In this vastly competitive world, organizations all over the world are looking for ways to outshine their competitors. From analyzing business performance, sales figures, and marketing strategies to understanding their customer base, they are ready to offer their best to customers. But, have you ever wondered what makes corporate behemoths, such as Google, Apple, and Tesla, have an edge over other firms?
The answer to this question is business analysis. It is the study of business requirements and involves developing solutions to business problems. This is a crucial department in any reputable organization and building a career by getting a business analyst certification will surely help anybody looking to enter this field.
Let us now understand the basics of business analysis…
What is business analysis?
Business analysis is the study of identifying the various processes of an organization and also the organizational structure. It looks at the areas where the company is performing well and where they are suffering financial losses. Targets and obstacles associated with them are also analyzed.
As we know that the only thing constant in this world is change, any organization has to bring in certain changes in their structure and function. This will enable them to gain a business advantage over their rivals, deliver better solutions to customers, and keep their stakeholders satisfied.
The technique looks at every aspect of an organization, such as sales, marketing, human resource, customer acquisition, and technology to determine problems or issues. Then appropriate solutions are developed to solve these problems.
The business analysis process lends insights into the development of the initial framework of a business project.
We will now look at the various steps of the business analysis process in detail.
Steps of the business analysis process
It is important for any business analyst to chalk out various strategies for performing business analysis. He or she has to get down to basics before a particular project is started. However, each stage has different objectives, tasks, and documentation associated with it.
The various steps are described below:
Gathering project information
The first step in business analysis is to gather all the relevant information about the project. Whether it is a new project or an existing one, basic information prepares the platform for further analysis. If you are in a business analyst role, you might start collecting information about the domain of the project. The domain can be healthcare, technology, or finance.
Is there enough information about this domain, such as the current trends? If no, then research is the only way. Next, the factors that may affect the business strategy have to be determined. The best tools to find out these are:
- PESTEL– The political, economic, social, technological, ethical and legal factors are examined
- Porter’s Five Forces – Competitors, supplier power, buyer power, new entrants, and the threat of substitution – these factors are studied
Important documents for this stage – System and process records
Stakeholders make important decisions and specify requirements for the project. A method called stakeholder wheel technique is used for identifying main stakeholders:
- Company owners, trustees, and shareholders
- Senior and middle-level managers
- Regulatory authorities
- Business partners
- Industry competitors
Important document for this stage – Stakeholder Matrix
Identifying business objectives
What is the project all about? How will it benefit the business? These questions are answered at this stage. These answers will help project managers and business analysts lay down the scope of the project. The techniques that can be used for determining the objectives are:
- Benchmarking – Understanding industry competitors and rivals working on the same level
- SWOT analysis – Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the project are identified
- Brainstorming and focus groups
- SMART goals –This helps in making the objectives specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound
Important document for this stage – List of business objectives
Evaluation of options
Here, the various options available for accomplishing objectives are evaluated. The techniques of focus group meetings and brainstorming can help. You can update an existing service/technology, buy a new service or create a new solution for the business. Once you have all the available options, you can shortlist the ones that will help in achieving your goals.
Factors to keep in mind while narrowing down options are:
- Funds available and the company’s budget
- Business case
- ROI (Return on Investment)
Important documents for this stage – Business case documents
Define project scope
Based on the objectives, the scope of the project is determined after consultation and taking the opinions of various stakeholders. Project goals and aspects to be removed from the project are discussed. The developments and integrations that are in or out of the project scope are analyzed here.
Important document for this stage – Scope definition document
Preparation of the business delivery plan
A project manager and business analyst will create a delivery plan for providing the requirements of the project. The plan will have specific dates assigned to the deliverables. This timeline will be based on the following factors:
- Scope of the project
- Project methodology
- Availability of stakeholders
Proper deadlines will enable better planning of costs and resources.
Important documents for this stage – Business analyst delivery plan
Project requirement definition
At this stage, business analysts specify project requirements to business owners for getting their approval. Requirements are divided into functional and non-functional. Non-functional requirements will include aspects, such as security and performance. Functional requirements define the behavior and functionality.
Business analysts interview stakeholders for understanding their expected outcomes, which helps them in defining requirements.
Important documents for this stage – Use cases and business requirement documents
Implementation of requirements
The technical implementation of project requirements is carried out here. Business analysts ensure that the project is carried out as per planning. Technical deliverables are reviewed and requirements are updated based on the feedback of the development team. To make sure the requirements are tested properly, a business analyst communicates with quality analysts.
Analysis of the project value
It is constantly evaluated whether the project has provided the value it was supposed to offer. The estimated project timelines, objectives, and other aspects are discussed with stakeholders. Based on their feedback, the project may be modified.
Need to get a business analyst certification
To secure the job of a business analyst in any company, you need the skills and in-depth knowledge of the business analysis process. And, a certification validates your skills, experience, and ability. This will attract more hiring managers and you will get more job offers.
To get into companies, such as Google, Apple, or Microsoft, certification will make you stand tall above the rest. Moreover, certification will allow you to apply for jobs in almost any industry, as business analysts are required almost everywhere. You can set yourself up for a bright future in BA if you have a certification under your belt.
The highest salary per annum for business analysts in India is INR 7 LPA. On average, the annual salary ranges from INR 3 to 5 LPA.
In recent years, business analysis has become a growth promoter for many companies. It has helped businesses restructure themselves, identify their drawbacks, and find new opportunities. So, get your business analyst certification and jumpstart your career in business analysis!