Business analysis has undergone a massive shift over the last few years. Gone are the days when business analysis was done via piles of sheets full of text and basic diagrams and flowcharts. Business analysis is today more intuitive, thanks to the available innovative solutions. The importance of analysis to a business has also increased multifold because of these changes. Let us understand the business analysis process, its importance, steps and techniques available to an analyst.

  1. What is Business Analysis Process?

  2. Importance of Business Analysis

  3. Business Analysis Steps

  4. Business Analysis Techniques

  5. Boost your problem-solving skills

What is Business Analysis Process?

The business analysis process is a discipline under which a business analyst is expected to identify the business requirements, review them and find solutions to the various business-related problems identified.

The business analysis process helps in understanding the structure and functioning of an organization. More importantly, business analysis helps in identifying areas for improvement and recommending solutions for implementation.

Importance of Business Analysis

Business analysis is very important, especially considering the challenges businesses are facing today. The role of a business analyst is critical to the success of the organization. Whether the organization is looking at collecting user stories, analyzing a process or building a matrix within the organization, business analysis plays an important role in understanding, explaining and improving the process within the organization.

Here are some key factors about the importance of business analysis to businesses today:

  • It helps in understanding the structure and functioning of an organization
  • It helps in understanding the existing problems better to create tailor-made solutions
  • It can understand areas for improvement and recommend solutions to improve organizational efficiency
  • It helps to identify and explain the requirements of the proposed changes in the organization
  • It aims to increase the value delivered by the organization to the stakeholders

Business Analysis Steps

The Business Analysis Process has a well-defined structure that a business analyst is expected to follow to get the right results. A structured approach towards business analysis not only provides the right ammunition but also gives better results. Getting the business analysis process flow right is a key step towards achieving improvement in the business processes.

These are the business analysis steps that an analyst can follow:

  1. Understanding

It is common for a business analyst to join a process that is underway, and as a result, it is important to take some time to understand the situation at hand. At this stage, the analyst is expected to collect basic information like scope, overall requirements and business objectives. Completion of the following tasks is very important at this stage:

    • Clearly outlining and clarifying the role of the business analyst
    • Identifying the main stakeholders
    • Understanding the project and project history, if any
    • Understanding of the existing systems and processes

2. Business Objectives 

A business analyst is expected to understand the broad objectives of the business at this stage. This is important before moving on to the project level as it gives you the big picture and the ability to match the goals of the project with the objectives of the business. Under this step, the responsibilities of the business analyst are as follows:

    • Identification of the expectations of the main stakeholders
    • Ironing out any conflicting expectations and establishing a clear understanding of the objectives within the organization
    • Double-checking that the outlined business objectives are clear and achievable
    • Ensuring that the outlined business objectives set a foundation for defining the scope for the project

3. Scope Definition

A clear and complete scope is integral to helping the team understand the requirements of a business. Under the business analysis process flow, scope definition is a guide that explains the steps of a business analysis process. It is important to understand that it is not an implementation plan that serves as the main concept. A business analyst is expected to achieve the following in this stage:

    • Recommending the solution that helps in identifying the nature and extent of process, and technological changes required in the organization
    • Put down a clear statement of scope, and ask for a review among stakeholders
    • Confirmation of the business case

4. Delivery Plan

Putting down the delivery plan helps in providing clarity on the overall process of business analysis. The plan is expected to answer several key questions that are critical for business growth and success. 

The business analyst is expected to undertake the following steps under this stage:

    • Selection of the most appropriate forms of deliverables
    • Creating a list of deliverables covering the scope and stakeholders
    • Putting down a clear timeline for achieving the mentioned deliverables

5. Requirement Detailing

The implementation team needs to have clear requirements. This helps them to find an optimal solution. Requirements can be divided into two sets – functional and non-functional. 

A business analyst has the following key responsibilities in this stage:

    • Engaging with the stakeholders
    • Analysis of the information collated and creation of the first draft
    • Review of the draft and validation of the deliverables

6. Support Technical Implementation

A business analyst is expected to work closely with the implementation team for the technical deployment. 

The following key steps are included in this stage:

    • Review the technical deliverables to align with the requirements
    • Update the requirements document based on the feedback by the technical team
    • Engage with the quality assurance team to check the alignment of technical requirements
    • Manage the changes in requirements
    • Spearhead the user acceptance testing phase, if possible.

7. Support Implementation

This is one of the key business analysis steps. A business analyst is expected to ensure that all stakeholders are ready to accept the proposed solution. 

The key steps under this stage are as follows:

    • Analysis of the solution implemented and the suggested changes required, if any
    • Training the end-users
    • Working closely with the end-users to ensure that they understand the processes and procedural changes

8. Assessing Value Creation

While a lot has focused on the proposed solutions and changes that are being made in the organization, it is equally important to assess the value that has been created due to the changes. 

The following are the key steps under this stage:

    • Evaluate the progress made because of the solution implemented
    • Share the results with the team and project sponsor
    • Propose a follow-up schedule

Business Analysis Techniques

The role of the business analyst in today’s business environment demands effective data modeling along with sound data analysis. Gone are the days when basic diagrams and text alone would suffice in data modeling. Advanced business analysis process models and business analysis techniques are available today to provide the business analyst with many options to choose from, depending on the use case scenario.

There are a wide set of tools and techniques available at the disposal of the business analyst, but it is important to find the right business analysis process model for the situation at hand.

The following are some important tools and techniques for business analysis process model:

  1. SWOT: Short for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, SWOT helps in outlining the existing ecosystem of a business. While strengths and weaknesses are related to an individual business, the opportunities and threats focus on elements that are beyond the control of the business.
  2. MOST: Short for Mission, Objectives and Strategies, MOST maps the objectives of the organization with its mission, objectives, and strategies. This tool focuses on a thorough internal analysis of the organization.
  3.  PESTLE: This business analysis technique focuses on Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal and Environmental factors that may have an impact on the business. As you would notice, these are external factors, and this technique helps in identifying how a business can overcome these and stay on course to achieve its objectives.
  4.  Business Process Remodeling: This is one of the oldest examples of business analysis. Under this method, an analyst is expected to analyze the existing process, improve it, model it and take it towards automation. An analyst is expected to monitor the changes and follow this process to analyze the gaps between existing processes of a business and the future business processes that it may be opting for.
  5. CATWOE: It is an acronym for Customers, Actors, Transformation Process, World View, Owner and Environmental. This technique helps in outlining how an action of a business will impact the various stakeholders. This business analysis example is well-suited for understanding the project’s impact on various stakeholders before it is launched.
  6. MoSCoW: Short for Must or Should, Could or Would, this business analysis example helps you in bucketing all actions and prioritizing the requirements of a business. MoSCoW technique provides a ready framework that helps in ascertaining the order in which activities should be undertaken.
  7.  Use Case Modeling: This business analysis technique is used to pictorially depict how a project would work by explaining the use case. This business analysis example is more fit for software development and design projects.
  8. The 5 Whys: This business analysis technique helps in understanding the root cause of any issue by asking leading questions. The questioning typically starts with understanding why the situation has occurred in the first place.
  9.  Six Thinking Hats: This business analysis technique helps analysts to understand a situation from various perspectives. The categorization is as follows:

Green: Creative thinking

Blue: Focusing on the big picture

White: Driven by logic and numbers available

Yellow: Positive; focusing on the advantages

Red: Analyzing the reactions based on emotions

Black: Negative; focusing on the disadvantages

Boost your problem-solving skills

If analyzing problems, finding root causes and exploring various perspectives is what interests you, you should check out Harappa’s Creating Solutions Course. You will learn about several business analysis techniques explained above and more in a self-paced ecosystem with live learning support.  The Creating Solutions Course will help you in achieving a solid foundation that will help you avoid common analytical errors and build unique solutions. 

Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics such as Understanding Business Growth, How to Write a Business Plan, Types of Business Process Management and Role of Business Acumen to classify problems and solve them efficiently.