Business analysis is basically the act of pointing out specific business problems and challenges and coming up with suitable solutions that will benefit the business stakeholders. Business analysis aims at achieving various objectives, for instance, inflicting change when it comes to business processes, policies, growth and development techniques, improving general and specific business systems to name just but a few. In that case, the business analyst in charge of such a process is required to identify the business needs in order for them to succeed in analyzing the business (Yoo et al, 2007). This means that the business analysts should prioritize in investigating the business systems, research on possible methods of improving the performance of the business systems and evaluate the identified methods and also document the requirements needed to support the business systems (especially the information technology, IT systems). By acting on the above mentioned activities, a business analyst will definitely be able to manage his/her responsibility to the business.
In addition to that, business analysis must involve the concentration of the six key areas and processes of business analysis. These key areas help the business analysts to focus on the most important parts of the business that is being analyzed. These core areas certainly focus on the main sections of the business that can really influence change in the business as well as bring value change to the stakeholders. Apart from this, through business analysis, the analysts can be able to determine the current state of the business either financially, tactically, strategically etc. as well as the future state of the business. Additionally, the analysts are certainly able to device ways and methods of moving the business from its current state to its future state successfully.
Core Knowledge Areas Of Business Analysis
In this assignment, I will be able to discuss the four key areas of business analysis in relation to the ILS case study. In this case study, the library is has been facing some challenges especially when it comes to book barcoding due to the change of the ILS software from its previous to a more modern ILS system. Therefore, in this assignment, I will be able to discuss what the library needs to do in order for it to be successful in changing and making use of the new ILS software, but in relation to the key competencies of business analysis.
Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring
This involves coming up with specific activity schedule before and during the business analysis process. The planning and monitoring helps the business analysts well as the business employees and users to identify the process to be followed, techniques to be used, deliverables to be used and the anticipated end product or results (Guide to the business analysis body of knowledge. (2015).Additionally, these area help the analysts as well as the stakeholders in directing, coordinating and organizing the analysis process. For this area to be successful, it requires certain key competencies. They are:
Plan business analysis approach- This activity involves planning the whole of the analysis process both generally and specifically. In that case, the business analysts and the stakeholders should focus on choosing the specific methods, specific tasks, deliverables and activities that should be involved in the whole process for beginning to the end. Therefore, as for the ILS system case study, the analysts should ensure that have clearly identified the specific activities to be involved in the analysis process (Paul et al, 2015). For instance, the analysts and stakeholders should be able to identify all the books in the library, the topics, their numbers and the method in which they want them to appear among other things.
Plan stakeholder engagement- This area encourages the involvement of the stakeholders in the whole process. Through this, they will be able to give support to the process, air out their opinions, give their requirements to the analysts and the vice versa.
Plan business analysis governance- This area requires the business decision makers or leaders e.g. the management to be given the support they need by the process. There should be information sharing between the analysts, stakeholders and the decision makers.
Plan business analysis information system- Involves ensuring that every material and information used in the analysis process is well recorded and documented for future use.
Identify business analysis performance improvements- This involves ensuring that the analysis process is continuous and beneficial and that it has achieved its purpose.
Elicitation And Collaboration
Elicitation is drawing information from a party while collaboration is the act of two parties sharing information and communicating to achieve a certain objective. Therefore, elicitation and collaboration is whereby the business analysts try to derive information from the stakeholders so that they can provide the best analysis from the stakeholders’ requirements, anticipations, needs and expected results of the process (Guide to the business analysis body of knowledge. (2015). The key components of this area of business analysis are:
Prepare for elicitation- ensuring that the stakeholders have all the information that they needed by the business analysts or the analysis process itself. This means that they should be able to: identify their needs and business needs, identify their expected results and changes and to be ready to share the information openly.
Conduct elicitation- involves the process of deriving the information needed by the business analysts for the analysis process from the stakeholders or any other person involved in the process.
Confirm elicitation results- ensures that the stakeholders understand the terms and conditions attached to the elicitation process and all the information shared. Also, it involves ensuring that the information gotten goes hand in hand with any other information that is needed in the process.
Communicate business analysis information- involves sharing any information in the analysis process with the stakeholders and ensuring that it is clearly understood word by word.
Manage stakeholder collaboration- ensures that both the business analysts and the stakeholders work hand in hand with each other to enable success of the analysis process. This includes sharing of information, providing all the required materials, offering support when needed among other things.
Requirements Lifecycle Management
This knowledge area involves all the activities that the business analysts perform from beginning to the end of the process for them to be able to manage, communicate, and maintain the requirements of the analysis design. The activities may include accepting when need be, evaluating the possible and available changes of the design and the effects of those changes among other things. The main purpose of this area is to make sure that the stakeholders’ needs and requirements, solutions and analysis designs go hand in hand to be able to achieve the expected objectives (Guide to the business analysis body of knowledge. (2015). The following are the main components of this area;
Trace requirements- helps analyze and maintain the close relationship between process designs, requirements, and solutions. Through this, the business analysts can be certain about the analysis process success to its precision.
Maintain requirements- this activity help ensure that the requirements and the designs are the same and consistent throughout the analysis process. This enables them to be assured of the process’ success and achievement of the required objectives.
Prioritize requirements- this involves ensuring that the requirements are attended to in their order of their urgency, importance and value. Therefore, in that case, the most important, valuable and urgent requirements are given first priorities while the least valuable and urgent ones are attended to last.
Assess requirements changes- works on evaluating the changes that may arise during the analysis process. With this activity, the business analysts are able to decide whether the requirements are worth acting upon or not.
Approve requirements- ensures that the business analysts and the stakeholders work together all the time especially when it comes to coming up with the requirements and approving them (Paul et al, 2015). The approval stage is used to ensure that the requirements are reasonable, achievable and in line with the expected results.
This knowledge area helps the business analysts and stakeholders to identify the business needs, assesses those needs and coming up with strategic methods and techniques capable of inflicting the change expected. Therefore, according to Guide to the business analysis body of knowledge. (2015), the business needs to be pointed out, problems clarified and possible solution opportunities evaluated. The following are some of the main tasks involved in this area:
Analyze current state- involves the analysis of the current needs, problems and opportunities of the business and how they relate to the daily business operational processes. Generally, this means understanding the whole business in general.
Define future state- involves understanding the listed goals and objectives of the business simply because they are the core and main aim of the business existence and continuity. It ensures that they can be achieved even when the analysis process is over.
Assess risks- this ensures that the uncertainties surrounding the business itself as well as the changes that will arise after the analysis are identified and analyzed. By doing this, the analysts will be ensuring the continuity of the business goals and objectives as well as improving the business productivity.
Define change strategy- acts upon the differences between the current state of the business and the determined and possible future state of the business (Buxel et al, 2015). This task evaluates and analyses the gap between the two states, comes up with ways of achieving the future state faster, determines the best method to achieve it and evaluates some of the possible challenges that may be caused by the change of the business state.
Requirement Analysis and Design Definition
This knowledge area involves the activities that the business analysts conduct as they structure and organize the requirements listed by the stakeholders during the elicitation process. Also, they have to ensure that the requirements are valid, specific, model them and verify them for the last time as well as point out the possible suitable solutions to the business problems and needs listed (Guide to the business analysis body of knowledge. (2015). Therefore, this area simply analyzes and evaluates the business needs and requirements with the aim of giving the suitable solution in the end of the process. The following are the main tasks required in this area:
Specify and model requirements- concentrates on giving the requirements in specific requirements and molding them towards the achievement of the process and business objective.
Verify requirements- involves ensuring that the requirements are exactly what the stakeholders listed and that the details are in line as well. Also, ensures that every detail is given and ensures that none that misses.
Validate requirements- this activity ensures that the requirements listed are capable of increasing the business value as well as support and achieve the business goals and objectives.
Define requirements architecture- ensures that the requirements and their designs are in line with the business goals and objectives and that they are capable of achieving the expected result as well as causing the change anticipated. In general terms, this activity ensures that the requirements and design structure are effective and efficient in achieving the purpose of the analysis process.
Define solution options- evaluates and analyses the possible solutions that are suitable for achieving the need of the whole process.
Analyze potential value and recommend solution- involves the business analysts analyzing the business value and comparing it to the possible solutions listed. Therefore, the best solution (that which will increase the business value) is recommended and put into implementation.
This area focuses on the activities that evaluate the process and business performance of and the value of the recommended solution to the business productivity and result achievement. In addition to that, this area includes activities that help support and advice on the best solutions in case the one in action (current solution) is not in effect. According to Guide to the business analysis body of knowledge (2015), this area ensures that the proposed solution is capable of/ is already achieving the business needs, goals and objectives and ensure business continuity. The following are the most important components of this knowledge area:
Assess the performance of the proposed solution- this involves frequent analysis of the solution performance and especially in its relation to the goals and objectives of the business.
Analyze performance measures- this focuses on evaluating the measures that are used in determining the performance of the solution (Anari et al, 2012). Therefore, it involves checking on the value that the solution offers to the business.
Assess solution limitation- involves evaluating the external factors affecting the solution itself and especially those that hinder it from reaching its full potential towards the business success.
Assess enterprise limitation- analyzing the external factors of the solution that may hinder the business from receiving the full potential of the solution effects.
Recommend actions to increase solution value- helps in pointing out some of the possible methods or ways the business can use to increase its value in order for it to be able to receive maximum effect of the solution.
From this discussion, it is clear that business analysis is a very important process for a business if it wants to effect change, growth, and development. However, it is a process that should be done by a professional analyst so that the process can be useful to its success. Additionally, the above mentioned knowledge areas showed always be visited by both the stakeholders and the analysts to increase the chances of the process success. Therefore, it is important that the ILS system stakeholders and analysts to follow the process precisely and in details to be able to effect the new change that they need in the system.
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