analysis template should include sections such as document title, author, date, purpose, format, and source. These details provide essential context for understanding the content and intent of the document. Additionally, including sections for key findings, themes or patterns identified, and recommendations allows analysts to summarize their insights effectively.

The structure of the template may vary depending on the specific needs of an organization or project. However, most templates will have designated areas for recording important data points like keywords or phrases used throughout the document and any additional notes or observations made during analysis.

Using a standardized template not only makes it easier to analyze individual documents but also enables efficient comparison across multiple documents. By capturing relevant information consistently for each document analyzed using this template framework ensures that no crucial detail is overlooked.

Employing a comprehensive document analysis template empowers business analysts to extract valuable insights from diverse sources efficiently. It provides them with a systematic approach tailored to their needs while ensuring thoroughness in analyzing complex documents.

Remember that utilizing an effective document analysis template can make all the difference when it comes to uncovering meaningful information hidden within various texts!

Document Analysis Worked Out Example

About GRCPerfect System from Adaptive US

Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) management system is developed for the IT and ITES domain. The primary objective of GRC management system is to help companies implement Governance, Quality, and Information Security Management Systems in an integrated manner. It has various features, one of which is to plan and track projects and programs using standards such as CMMI, ISO 9001, ISO 27001 etc.

Adaptive US is the World's #1 Provider of IIBA Certifications Courses and Study Aids on CBAP, CCBA, ECBA, CBDA, CPOA, AAC and CCA. It is the ONLY training institute to provide a 100% Success Guarantee or 100% Refund promise for all IIBA certifications Instructor Led Training. It also provides skill-based trainings to business analysts on business analysis tools and templates.

Requirements collected from the CMMI Standard:


CMMI Process Area



Requirements Management

Clear definition of acceptance criteria


Requirements Management

Adequacy of planning based on the specified requirements


Requirements Management

Capture of information related to requirements’ change


Requirements Management

Maintenance of bi-directional traceability matrix


Requirements Management

Consistency of requirements, plans, activities and work products


Requirements Management

Approval of change requests after due impact analysis


Requirements Management

Adequacy of measurement and analysis activities with respect to Requirements Management


Project Planning

Availability of granular WBS


Project Planning

Estimation of size / task complexities


Project Planning

Identification of project life cycle phases


Project Planning

Estimation of effort
-Usage of historical data
-Documentation of estimation rationale


Project Planning

Availability of granular schedule
- Identification of milestones
- Dependencies
- Documentation of assumptions


Project Planning

Identification, analysis (Impact, Probability of occurrence & Timeframe) and prioritization of risks


Project Planning

Availability of Resource Plan
- Definition of Project-specific processes
- Determination of Staffing Requirements
- Identification of lead-time for resources
- Determination of H/W and S/W requirements


Project Planning

Knowledge and Skill Management
- Identification of Knowledge and Skills required
- Skills Database
- Training Plans


Project Planning

Identification of stakeholders’ involvement (commitments) throughout the lifecycle


Project Planning

Review of Software Project Plan by Process Facilitator and approval by Program Manager


Project Planning

Review of internal and external commitments


Project Monitoring and Control

Monitoring of Planning Parameters
- Schedule
- Effort
- Size / Task complexities
- Resources
- Knowledge & Skill needs (Skills, Hire plans)


Project Monitoring and Control

Monitoring of commitments including those that are at the significant risk of not being satisfied.
Monitoring of status of action items from meetings


Project Monitoring and Control

Evidence of Risk monitoring


Project Monitoring and Control

Collection and analysis of metrics as per the metrics plan


Project Monitoring and Control

Monitoring of stakeholders’ involvement


Project Monitoring and Control

Conduct of Dashboard review meetings as per the process


Project Monitoring and Control

Management of Corrective actions
- Status of planned corrective actions
- Effectiveness of corrective actions


Measurement and Analysis

Completeness of Metrics Plan
- Metrics in line with the Business Unit Quality Objectives
- Data collection procedures
- Data analysis procedures


Measurement and Analysis

Data collection
- Integrity
- Timely collection


Measurement and Analysis

Metrics analysis as per the plan 


Measurement and Analysis

Distribution of Dashboards
- Timeliness
- Understanding of analysis and interpretation results


Configuration Management

Availability of approved configuration management plan


Configuration Management

Definition of folder organization as per the approved configuration management plan


Configuration Management

Identification of Configuration Items
- Completeness


Configuration Management

Identification of Non-Configuration Items
- Completeness


Configuration Management

Adherence to naming conventions


Configuration Management

Proper setting of access rights


Configuration Management

Adherence of Configuration Management activities to the defined confidentiality, integrity and availability ratings besides the Information Classification.


Configuration Management

Addressing of Special Considerations with respect to Configuration Management


Configuration Management

Backups as per the approved CM Plan
- Updation of Backup Register


Configuration Management

Taking of Baselines as per the approved CM Plan
-Completeness of baselines
-Correctness of baselines
-Integrity of baselines
-Communication on status of baselines (Baseline Record)


Configuration Management

Migration of Configuration Items as per the approved CM Plan
- Reviews
- Recording of change history


Configuration Management

Availability of report on status of Configuration Items


Configuration Management

Adherence to the defined release management strategy


- Availability of approved Project Delivery Notes


Configuration Management

Conduct of Configuration / Baseline audits as per the approved CM Plan


Configuration Management

Implementation of Record Control Plan


Requirements Development

Elicitation of stakeholder needs, expectations, constraints and interfaces for all life cycle phases


Requirements Development

Translation of stakeholder requirements into customer requirements
- Completeness of requirements
- Non-conflicting nature
- Constraints for verification and validation (as evidenced by records)


Requirements Development

Translation of requirements into product and product-component requirements


Requirements Development

Identification of interface (external and internal) requirements 


Requirements Development

Analysis and validation of requirements
- Operational concepts and scenarios
- Documentation of defined functionality
- Analysis of requirements (Technical feasibility, Risks)
- Validation records


Technical Solution

Selection of product / product-component / service / process solution
- Alternative solution screening criteria
- Evaluation of new technologies
- Generation of alternative solutions
- Criteria for selection of the best solution
- Evolution of operational concepts and scenarios
- Selection


Technical Solution

- Availability of High-level Design


- Availability of Detailed Design


- Consideration of reuse


Technical Solution

Adherence of the implemented design to applicable standards and criteria


Technical Solution

Review and unit testing (if applicable) of the implemented design


Technical Solution

Adherence of the end-use documentation to applicable standards


Technical Solution

Review of the end-use documentation


Product Integration

Selection and review of the best product-component integration sequence


Product Integration

Product Integration environment
- Documented requirements of the environment
- Verification criteria and procedures
- Details of verification carried out on the Integration environment


Product Integration

Availability and business analysts use of product integration procedures


Product Integration

Availability and business analysts use of product integration criteria


Product Integration

Availability and business analysts use of criteria for validation and delivery of the integrated product 


Product Integration

Review of interface descriptions for completeness and correctness


Product Integration

Interface compatibility
- Traceability
- Consistency


Product Integration

Performance of readiness check before integration


Product Integration

Builds are made as per the procedure


Product Integration

Availability of verification and validation records for each build 


Product Integration

Availability of delivery documentation for each release



Adequacy of verification plan
- identification of candidate work products
- Verification methods for each selected work product
- Verification criteria
- Schedule
- Entry Criteria
- Exit Criteria
- Usage of approved checklists



Definition of verification environment



Availability of verification procedures



Conduct of verification activities as per the plan



Capture of verification data, analysis and corrective actions



Adequacy of validation plan
- Identification of candidate work products
- Scope of validation
- Validation methods for each selected work product
- Validation criteria
- Schedule
- Entry Criteria
- Exit Criteria
- Validation constraints



Definition of validation environment



Availability of validation procedures



Conduct of validation activities as per the plan



Capture of validation data, analysis and corrective actions


Integrated Project Management

Appropriateness of tailoring


Integrated Project Management

Usage of Process Assets and artifacts from the Process Asset library


Integrated Project Management

Review and approval of tailoring


Integrated Project Management

Adequacy of the environment to meet the project’s needs


Integrated Project Management

Contribution of the project to the organizational process assets


Integrated Project Management

Establishment of agendas and schedules for collaborative activities involving stakeholders 


Integrated Project Management

Identification and management of critical dependencies


Integrated Project Management

Management of stakeholder coordination issues
- Identification
- Communication
- Resolution
- Escalation


Risk Management

Determination of risk sources and categories based on the organizational processes


Risk Management

Definition of various risk parameters
- Probability of risk occurrence
- Severity and impact
- Thresholds to trigger management activities


Risk Management

Availability of risk management strategy


Risk Management

Usage of risk identification checklist


Risk Management

Implementation of risk mitigation plans


Decision Analysis and resolution

Appropriateness of project-specific guidelines on the application of a formal evaluation process


Decision Analysis and resolution

List of qualifying issues for the formal evaluation process


Decision Analysis and resolution

Recommended solution for issues
- Identification of alternative solutions
- Selection of evaluation methods
- Evaluation using criteria and methods
- Risks associated with the recommended solution


Process and Product Quality Assurance

Check the adherence of the performed process to the defined standards and process


Process and Product Quality Assurance

Check if the non compliance identified is tracked to closure


Process and Product Quality Assurance

Is the new /modified process standardized and institutionalized


Supplier Agreement Management

Check for formal agreement between the supplier is established and maintained


Organization Process Definition

Organization assets are established and maintained
-Descriptions of Life Cycle Models
-Measurement Repository
-Process Asset Library
-Work Environment Standards


Organization Process Focus

Periodically identify strengths, weakness , improvement opportunities for the organizational process
-Action Plans maintained and implemented for process improvement


Organizational Training

Training needs identified based on organizational business objectives
- Training Planned
- Training Material
-Training feedback collected


Quantitative Project Management

Organizations , customers and stake holders objectives for quality and process performance needs are defined


Quantitative Project Management

Sub Process metrics identified and statistically managed


Quantitative Project Management

Identify variations in performance
- Special Causes


Quantitative Project Management

Sub Process metrics appraised to achieve quality goals



Document analysis is an essential tool for business analysts and professionals across various industries. Its ability to extract valuable insights from written materials can greatly contribute to decision-making processes, strategic planning, and overall organizational efficiency.

By understanding what document analysis is and how it can be applied, businesses can harness the power of information hidden within their documents. Whether it's uncovering patterns in customer feedback or identifying emerging trends in industry reports, this method enables organizations to gain a competitive edge by making informed decisions based on solid evidence.

Through document analysis, business analysts are able to delve deep into historical records, policies and procedures, financial statements, market research reports, and more. This not only helps them understand the current state of affairs but also assists in predicting future trends and opportunities.

The history of document analysis dates back centuries when scholars relied on textual sources for their research. Today's advancements in technology have made it even easier for us to analyze vast amounts of data quickly and efficiently. With the aid of machine learning algorithms and natural language processing techniques, we are now able to uncover crucial insights that were once buried deep within piles of paperwork.

Knowing when to use document analysis is key. It is particularly useful during the initial stages of a project or when faced with complex challenges that require comprehensive data gathering. By employing this method early on in the process, business analysts can identify potential risks or gaps before they become major issues down the line.

To conduct a successful document analysis process:

1) Define your objectives: Clearly outline what you aim to achieve through analyzing these documents.

2) Select relevant documents: Identify which documents hold pertinent information related to your objectives.

3) Organize your findings: Create a structured framework to organize your extracted data effectively.

4) Analyze patterns: Look for consistent themes or patterns that emerge from your findings.

5) Draw conclusions: Based on your analysis, draw meaningful conclusions that support decision-making processes.

To further simplify this process, consider using a document analysis template. This tool can assist you in organizing.


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