Business analysts must respond to the challenges of today's highly competitive global economy by developing practical, creative and financially sound solutions . Debra Paul, Donald Yeates and James Cadle (Editors). BUSINESS. ANALYSIS. Second Edition Business Analysis Second Edition_Layout 1 6/25/10 PM Page i Rich Picture A pictorial technique offering a free-format approach that. Find Business Analysis, 3rd Edition by Debra Paul - PDF eBook in the Books & Magazines - eBooks Welcome to meteolille.info Free Online Auctions!.
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Rich picture A pictorial technique offering a free-format approach that allows analysts to . Debra Paul INTRODUCTION This is a book about Business Analysis. Editorial Reviews. Review. From first edition: A wide-ranging text, which challenges those who Business Analysis - Kindle edition by James Cadle, Malcolm Eva, Keith Hindle, Debra Paul, Craig Rollason, Paul Turner, Donald Yeates. Read with the free Kindle apps (available on iOS, Android, PC & Mac), Kindle. 作者: skytypyh 时间: 标题: Business analysis /3rd/Debra Paul , James Cadle. BUSINESS meteolille.info ( MB, 售价: 15 个论坛币).
Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. Helpful introduction to Business Analysis. Covers a lot of areas and goes into sufficient detail from a beginner's point of view. There are some typos and the writing could be a lot more concise, but is a good basis for preparing for any beginners certification. Recommended with some caveats. It's a good introduction to Business Analysis, and has a broad coverage of the subject.
On the other hand, the coverage of most topics is pretty superficial - it would make a good first book, but anyone working as a business analyst is going to outgrow it pretty rapidly. Sep 20, Barry rated it liked it Shelves: Decent book covering the Business Analysis discipline. It's well written and quite thorough with just a few typos. It covers the general processes in business analysis projects from initiation, developing solutions and gathering and modelling requirements.
It works very well as a companion volume to '99 Business Analysis' techniques which I can heartily recommend. Whilst that may be appro Decent book covering the Business Analysis discipline. Whilst that may be appropriate for traditional BA type roles I do think more focus should be on transformational business change and understanding organisations from a systems perspective.
That said I have dipped into this on more than one occasion over recent weeks and suspect I certainly will for some time in the future. Good resource for those new to Business Analysis. Apr 06, Ankur rated it really liked it.
The official text for BCS certification path, it is a useful primer to the process of business analysis. I copy-edited the second edition for the publisher, working on screen in Microsoft Word.
I liaised with the author to resolve editorial queries and returned the text edited and tagged ready for typesetting. May 12, Ravi rated it really liked it Shelves: This is a re-read of the book almost a year after my previous read.
It has given me a nice chance to reflect and relate the usage of concepts in the book to my actual day to day activities at work. I am happy with the progress I have made in the past year, and, as always, there is scope for improvement.
Apr 30, Noemi rated it liked it Shelves: A manual for someone who wants to do business analysis by the book. Jul 27, Trevor rated it really liked it. Very useful for the ISEB exam, just waiting on the result now Jul 30, Lynda rated it really liked it. Dip in to this when I am looking for strategy tips. Feb 06, Nicci marked it as to-read.
Sep 12, Chris rated it really liked it. A good framework for business analysis. Bradley Barborak rated it liked it Aug 02, Rachel S Johnson rated it it was amazing May 29, Juan-Ton rated it it was ok Jun 18, Anna rated it it was amazing Mar 29, Sanath Kumar rated it it was ok Aug 13, Think7x24 rated it really liked it Nov 19, Buchilo rated it really liked it Oct 01, Greg Basterfield rated it did not like it Sep 01, Lorena Vilela rated it it was amazing Nov 02, Mp rated it did not like it Nov 24, Shadowing A technique used to find out what a particular job entails.
Shadowing involves following a user as they carry out their job for a period such as a day or two days. Six thinking hats A thinking tool developed by Edward de Bono for individuals and for groups to improve the thinking process. SMART A mnemonic used to ensure that objectives are clearly defined in that they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-framed. Soft Systems Methodology A methodology that provides an approach to analysing business situations devised by Peter Checkland and his team at Lancaster University.
Special purpose records A technique that involves the business users in keeping a record about a specific issue or task. Typically the record is based on a simple structure, for example a five bar gate record. Stakeholder An individual, group of individuals or organisation with an interest in the change. Categories of stakeholder include customers, employees, managers, partners, regulators, owners, suppliers and competitors. Stakeholder analysis The analysis of the levels of power and interest of a stakeholder in order to assess the weight that should be attached to their views.
This technique provides a means of categorising stakeholders in order to identify the most appropriate stakeholder management approach. Stakeholder management The definition of the most appropriate means to be adopted in order to engage with different categories of stakeholder. The approach to each stakeholder will be different depending on a their level of interest in the project and b the amount of power or influence they wield to further or obstruct it.
The strategy is defined in order to achieve competitive advantage for the organisation through its configuration of resources within a changing business environment. STROBE A technique that represents a formal checklist approach to observation, where the analyst is investigating specific issues. Survey A technique used to obtain quantitative information during an investigation of a business situation. Surveys are useful to obtain a limited amount of information from a large group of people.
Typical swimlanes represent departments, teams, individuals or IT systems. Swimlane diagram A technique used to model business processes.
A swimlane diagram models the business system response to a business event. The model shows the triggering event, the business actors, the tasks they carry out, the flow between the tasks, the decisions and the business outcome.
SWOT Analysis A technique used to summarise the external pressures facing an organisation and the internal capability the organisation has available to respond to those pressures. The mnemonic stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Tacit knowledge Those aspects of business work that a user is unable, or omits, to articulate or explain.
This may be due to a failure to recognise that the information is required or to the assumption that the information is already known to the analyst. See Explicit knowledge.
Tangible benefit A benefit to be realised by a business change project for which a credible, usually monetary, value can be predicted. See Intangible benefit. Tangible cost A cost incurred by a business change project for which a credible, usually monetary, value can be predicted. See Intangible cost. Task On a Business process model or Swimlane diagram, a piece of work carried out by a single actor at a specific moment in time. The task model elaborates the tasks identified by mapping business processes onto specific individuals or workgroups.
Technical option A technical option describes how the business solution may be implemented using information technology. Use case description A use case description defines the interaction between an actor and a use case. A use case model consists of a diagram showing the actors, the boundary of the system, the use cases and the associations between them, plus a set of use case descriptions.
Value chain A concept developed by Michael Porter to identify the primary and support activities deployed within organisations to deliver value to customers. Workshop An investigation technique whereby a meeting is held with business actors from a range of business areas in order to elicit, analyse or validate information. An agenda is prepared prior to the workshop and distributed to participants.
The workshop is run by a facilitator; actions and decisions are recorded by a scribe. There are now practising business analysts working at all levels of seniority in most organisations and the role is recognised increasingly by professionals from other disciplines, both within the IT function and the business units.
The sixth BA Conference Europe is scheduled, with increasing numbers attending year on year. There are numerous publications on business analysis, and social media abounds with mostly relevant! BA blogs, videos and debates. Many business analysts hold certifications; at the time of writing, BCS had issued over 75, certificates. Business analysis is taught in universities. Need we go on? It definitely feels like we have arrived! This book was written originally to provide a breadth of information and guidance to practising business analysts at all levels — and that continues to be the case.
As a result, it offers a wide-ranging source of practical guidance on how to approach business analysis and how to apply concepts and techniques. The book also supports anyone wanting to achieve professional certifications in business analysis especially those studying for the BCS International Diploma in Business Analysis. We have included material drawn from research, discussions, and conversations with practitioners in business analysis in the UK, Europe, Australia, the USA and Canada.
However, we have been struck by the number of people who are not within this group but have told us that they have found the book helpful. These include students across IS-related disciplines, and managers and staff from various organisational departments, including marketing and HR.
Ultimately, it offers information for anyone wishing to improve their understanding of business analysis. Some important changes in this edition include: The challenges facing organisations have increased since we wrote the first edition of this book. The advent of the economic crisis that affected many countries is still being felt. As a result, organisations need to spend money wisely and the need for good analysis to help ensure this has never been greater.
In this third edition, we have once again extended the toolkit required of a good business analyst. But we make no apologies for this — such an important role will always need to develop and extend its reach. Thanks must go to Alan Paul — husband of Debbie — for reviewing much of the book and improving it. Matthew Flynn and his team at BCS have made it all come together in the end.
Once again, their help and support was invaluable. Many solutions involve the development of new or enhanced information systems but this is unlikely to be the extent of the business change, and it is probable that solutions will have a broader scope incorporating changes to areas such as business processes and job roles. The reason for producing this book is to provide guidance about business analysis that reflects the breadth of the role and the range of techniques used.
While many organisations employ business analysts, there persists a lack of clarity about what the role really involves and this often creates more questions than answers. What do business analysts do? What skills do they require? How do they add value to organisations? Recognition in the broader business community is also an issue with many misconceptions regarding business analysis and a lack of appreciation of the contribution business analysts might make.
Also, in the absence of a standard definition of business analysis and a standard set of business analysis activities, problems have arisen: Organisations have introduced business analysis to make sure that business needs are paramount when new IT systems are introduced.
However, recognising the importance of this in principle is easier than ensuring that it is achieved. Many business analysts still report a drive towards documenting requirements without a clear understanding of the desired business outcomes. Some business analysts were previously experienced IT systems analysts and proved less comfortable considering the business requirements and the range of potential solutions that would meet the requirements.
Many business analysts have a business background and have a limited understanding of IT and how software is developed. This may cause communication difficulties with the developers and could result in failure to ensure that there is an integrated view of the business and IT system.
Some business analysts, as they have gained in experience and knowledge, have felt that they could offer beneficial advice to their organisations but a lack of understanding of the role, and a focus on ensuring governance rather than understanding the need, has caused organisations to reject or ignore this advice.
This chapter examines business analysis as a specialist profession and considers how we might better define the business analyst role. In Chapter 4 we describe a process model for business analysis and an overview of two aspects: Much of this book provides guidance on how the various stages in the business analysis process model may be carried out. Business analysis work is well defined where there are standard techniques that have been used in projects for many years. In fact, many of these techniques have been in use for far longer than the business analyst role has been in existence.
Our aim is to help business analysts carry out their work, improve the quality of business analysis within organisations and, as a result, help organisations to adopt business improvements that will ensure business success. In the past, this has been the focus of IT departments. However, as business operations have changed, the emphasis has moved on to the development of new services and products.
The use of IT has also created opportunities for organisations to focus on their core processes and competencies without the distraction of the peripheral areas of business where they do not have specialist skills. Yet for many years there has been a growing dissatisfaction in businesses with the support provided by IT.
This has been accompanied by a recognition by senior management that IT investment often fails to deliver the required business benefit. In short, the technology enables the development of information systems but these rarely meet the requirements of the business or deliver the service that will bring competitive advantage to the organisation.
The Financial Times Mance reported that this situation applies to all sectors, with IT projects continuing to overrun their budgets by significant amounts and poor communication between business and technical experts remaining problematic.
The perception that, all too frequently, information systems do not deliver the predicted benefits continues to be well founded. They have handed much of this work to specialist IT service providers. This approach has been based upon the belief that specialist providers, often working in countries where costs are lower than the UK, will be able to deliver higher quality at lower cost.
So, in organisations which have outsourced their IT function, the IT systems are designed, constructed and delivered using staff employed by an external supplier.
This undoubtedly has advantages for both the organisation purchasing the services and the specialist supplier. The latter gains an additional customer and the opportunity to increase turnover and make profit from the contractual arrangement.
The customer organisation is no longer concerned with all staffing, infrastructure and support issues and instead pays the specialist provider for delivery of the required service. In theory this approach has much to recommend it but, as is usually the case, the limitations begin to emerge once the arrangement has been implemented, particularly in the areas of supplier management and communication of requirements.
The issues relating to supplier management are not the subject of this book, and would require a book in their own right.
However, we are concerned with the issue of communication between the business and the outsourced development team. We need to ask ourselves how well do the business and technical groups understand each other and is the communication sufficiently frequent and open?
Communication breakdowns usually result in the delivered IT systems failing to provide the required level of support for the business. The outsourcing business model has undoubtedly been a catalyst for the development of the business analysis function as more and more organisations recognise the importance of business representation during the development and implementation of IT systems. Competitive advantage of using IT A parallel development that has helped to increase the profile of business analysis and define the business analyst role, has been the growing recognition that three factors need to be present in order for the IT systems to deliver competitive advantage.
First, the needs of the business must drive the development of the IT systems; second, the implementation of an IT system must be accompanied by the necessary business changes and third, the requirements for IT systems must be defined with rigour and accuracy. Successful business change During the last few years, organisations have adopted a broader view — from IT projects to business change programmes.
Within these programmes, there has been recognition of the need for roles and skill sets that enable the successful delivery of business change initiatives. The roles of the programme manager and change manager are well defined, with a clear statement of their scope and focus within the business change lifecycle.
However, we now need to ensure that the business analyst role — one that uncovers the root causes of problems, identifies the issues to be addressed and ensures any solution will align with business needs — has a similar level of definition and recognition.
Figure 1. Later business change activities are concerned with change design and development, business acceptance testing and, post implementation, benefits review and realisation. Clearly, extensive analysis is required throughout the lifecycle if the changes are to be successful in order to deliver the desired benefits.
The analysis work falls within the remit of business analysis yet, in many organisations, a coherent approach to business change, that includes business analysts in the business change lifecycle, is still awaited. As a result, it is often the case that the definition of the business needs and the requirements to ensure they are met are often unclear or not aligned. All too often the focus almost from the outset is on the solution rather than understanding what problem we are trying to address.
The lack of clarity and alignment can result in the development or adoption of changes that fail to deliver business benefits and waste investment funds.
The potential exists for organisations to implement information systems that yield competitive advantage and yet this often appears to be just out of reach.
Organisations also want help in finding potential solutions to business issues and opportunities, sometimes where IT may not prove to be the answer, but it has become apparent that this requires a new set of skills to support business managers in achieving this. These factors have led directly to the development of the business analyst role. Having identified the relevance of the business analyst role, we now need to recognise the potential this can offer, particularly in a global economic environment where budgets are limited and waste of financial resources unacceptable.
The importance of using investment funds wisely and delivering the business benefits predicted for business change initiatives, has becoming increasingly necessary to the survival of organisations. Business analysts as internal consultants Many organisations use external consultants to provide expert advice throughout the business change lifecycle.
On the other hand, the use of external consultants is often criticised, across all sectors, because of the lack of accountability and the absence of any transfer of skills from the external consultants to internal staff.
Cost is also a key issue. Consultancy firms often charge daily fee rates that are considerably higher than the charge levied for an internal analyst and whilst the firms may provide consultants with a broad range of expertise steeped in best practice, this is not always guaranteed. The experiences gained from using external consultants have also played a part in the development of the internal business analysis role.
Many business analysts have argued that they can provide the services offered by external consultants and can, in effect, operate as internal consultants. Reasons for using internal business analysts as consultants, apart from lower costs, include speed internal consultants do not have to spend time learning about the organisation and the retention of knowledge within the organisation. These factors have been recognised as particularly important for projects where the objectives concern the achievement of business benefit through the use of IT and where IT is a prime enabler of business change.
As a result, while external consultants are used for many business purposes, the majority of business analysts are employed by their organisations. Consequently, there have been increasing numbers of business analysts working as internal consultants over the last decade. Discussions with several hundred business analysts, across a range of business forums, have established that business analysis roles do not always accurately represent the range of responsibilities that business analysts are capable of fulfilling.
The range of analysis activities One way in which we can consider the business analyst role is to examine the potential extent of analysis work. There are always unclear aspects where the three areas overlap. For example, consultants may specialise in strategic analysis but also get involved in business process redesign to make a reality of their strategies, and good systems analysts have always understood the need to understand the overall business context of the systems they are developing.
However, it is useful to examine them separately in order to consider their relevance to the business analyst role. Some business analysts may be required to undertake strategic analysis and identify business transformation actions, but it is more likely that they will have a role to play in supporting this activity.
In the main, we believe that strategic analysis is mostly outside the remit of business analysis. Business analysts often have to recommend and design the tactics that will deliver the business objectives and strategy, typically the process and IT system solutions. Hence, it is vital that they are able to work within the strategic business context.
It may also be the case that some business analyst roles will require strategic level thinking. The use of IT to enable business improvements and the opportunities presented by technology will need to be considered during any strategy analysis and the business analysts are the specialist team that should be able to advise on the use of technology to drive business change.
Given these issues, we feel that, while strategic analysis work is not core to business analysis, business analysts will need a good understanding of how strategy is developed and the impact upon the work of the IT and business change functions. In view of this, Chapter 3 explores a range of strategic analysis techniques and provides an overview of the strategic planning process.
IT systems analysis At the other end of our model, there is the traditional IT discipline called systems analysis. Systems analysts are responsible for analysing and specifying the IT system requirements in sufficient detail to provide a basis for the evaluation of software packages or the development of a bespoke IT system. Typically, systems analysis work involves the use of techniques such as data modelling and process or function modelling. This work is focused on describing the software requirements, and so the products of systems analysis define exactly what data the IT system will record, the processing that will be applied to that data and how the user interface will operate.
Some organisations consider this work to be of such a technical nature that they perceive it to be completely outside the province of the business analyst. They have identified that modelling process and data requirements for the IT system is not part of the role of the business analyst and have separated the business analysis and IT teams into different departments, expecting the IT department to carry out the detailed IT systems modelling and specification. The essential difference here is that a business analyst is responsible for considering a range of business options to address a particular problem or opportunity; on the other hand an IT business analyst, or systems analyst, works within a defined scope and considers options for the IT solution.
In some organisations, there is little divide between the business analysts and the IT team. In these cases the business analysts work closely with the IT developers and include the definition of IT system requirements as a key part of their role. This is particularly the case where an Agile approach has been adopted for a software development project; the business analyst will work closely with the end users and development team to clarify the detailed requirements as they evolve during the development process.
Business analysis If the two analysis disciplines described above define the limits of analysis work, the gap in the middle is straddled by business analysis. This is reflected in Figure 1. Business analysts will usually be required to investigate a business system where improvements are required but the range and focus of those improvements can vary considerably. It may be that the analysts are asked to resolve a localised business issue.
In such a case, they would need to recommend actions that would overcome a problem or achieve business benefits. Perhaps it is more likely that the study is broader than this and requires investigation into several issues, or perhaps ideas, regarding increased efficiency or effectiveness. This work would necessitate extensive and detailed analysis of the business area. The analysts would need to make recommendations for business changes and these would need to be supported by a rigorous business case.
Another possibility is that the business analyst is asked to focus specifically on enhancing or replacing an existing IT system in line with business requirements.
In this case the analyst would deliver a requirements document defining what the business requires the IT system to provide. This document may define the requirements in detail or may be at a more overview level, depending upon the approach to the system development. Where an Agile approach is to be used, the business analyst may also be involved in prioritising the requirements and identifying those to be input into the next development iteration.
This work is likely to require analysis of a workstream comprising various activities and systems. In this case, the analyst will need to have wide-ranging skills not only in analysis but also in stakeholder relationship management, and they will also require extensive business domain knowledge.
Whichever situation applies, the study usually begins with the analyst gaining an understanding of the business situation in hand. A problem may have been defined in very specific terms, and a possible solution identified, but in practice it is rare that this turns out to be the entire problem and it is even less the case that any proposed solution addresses all of the issues.
More commonly, there is a more general set of problems that require a broad focus and in-depth investigation. Sometimes, the first step is to clarify the problem to be solved as, without this, any analysis could be examining the wrong area and, as a result, identifying unhelpful solutions. For any changes to succeed the business analyst needs to consider all aspects, for example, what processes, IT systems, job roles, skills and other resources will be needed to improve the situation.
In such situations, techniques such as stakeholder analysis, business process modelling and requirements engineering may all be required in order to identify the actions required to improve the business system. These three topics are the subject of later chapters in this book. Realising business benefits Analysing business situations, and identifying areas for business improvement, is only part of the process; the analyst may also be required to help develop a business case in order to justify the required level of investment and ensure any risks are considered.
One of the key elements of the business case will be the identification and, where relevant, the quantification of the business benefits. Organisations are placing increasing emphasis upon ensuring that there is a rigorous business case to justify the expenditure on business improvement projects.
However, defining the business case is only part of the picture — the focus on the management and realisation of these business benefits, once the solution has been delivered, is also growing.
This is largely because organisations have limited funds for investment and need to ensure that they are spent wisely. There has been a long history of failure to assess whether or not business benefits have been realised from change projects but this is becoming increasingly unacceptable as the financial pressures mount on organisations and the calls for transparency grow.
The business analyst will not be the only role involved in this work. However, ensuring that changes are assessed in terms of the impact upon the business case and, at a later point, supporting the assessment of whether or not predicted business benefits have been realised, is a key element of the role. Hence, all aspects of the operational business system need to be analysed if all of the opportunities for business improvement are to be uncovered.
For each area, we might consider the following: The processes — are they well defined and communicated? Is there the potential for delays or the introduction of errors? The people — do they have the required skills for the job? How motivated are they? Do they understand the business objectives that they need to support? The organisation — is there a supportive management style? Are jobs and responsibilities well defined? Is there collaborative cross-functional working? The information — do the staff have the information to conduct their work effectively?
Are managers able to make decisions based on accurate and timely information? The technology — do the systems support the business as required? Do they provide the information needed to run the organisation?
We need to examine and understand all of these areas to uncover where problems lie and what improvements might be possible, if the business system is to become more effective.
Taking a holistic view is vital as this ensures not only that all of the aspects are considered but also the linkages between them. It is often the case that the focus of a business analysis or business change study is primarily on the processes and the IT support. However, even if we have the most efficient processes with high standards of IT support, problems will persist if issues with staffing, such as skills shortages, or the organisation, such as management style, have not also been addressed.
It is vital that the business analyst is aware of the broader aspects relating to business situations such as the culture of the organisation and its impact on the people and the working practices. The adoption of a holistic approach will help ensure that these aspects are included in the analysis of the situation. Business analysis places an emphasis on improving the operation of the entire business system.
This means that, while technology is viewed as a factor that could enable improvements to the business operations, other possibilities are also considered. The focus should be on business improvement, rather than on the use of automation per se, resulting in recommendations that improve the business. Typically, these include the use of IT but this is not necessarily the case. There may be situations where a short-term non-IT solution is both helpful and cost-effective.
For example, a problem may be overcome by developing internal standards or training members of staff. Once urgent issues have been addressed, the longer term solutions can be considered more thoroughly. It is important that our focus as business analysts is on identifying opportunities for improvement with regard to the needs of the particular situation.
If we do this, we can recommend changes that will help deliver real business improvements and ensure that funds are invested prudently. The use of such approaches evolved as a reaction to the linear waterfall lifecycle, with its emphasis on completing a stage before moving on to the next stage. The Agile philosophy is to deliver software increments early and to elaborate requirements using approaches such as prototyping.
The Agile Manifesto stated: We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a plan That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.
So, what does this mean for the business analyst? In essence, where a business analyst is working on a project where an Agile software development approach has been adopted, the analyst will be involved in supporting the business users in clarifying, elaborating and prioritising the requirements during the development process. While some early business analysis work will have been required to uncover the problems to be addressed and define the business requirements, at a solution level the more detailed requirements will be elaborated during timeboxed iterations where collaborative teams comprising users, analysts and developers work together to develop part of the software required product.
The role of the business analyst in an Agile environment is explored further in Chapters 10 and Supporting business change It is often commented that, even when the business analysts have defined excellent solutions that have been well-designed and developed, business improvement initiatives can fail during implementation. The business analyst may be required to support the implementation of the business changes. One aspect may concern the business acceptance testing — a vital element if business changes are to be implemented smoothly.
Further, the implementation of business change may require extensive support from the business analysts, including tasks such as: The role of the business analyst throughout the change lifecycle is explored further in Chapter Although there are different role definitions, depending upon the organisation, there does seem to be an area of common ground where most business analysts work.
These core responsibilities are: Investigate business systems taking a holistic view of the situation; this may include examining elements of the organisation structures and staff development issues as well as current processes and IT systems. Evaluate actions to improve the operation of a business system. Document the business requirements for the IT system support using appropriate documentation standards.
Elaborate requirements, in support of the business users, during evolutionary system development. In line with this, we believe the core business analyst role should be defined as: An advisory role which has the responsibility for investigating and analysing business situations, identifying and evaluating options for improving business systems, elaborating and defining requirements, and ensuring the effective implementation and use of information systems in line with the needs of the business.
Some business analysis roles extend into other areas, possibly the strategic analysis or systems analysis activities described above. This may be where business analysts are in a more senior role or choose to specialise.
These areas are: Strategy implementation — here the business analysts work closely with senior management to help define the most effective business system to implement elements of the business strategy. Business case production — more senior business analysts usually do this, typically with assistance from Finance specialists. Benefits realisation — the business analysts carry out post-implementation reviews, examine the benefits defined in the business case and evaluate whether or not the benefits have been achieved.
Actions to achieve the business benefits are also identified and sometimes carried out by the business analysts. Specification of IT requirements — typically using standard modelling techniques such as data modelling or use case modelling. The definition of the business analyst role may be expanded by considering the rationale for business analysis. The rationale for business analysis is: These business analysts have come from different backgrounds — some from IT, many from business areas — and have brought different skills and knowledge to their business analysis teams.
The BAMM uses two axes: The scope may be very specific if an initial study has identified the required course of action and the analyst now needs to explore and define solution in greater detail.
Alternatively, the scope may have been defined at only an overview level, or may be very ambiguous, with the business analyst having to carry out detailed investigation to uncover the issues before the options can be explored.
The level of authority of the business analyst can also vary considerably, from a limited level of authority to the ability to influence and guide at senior management level.
The BAMM shows three levels of maturity during the development of business analysis. The first level is where the business analysis work is concerned with defining the requirements for an IT system improvement.
At this level, the scope is likely to be well-defined and the level of authority limited to the project on which the business analyst works. The next level is where the business analysis work has moved beyond a specific IT development so that the analysts work cross- functionally to improve the business processes that give rise to the requirements.
Here, the business analysis work is concerned with improving the business and working with senior management to support the delivery of value to customers. These levels of maturity apply to three perspectives on business analysis: At each level, the application of techniques and skills, the use of standards, and the evaluation of the work through measures, can vary considerably. In doing this, the analysts may initially have to develop their own process and standards for each piece of work.
The analysts working at the Business Improvement level may have a defined process, standards and measures that are managed for each assignment. The factors that support professionalism in business analysis are as follows: Qualifications — qualifications that determine the standard of skills and abilities of the individual professional that are recognised by employing organisations. It is increasingly the case that organisations require business analysts to hold qualifications.
Standards — techniques and documentation standards that are applied in order to carry out the work of the profession. Organisations typically have templates for documents and standardise on modelling techniques such as those provided by the Unified Modeling Language.
Books such as this one are also used in many organisations as a foundation for standards of business analysis practice. Continuing Professional Development — recognition of the need for the continuing development of skills and knowledge in order to retain the professional status.
Professional Body — a body with responsibility for defining technical standards and the code of conduct, promoting the profession and carrying out remedial action where necessary. This may require the removal of members where they do not reach the standard required by the code of conduct. We have come a long way in twenty-five years. Gradually, the business analyst role is being defined with increasing clarity, individuals with extensive expertise are developing and enhancing their skills, best practice is gaining penetration across organisations, and a business analysis profession is becoming established.
Business analysis offers an opportunity for organisations to ensure not only that technology is deployed effectively to support the work of the organisation, but also that relevant options for business change are identified that take account of budgetary and timescale pressures. Business analysts can offer objective views that can challenge conventional wisdom, uncover root causes of problems and define the changes that will accrue real business benefits.
Business analysts are passionate about their work and the contribution they can make. They continually develop their skills and extend the breadth of work they can undertake. Where outsourcing initiatives operate across departmental boundaries and sometimes have impacts upon the entire organisation, the work carried out by business analysts is vital if the new part in- house, part outsourced processes and technology are going to deliver value to customers.
The challenge for the analysts is to ensure that they develop the extensive toolkit of skills, behavioural, business and technical, that will enable them to engage with the problems and issues facing their organisations, and assist in their resolution.
The challenge for the organisations is to support the analysts in their personal development, recognise the important contribution they offer, ensure they have the authority to carry out business analysis to the extent required by the situations they face, and listen to their advice.
BCS, Swindon. Cadle, J. Harmon, P. Morgan Kaufmann, Burlington, MA. Johnson, G. FT Prentice Hall, Harlow. Senge, P. The Art and Practice of the Learning Organisation, 2nd edn.
Random House Books, London. They can also help to resolve issues without jumping to premature conclusions. But what exactly is a good business analyst? This chapter aims to address this question by identifying and describing the competencies that business analysts need in order to be effective in the modern business environment.
For the purposes of this chapter, we shall define a competence as an ability a business analyst needs to perform his or her job effectively. The set of BA competencies can be divided into three broad groups, illustrated in Figure 2.
Figure 2. They are not specific to business analysis but are general skills that are important for developing and progressing in any business environment. Behavioural skills are arguably more important than technical or business skills as they are a prerequisite for working with other people. It is often said that it is easier to give a person with good behavioural skills the techniques they need for their job than to graft behavioural skills onto a good technician.
One of the main reasons for this is that good behavioural skills take many years to develop. We discuss the development of competencies later in this chapter.
A business analyst also requires business knowledge which helps to develop a good understanding of their organisation and the business domain or sector within which it operates. The primary source of business knowledge is through the experience of working in a variety of organisation and project environments. Additional business knowledge can be developed through reading relevant literature or studying for business qualifications.
The professional techniques are those specific to the business analyst role and differentiate business analysts from other roles.
Each of the competencies shown in Figure 2. Communication Communication is perhaps the most important skill an individual can possess; it encompasses a wide range of areas such as building rapport, listening, influencing and building empathy. Much analysis work involves collecting and analysing data and then presenting back information that brings new perspectives on the project so as to propose a course of action.
Poor communication skills are often cited as the root cause of problems during discussions between business and IT staff. It is vital that we communicate with business colleagues in a language and style they are comfortable with and avoid unfamiliar terms and references. From the analyst perspective, it is important to understand the business, possibly by doing some prior research, and avoid using technical language that is likely to confuse.
Spending time with the business team will help you to understand what the communication norms are and what will be effective. It is also important to adjust your communication to align with the other people in the discussion. We need to be aware of the interests and responsibilities of the participants and frame questions accordingly.
Relationship building This is an extension of communication skill and concerns the ability to get on well with people, at a working if not social level. Some people seem to possess this ability naturally, others have to work at it but either way it is essential for a business analyst.
As a business analyst you need to get people to impart information and share opinions with you, and also to discuss ideas for change. All of these things will be very much easier if the people concerned like and trust you. Those who seem best able to build good working relationships demonstrate a genuine interest in the other person and offer open discussions which build mutual trust and respect. This is the basis for successful relationship building. If that conclusion is at odds with preconceived ideas about what is required or if it calls for radical or unexpected action, then the ability to influence is essential.
Successful influencing requires careful consideration and a concerted effort. We need to understand the stakeholders and factors that will play a part in the decision.
Some are obvious such as the project sponsor, project manager, governance committees, project boards and other steering groups.
Some are hidden — networks of colleagues, personal agendas, hidden information. Identifying the stakeholders and understanding the amount of power they exert over the decision-making processes will allow you to target and influence the decision-makers most effectively.
Once decision-makers have been identified, you can then define a course of action to take the decision forward. This may involve briefing other colleagues — more senior or representatives on decision-making groups — or influencing business colleagues directly. The influencing activities need careful consideration and prior planning. Business analysts have to develop an understanding of where the other party stands on their proposal, any likely resistance and the influencing style needed to approach the person or group.
For example, some managers might defer all decisions to another group, require all information at a very detailed level or prefer just a high-level summary. Tailoring the approach is vital for a successful outcome. The analysis itself may be questioned requiring the business analysts to take or suggest another course of action. This may involve facilitating a round table discussion or seeking support from senior colleagues on the best course of action.
This is especially true when the business analyst is caught in the middle of opposing views. It also suggests that another personal quality that business analysts need from time to time is the ability to withstand pressure.
Team working Business analysts often work in teams. The nature of business analysis work requires collecting information from and collaborating with many groups such as business colleagues, suppliers, project team members and management. As a result, the ability to work in a team is very important. An appreciation of what makes successful teams work will benefit the business analyst who should be able to make use of their analytical skills to identify any issues and opportunities that will improve how the team works.
Key factors for consideration are vision, commitment, trust, capability, accountability, principles, creativity, responsiveness and recognition. Essentially, this means the ability to work out what is and is not politically acceptable in an organisation and being able to use the right organisational levers to get things done. This requires an analyst to know the sources of power and information within the organisation, understanding what is acceptable or not, and tailoring the approach accordingly.
Having political awareness, emphatically does not mean accepting the status quo; it does mean being astute and using resourcefulness to get results, even in the face of opposition. Analytical skills and critical thinking Since the role we are talking about here is that of business analyst, it is clear that analytical skills form a major part of the job but what does this mean in practice?
It means not settling for the obvious, not accepting things at face value and not jumping to premature conclusions. It means digging deeper and deeper until the true situation is uncovered and the real problem has been defined. It involves sifting through often-conflicting data and determining which is relevant and which are not, and presenting the results of the analysis in a form suitable for the relevant stakeholders. And it involves challenging received wisdom at every turn: Why do you do this?
What value does it add? Where is it done? How is it done? Who is or should be responsible? When should it happen? Is there another way to do this? Some analysts seem to believe that the job simply consists of recording what the users say they want but this will not reap the potential rewards without the active and critical intervention of the analyst.
Over time the analyst will be able to assess the level of analysis required for a specific situation. One maxim often used is to conduct 20 per cent of the analysis in order to achieve 80 per cent of the right answer — and then be per cent convincing when influencing the outcome.
Whether it is uncovering the root causes of problems, defining the costs and benefits associated with a proposed option, defining business requirements and rules or identifying the impacts of proposed changes, the business analyst has a responsibility to ensure that key information is not missed. The key competence here is to have an attention to detail when necessary and to be able to identify when this is required.
This focus on understanding the problem before rushing towards a solution is a key tenet of business analysis, — this is where significant value can be delivered.
It could be said that a business analyst is at heart someone who likes to solve business problems. There are many techniques and frameworks associated with creative problem solving, and Chapter 4 provides an overview of one such approach, but problem-solving competence requires more than just an understanding of how to approach a problem.
There is a need for a problem-solving mindset, requiring curiosity, tenacity and analytical ability plus an open mind that seeks out and evaluates options. Pragmatism is also key to successful problem solving. Leadership Leadership is a skill that is often associated with management.
However, the fundamental characteristics of leadership — developing a vision, taking ownership of that vision and ensuring the actions to achieve that vision are implemented — can be applied to all types of work. Thus, leadership is highly applicable to business analysis and in this context may be defined as creating a vision of the approaches and options available to address a business issue, advising stakeholders in order to obtain agreement about the vision and then driving the business and IT change process towards the achievement of that vision.
No two projects are the same. Each project has different objectives, constraints and stakeholders, and hence the required approach, skills and resources will differ.
It is important to assess each situation on its own merits, decide what is needed and then design the analysis process. This should be within the broader context of analysing business systems not just IT systems. The business analyst needs to consider all aspects of the organisation or business area within which they work, including people, culture, processes, commercial and technical aspects.
Getting the vision and actions right requires holistic thinking and rigorous analysis, and positions the project for success with key business stakeholders. In recent years, the business analyst as a leader has emerged as a common theme in the business analysis and wider business and IT community.
The potential of business analysis to innovate and transform has in some organisations propelled the role to senior levels with executive level reporting. Self-belief This last quality is one that is often overlooked but is extremely important.
It means having sufficient self-confidence — in yourself, in the quality of your analysis, in the relevance of your approach — to be able to withstand pressure, challenge proposals, analyse impacts and sustain your arguments. Self-belief is a key competence for working effectively with stakeholders across the broad range of situations likely to be encountered by business analysts.
This is the degree to which individuals themselves believe they control events and affect them. A strong internal locus of control means the individual believes they can influence the events that happen. This may be compared with a strong external locus of control, in which events happen which the individual feels they cannot control. A business analyst with an external locus could have difficulty in gaining credibility with stakeholders and convincing them of the value they can deliver.
Professional development A continuous improvement mindset is also critical for the business analyst. This should apply to personal development as well as enabling colleagues and the organisation to develop. This competence may be demonstrated through various activities such as coaching, mentoring, training delivery, contribution to professional forums and applying for business analysis awards. Business finance The universal language of business is finance.
Whether the business analyst is working in the commercial, government or non-profit sectors of the economy, finance plays a key role in deciding what funds are available and what can and cannot be done. As a result, the business analyst needs to have a good working knowledge of the basics of business finance. This includes a general understanding of aspects such as the balance sheet and income statement profit and loss account , financial analysis tools like ratio analysis, budgeting and cash flow, the nature of profit or surplus, and the principles of costing products and services.
So, when communicating analysis findings, it is important to ensure that you have a view on the financial impact that the project will have. In its own right, IT is only an enabling tool for business benefits to be achieved and a business analysis project may involve other specialists, such as management accountants, to model the business activities and determine how IT can deliver financial benefit.
To develop the business case, a basic understanding of finance, as described above, is required. Business analysts involved in business case preparation will need to understand investment appraisal techniques such as break-even analysis and discounted cash flow; these techniques are explained in Chapter 9.
Over recent years many business analysts have developed a greater understanding of the benefits and costs of technical solutions.
This is a positive development as it enables analysts to disregard costly options quickly, and ensure that they deliver value from their analysis work. Domain knowledge Domain knowledge involves a good general understanding of the business domain, or sector, in which your organisation operates. Apart from the general domain, there is more specific domain knowledge, for instance, supermarkets within the retail domain and social care within local government.
The reasons why this knowledge is required are threefold: It enables you to communicate with the business people involved in the project, using language with which they are familiar — the personal qualities of communication and relationship building also help here.