Try to jot down key points when reading through a concept. Using your learned concepts, your prior knowledge and related work experience, write down what you have found as missing or doubtful in the topic discussions, e.g. which idea discussed in a specific topic reading was not OK or is currently weak that needs improvement in your opinion. You also write why, what and how you see it need to improve, when going through each reading.
- The core competences (according to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK)) that a business analyst should have;
- The critical skills that organisations need a business analyst to possess in order to successfully design and develop a new technology or for technological redevelopment;
- The models that can be used for strategy formulation analysing the external and internal environment; and
- Relationship between organisational strategy and knowledge audit plan.
- Leadership and Team building skills required by a Business Analyst
- Key processes involved in understanding the business context
- Briefly describe the suitability and appropriateness of four of the investigationtechniques in requirement elicitation
Roles and Responsibilities of a Business Analyst
Business analysis is the set of assignments or tasks and methods utilized to work as collaboration amongst the shareholders in order to perceive the intended meaning of the policies, structure and operations of a particular organization, and to suggest or propose definite solutions, which authorize the organization to attain its objectives and goals. Business analysis is nothing but the practice of authorizing and enabling alteration or change in the context of an organization, by defining the necessity and needs (Eva et al. 2014). It furthers suggests and recommends perfect and specific solutions, which convey value to the stakeholders. Solutions, recommended by business analysis often include a certain software systems development component. It also consists of improvement of process, strategic planning, policy development and organizational change.
- Outsourcing: This is the main need for any organization. When expert is not present within an organisation, there is a necessity of outsourcing. Another important reason for outsourcing is that the IT systems are developed and designed by an external supplier. The next reason for bringing business analysis in organization is that it is not costly and it is cost effective.
- Downside of Outsourcing: The next reason for implementing business analysis in an organization is the downside of outsourcing. The supplier management and requirements are not always communicated in an effective manner.
- IT Advancement: IT is developing day by day. Advancement of IT systems is required for all organization. Business analysis helps to develop the existing IT systems in a cost effective way. Development of IT system is mandatory for change in business.
The person or individual, who carries out the task of business analysis, is known as a Business Analyst or BA. A business analyst has certain roles and responsibilities. The roles and responsibilities of a business analyst are as follows:
- The core responsibility of a business analyst is to analyse and investigate business systems. This responsibility involves the documentation of requirements of business in appropriate standards, evaluates, and suggests specific actions to improve the operations in business (Jenkins and Williamson 2015). This particular responsibility also defines the requirements of the business in details and leads effective implementation and utilization of information system.
- Another important responsibility of a business analyst is the scrutiny of job processes, organisational structures, current IT processes and suggesting improvements to support the new systems
The third major role of a senior business analyst is to define the most effective business system to implement business strategy and produce business case with the assistance of finance specialists. This responsibility even includes the conduct of post implementation review and suggestion of actions to attain business benefits. A business analyst also prepares specification of requirements using the use case modelling or data modelling.
The main competencies of a business analyst are subdivided into three major segments. They are as follows:
- Behavioural skills and personal qualities
- Business knowledge
These three competencies can be further sub divided into several secondary competencies. They are as follows:
1.2 Relationship building
1.4 Team working
1.5 Political awareness
1.6 Analytical skills and critical thinking
1.7 Attention to detail
1.8 Problem solving
1.10 Self- belief
2.1 Finance and the economy
2.2 Business case development
2.3 Domain knowledge
2.4 Subject matter expertise
2.5 Principles of IT
2.6 Organization structures and design
2.7 Supplier management
3.1 Project management
3.2 Strategy analysis
3.3 Stakeholder analysis and management
3.4 Investigation techniques
3.5 Requirements engineering
3.6 Business system modeling
3.7 Business process modeling
3.8 Data modeling
3.9 Managing business change
3.10 Facilitation techniques
The above-mentioned competencies are used by a business analyst and then are used in the business analysis process. The segments of behavioral skills and personal qualities, that is, communication, relationship building, team working- these are used as the improvement of personal qualities and behavioral skills (Healy and Palepu 2012). These are extremely important for any business analysis process. The second competency is the business knowledge; under which there are seven secondary competencies. These are needed for the knowledge in business and business development. The third segment of competency is the techniques that are used in the business analysis process. These techniques help to create the business analysis process.
Example: A business analyst, when working for a certain organization, will face many types of clients in his everyday work. The competencies will help him to do business easily. Communication, relationship building, team working will improve his personal qualities and behavioral skills. He should have perfect knowledge about the business, which means his domain knowledge should be perfect and he should know all the tools and techniques to create a business analysis process.
Competencies Required by Business Analysts
According to me, the competencies of business analysis are extremely important for any business analyst. These competencies help to improve the business analyst in his work. The competencies help to develop and improve the communication skills, team working skills, relationship management, and domain knowledge. They also help to understand the tools and techniques to run a business analysis process.
These competencies are sometimes difficult to develop. However, with proper training and expert guidance, any business analyst can easily achieve them.
Strategy is the scope and direction of a particular organisation over the long term that attains benefit in an altering environment through arrangement of competences and resources with the focus of fulfilling expectations of the stakeholders.
Strategy analysis is important for any organization. Different business units have different strategies (Grant 2016). There are different levels of strategy in a particular organisation. They are as follows:
- Corporate: This level of strategy is involved with the overall motive of the organisation and forms the starting point for all other strategies.
- Business Unit: Each unit will have a recognizable market from the other business units. Each unit’s strategy is created to gain competitive benefit for the unit
- Operational: Operational level aims on distributing the strategies through utilization of the processes, staff and resources.
There are four approaches of developing a strategy.
- i) Design lens: Deliberate positioning of a particular organisation following a detailed analysis of enterprise.
- ii) Experience lens: Organisational culture and experience changes the strategy over time, continually transforming, each increasing change building on the last one.
These strategies are implemented in the business analysis process (Baldwin, Cave and Lodge 2012). The business analyst plays an important role in strategic planning. The responsibilities of a business analyst are as follows:
- Informing the decision makers about project investments.
- Involved in strategic activities.
- Manages project business requirements
- Validates that the solution encounters business requirements
According to me, the strategies are extremely important for any organization. Strategies help the business analyst to analysis the business and thus helping to attain the organization’s goals (Lofgren, Cicowiez and Diaz-Bonilla 2013). I think it is difficult for any business analyst to understand strategy analysis but with proper training it can be achieved.
The two famous strategy analysis models are SWOT and PESTLE.
SWOT: SWOT analysis is the four attributes of strategy planning (van Wijngaarden, Scholten and van Wijk 2012). The four attributes are:
Strengths: Organisational strengths such as market share
Weaknesses: Organisational weakness such as financial position.
Opportunities: Recognizing the opportunities of the organization.
Threats: Recognizing the threats of the organization (Kajanus et al. 2012).
PESTLE : PESTLE is another model for strategy planning (Gillam and Siriwardena 2013). The six attributes of PESTEL are:
Political: The stability of government and political situation.
Economic: The impact of interest rates, inflation.
Social: The impact of social life style and change in life style.
Technological: The impact of modern technology.
Legal: The employment laws, health and safety rules.
Environmental: Animal welfare, global warming and climate change.
The two strategy analysis models help to analyze strategies for any organization. Business analysts for attaining organization’s goals implement these. These are utilized for two main reasons. They are:
- i) Identify the factors that will help the organization .
- ii) Develop an understanding how they are evolved in future.
According to me, the easiest strategy analysis model that can be implemented in the SWOT analysis. It is very easy to implement. The business analyst will just have to identify the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats of the organization. PESTLE is slightly complex to be understood.
An organizational strategy is the summation of the overall actions that an organization plans to apply to attain its long-term objectives (Kinicki and Kreitner 2012). These actions together combine to become a strategic plan. It takes at least one year to complete a strategic plan, and all company levels are required to involve in it.
The knowledge audit is the assessment of a company’s knowledge capabilities. This audit recognizes the gap between the available knowledge and what is needed for the organization’s strategies (Armstrong 2013).
Levels of Strategy in an Organization
Organizational strategies and knowledge audit plans are implemented using the strategy analysis models like SWOT and PESTLE. These are implemented only after knowing the strengths, weakness, opportunities, threats, political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental analysis (Peppard and Ward 2016). Without these analysis, organizational decisions and strategies cannot be taken by any business analyst.
According to me, implementation of organizational strategies and knowledge audit plans are as important as the organization. I think these should be implemented in all organizations to achieve the objectives of the organization. These are not at all difficult to implement.
Leadership is the process of influencing, motivating or persuading other group members to pursue a common goal of the group and to set aside their individual concerns. Leadership is the ability to obtain extraordinary performance from all the group members (Cameron 2012). It combines goals of a particular organisation with the desire of its employees through a committed action and shared vision.
Team building strategies are those strategies that are implemented by different organizations for team building.
The leadership team consists of four members. They are:
- The project manager is responsible for ensuring that the business solution is delivered on budget, with full scope and on time.
- The business analyst makes sure that the project team completely understands the business necessities and the benefits that are expected from the new solution.
- The Architect makes sure that the solution is developed and designed according to specifications.
- Business visionary keeps the team aimed on the big picture, the strategic goal that will be advanced by the new solution. He brings in the correct business experts when required and helps to prepare the organisation for operation in a new way once the new business solution is applied.
The most important team building strategy is the Tuckerman’s Model (Keavney 2016). There are five stages in Tuckerman’s Model.
- Forming: This is the first stage of team building strategies. The team is formed in this stage.
- Storming: This is the second stage. Team members find discrepancy in their ideas.
Norming: This is the third stage. Team members finally settle in for a decision.
- Performing: This is the fourth stage of this model. Team members are now excited and start performing.
- Adjourning: This is the final stage of the model. The task of disbanding of the team members in conducted.
According to me, the Tuckerman’s model is the most important model for team building strategies (Dyer and Dyer 2013). The five stages clearly define the different stages of building of a perfect team in an organization. I think it is very easy to implement and beneficial for the organization.
A business context is the context in which a special lexicon is employed. A business context can be a larger business community, an individual organization, or a particular project and initiative (Brock et al. 2013).
A specific business context has five major stages. They are:
- Investigate situation: The first stage is to investigate the situation for what business model is implemented (Onetti et al. 2012).
- Consider perspectives: The second stage is to consider the perspectives or the prospects for the business context.
- Analyze needs: The third stage is the analysis of needs and necessity. If the needs are identified and analyzed, it is useless to implement business model (Boons and Lüdeke-Freund 2013).
- Evaluate options: The fourth stage is the evaluation of options. When a plenty of options is available, the best should be chosen.
- Define requirements: This is the final stage of business context. The requirements are defined in this stage.
According to me, the implementation of business models is important for any organization. The five stages of business context helps to understand the needs, requirements, options, and the perspectives of the business model. All these are possible only when the situation is understood. I think business context is easy to implement.
Investigation requirement elicitation techniques are such techniques that are required to understand the depth and breadth of issues in an organization. These techniques focus to detect the underlying causes and develop the specific requirements for the solution.
There are two types of investigation techniques. They are as follows:
- Qualitative Techniques
- Quantitative Techniques.
- Qualitative Techniques: This section can be sub divided into two important techniques. They are as follows:
- One to One Sessions or Interview with stakeholders: The objectives of interviews are the starting of contact with the important stakeholders, building affinity with business users and managers, eliciting information regarding business situation problems and issues and discovering different stakeholder priorities and perspectives (Boateng 2012). The focus on the view of the individual employee regarding the urgent functions that are needed to be in the new system, problems with the current operations and additional aspects required for the new business system
- Collaborative Sessions or Workshops and focus groups: The objective of this session is to gain a large view of the area, which is under investigation, increase productivity and speed, obtain acceptance and buy-in for the business initiative or project, and obtain a consensus view or group agreement. The dangers of this session is the need to represent the appropriate authority and may be dominated by forceful personalities and can be scheduled to suit all people need to be present.
- Quantitative Techniques: This section is again further sub divided into two major important techniques. They are as follows:
- Questionnaires: In this technique, a questionnaire is prepared for investigation and all the employees are answer to that questionnaire (Patten 2016).
- Special-Purpose Records: The objective of this investigation technique is to target the individuals to keep records on various things like the time allocated to different tasks and assignments and utilisation and use of particular transactions.
According to me, the qualitative and the quantitative investigation techniques are important for elicitation in any organization. These are easy to implement and beneficial for the organization.
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