As per Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK®Guide) from IIBA®, “Business Analysis is the practice of enabling change in an organizational context, by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders. It a disciplined approach for introducing and managing change to organizations, whether they are for-profit businesses, governments, or non-profits.Business analysis is used to identify and articulate the need for change in how organizations work, and to facilitate that change.”
As per Wikipedia,“Business analysis is a research discipline of identifying business needs and determining solutions to business problems. Solutions often include a software-systems development component, but may also consist of process improvement, organizational change or strategic planning and policy development.”
Let’s decipher these 2 words to understand business analysis.
Now let’s first understand, what is business?
Business is essentially any activity carried out with an intention to make profit. There can be activities which are not profit oriented,we call it as charitable activity. Businesses aim is to make profit. We can see profit is a very simple equation between revenue and cost. Profit is equal to revenue minus cost. So businesses would always like to increase their revenues and decrease their costs.
Revenues can be improved through accessing new customers, reaching out to new markets, introducing new products etc. To reduce costs, companies often look at automating their processes or process improvement activities
Now that we understood what is business, let’s understand what is analysis.
Analysis essentially means to break down.
Why should we break down?
For a moment, you think yourself as an architect who builds houses. Your client wants you to construct a house. It is hard to estimate and plan. We don’t know what to do.
Now your client tells you that ok this is going to be a single storied house, it will have three bedrooms, one living room, 1 kitchen and two toilets.
Now things become little bit clear to you.
Then your client says that the bedrooms should be of size 15 feet by 12 feet, should have 2windows and have marble flooring, should be of height 10 feet.
Now it becomes even more clearer to you exactly what you are trying to achieve.
So as we can see very clearly that when we break things down, we are able to understand it better, we are able to estimate is better, and we will be able to make it happen.
What we generally refer to as business analysis, it is essentially business needs analysis or business requirements analysis.
Business requirements could be to have a solution to a problem or a solution to enhance existing businesses.
Once the business requirements is known, we need to look at various aspects that belonged to the solution. We could actually start with a very high level of people component, process component, technology component and a partner component. Any solution would typically involve people, process, technology and partners. For technology component, we can further divide it as hardware, software and networking.
Most of the guide books available on business analysis typically deal with software requirements analysis. Business analysis can be for broader topic but at this point in time those of you who are looking at either studying for CBAP®, CCBA®, ECBATM, PMI-PBA, CPRE or BCS BA, we essentially are looking at software requirements analysis.
Software requirements analysis involves understanding scope of the software, dividing the scope into for the modules and sub-modules, developing detailed requirements for each of this modules and sub-modules. It also includes maintaining these requirements over the life of the project and beyond the life of the project.