What It’s All About – Business Analysis

For businesses to survive, particularly during tough economic times, they must set themselves apart from their competitors. Innovation, therefore, becomes a key component of their success. Innovation requires both a strategic vision on the part of businesses, as well as creating conditions that can be achieved through internal changes and improvements. This is accomplished through a process called Business Analysis.

Business Analysis (BA) can be defined as an investigation into the operations of an enterprise aimed at understanding every aspect of how the enterprise is functioning including its processes, people and performance, as well as its goals and objectives.

(BA) is the crucial first step in the software consulting process because it identifies enterprise needs and helps build the solutions required to meet these needs.

Although, technically, business analysis is distinct from financial analysis, project management, quality assurance, organizational development, testing, training and documentation development, it is a given that all these functions take place.

It is imperative that organizations ascertain the mood and the conditions for starting or consolidating a business venture. If you don’t understand how the business works, what makes i successful, what the challenges are, and where it is headed, it is most likely headed in the wrong direction.

Over time, best practices have been developed which contain a series of well-defined steps. The BABOK-Business Analysis Book of Knowledge has been created by the International Institute of Business Analysis to collect and consolidate the experience of hundreds of practitioners.

The first step is to gain a basic understanding of the business and then proceed to the final design, deployment and validation of whatever solution best meets the organization’s needs most effectively. The following is the list of steps in the business analysis process:

* Understanding the business
* Competitor Analysis
* Market Analysis
* Defining Project Scope and Objectives
* Requirements Gathering
* Requirements Analysis and Documentation
* Communicating Requirements
* Designing the Solution
* Implementation and Testing the Solution

The accomplishment of an effective (BA) project is a challenging project. It will most often include a combination of modeling, systemic thinking, innovating, communicating root cause analysis, persuasion and several other analytical skills. It is something which involves considerable interaction with other team members as well as substantial client interface, so team work and good interpersonal skills are important.

While (BA) is not an exact science, it is still a wiser alternative than rushing into a new business strategy or decision without planning ahead. By understanding how the business works, what makes it successful, what the challenges are, and where it are headed, opportunities to succeed and prosper are truly enhanced.

Importance of Business Analysis

Effective business analysis involves taking information gathered from a variety of sources and analyzing for the purpose of forecasting future trends, finding ways to make improvements in business strategies, improving businesses operations, and making smart business decisions to improve the company’s bottom line. Understanding key marketing areas is essential to helping a business generate revenue and cut down on excess waste.

Business analysis can include market research analysis such as analyzing consumer data from such sources as transaction records, consumer surveys, polls…etc. It can also include financial analysis, inventory analysis, product and service analysis, and much more. Effective business analysis helps a business avoid making incorrect decisions that can result in time and money being wasted when going back to fix any problems as well as finding the right solution. The result of finding the right solution the first time is projects get completed in a timely manner, strategies are executed with the results benefiting the business, and there is effective monitoring of the project that allows for the best adjustments that results in the best outcome.

Effective business analysis allows managers to make sure accurate information is distributed and understood by the entire project team. With the correct information, the team is able to work together in an efficient manner to create a plan that has a higher chance of success. Today, there is effective business analysis software and applications that allows managers to not only keep up with current consumer shopping trends as well as forecast future trends. For instance, a supermarket that analyses and tracks customer purchases will be able to design and implement marketing strategies around their customers’ personal shopping habits. As well, data from surveys is another example of analyzing the information to determine the best way to market products and services.

It is not just consumer analysis that will benefit a business. Financial analysis is also important for a business. This can include analyzing budgets, cash flows, inventory costs, profit and loss statements, and balance sheets. By performing effective financial analysis, a business can identify spending waste and streamline operations to make the business more profitable.

Due to changing demographics and consumer habits, it is important that a business has a clear understanding of their current and future trends in order to meet changing consumer preferences. Fortunately, there is quality data mining software available that can help a business collect and analyze relevant data to improve operations and marketing strategies. As well, it helps identify populations and lifestyles including current and future behavior trends, and helps forecast future business decisions.

In today’s highly competitive market, you cannot run a successful business without understanding your customers as well as all facets of the company. Effective business analysis ensures the right decisions are made that will best benefit the business and mitigate incidents of unrealistic expectations that results in disappointments and loss of revenue. Effective business analysis allows a business to take the guess work out of business decisions. The result is an overall improvement in the businesses bottom line.