Business Analysis has become the backbone of every organization. It is a professional skill set, a disciplined way of presenting and managing organizational changes. Since technology is changing at a greater pace, business analysis is also evolving. It now has an over-all time growth of 14%, which is almost 9% greater than any other domain. So, understanding business analysis is very important to succeed in your career. Thus, today’s topic is “Business Analysis Tutorial”.
Now, we hall start the business analysis tutorial article by knowing the birth of business analysis.
History of Business Analysis
During the initial days of IT evolution, in the early 90s, there was an extensive demand to incorporate the requirements of IT in businesses. Data storage was enhanced, user-friendly programs and new object-oriented programs such as Java were invented. The first graphical user interface came into being. All of these led to a boom in information technology.
Although the value of technology was apparent, it was still costly. But, Why?
- The organizations wanted to utilize information technology to get better results. But, they didn’t have excellent experience in planning tasks ahead
- The systems were developed considering the latest technology without reconsidering the necessity to create it, their relevant use, and the target audience
- Also, despite their expertise in their respective fields, the communication between business users and programmers was hard
As a result, customers were unsatisfied, and a large sum of money was being spent on software rewrites, updates, maintenance, and resolving software defects. Organizations then began to hire a group of technical experts who would translate requirements into lines of codes. They were known as system analysts.
- System analysts were familiar with the products to be developed. But, they lacked in business acumen that would make these systems more productive
- There was a great need for someone who would analyze the need for the system, its requirement and then provide an accurate definition of the IT requirements required to develop the system
Thus, Business Analysis was born, and the role of business analysts came into existence.
Since then, Business Analysis has become an integral part of every department in many organizations. It has emerged as a core business practice in the 21st century.
Knowing about the history of business analysis, let us continue the business analysis tutorial blog by focusing on what is business analysis?
What is Business Analysis?
According to the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), the term Business Analysis is defined as “the practice of enabling change in an enterprise by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to the stakeholders.”
I think the definition gave you an idea about business analysis. To make you clearly understand, I will be explaining a scenario.
Let us consider a person, Jay running a supermarket. Every year, he would make enough profit from his shop. But, as all know, the whole world was facing a huge disease called the corona. Due to this, the number of customers visiting the supermarket got reduced. And, ultimately, Jay had to face a considerable loss. As time elapsed, the food and other products got rotten, and finally, Jay had to close the shop.
As we know, after some days, the world began to re-work, and Jay also wanted to re-open his supermarket. But, he had no idea what step he should take to run the supermarket with no loss. Then, Jay visited a business organization and described his problem. The organization understood Jay’s issues and asked him to meet John.
When John understood the whole scenario, he came up with the following solutions:
- Re-start his supermarket by giving some offers. Like, if the customer buys two products, he would be given another for free
- Provide some discounts for those customers who buy for more than a certain amount
- Do home delivery for the products
- Provide coupons for those customers who bill more than a specific range. And, these coupons would help the customers in their next shopping by reducing specific amounts
After making all these suggestions into action, Jay saw that the number of customers visiting his shop increased and the profit increased gradually.
Jay was so happy and thanked John for helping him out. The story ended happily, but did you notice that you already went through the process of business analysis? In our story, John, whom the organization sent to help Jay is only the business analyst. The actions he performed to help Jay re-opening the supermarket is only “ business analysis”. So simple right?
Now, let us understand more about ”business analysis”.
Business analysis has evolved over the last twenty years. It gives practical solutions to many challenging problems. The business analysis process involves many strategic approaches that reach out to every corner of the project. It is a practice of enabling a shift in the enterprise by framing requirements and formulating solutions that deliver value to stakeholders.
The business analysis allows you to understand the structure and dynamics of the company. It points to the technique of understanding business needs and implementing suitable solutions for a particular business problem. These solutions often revolve near to systems development, process improvement, strategic planning, and policy advancement. In the long run, the business analysis seeks to provide the following outcomes:
- Generating effective solutions
- Providing the required documentation
- Assigning sufficient resources
- Achieving greater efficiency
Now that you have understood the term ” Business analysis”, we shall find out why it is important.
Why is Business Analysis Important?
Now that you have seen a business analysis scenario, I am sure you will agree with me when I say business analysis is vital to every organization.
Like, in our story, if John – the business analyst would not be there, Jay would face a huge loss. This is just one case where you could see business analysis is essential. But, in the current evolving trend, business analysis is way too important. The benefits and solutions it offers are enormous. Some of the reasons why organizations use business analysis are discussed now.
Business Analysis helps in analyzing business requirements that help in framing the proper planning. Also, business analysis has a particular pattern of documents that helps in creating adequate documentation. In addition to that, it Identifies and develops various actions that help in improving the company standards according to the present market.
Business analysis is also required in the implementation and testing of the project. It also involves the strategic impact of social, political, on any other business. It identifies various ways to reach the estimated goals. Moreover, business analysis is an area that combines with many other operational areas of an organization throughout the project life cycle. It plays an instrumental role throughout the project lifecycle and thereby increases the demand for business analysts in every organization.
Next, in our business analysis tutorial article, we shall discuss the top companies that use business analysis.
Top Companies Using Business Analysis
According to LinkedIn data, the top companies using business analysis are:
- Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)
- American Express
- Dell Technologies
As we know that business analysis is a process of acting as a bridge between internal departments by collecting, distributing, and managing company data. It helps organizations fulfill their goals by becoming IT business analysts, data analysis scientists, system analysts, business analysts managers, and computer science data analysts.
Now you know how vital business analysis is, we shall see how business analysis is different from other professions.
How is Business Analysis Different From Other Professions?
Business analysis work includes communicating among stakeholders, development teams, testing teams, and other departments. Many other job roles have similar job descriptions as that of a business analyst such as IT business analysts, technical business analysts, online business analysts, business systems analysts, or systems analysts. So, how is business analysis different from these job roles?
Business analysis is slightly different from financial research, project management, quality assurance, organizational development, testing, training, documentation, and several other actions. But, depending on the organizational goals, a business analyst will act as one of the roles mentioned above.
Difference Between a Business Analyst and a System Analyst
The business analyst profession requires an entirely different set of necessary skills involving eliciting, analyzing, communicating, testing, and verifying requirements, and identifying the path to solve business problems and improve processes. On the other hand, system analysts mainly focus on creating and implementing specific systems with a more technical approach.
Difference Between a Business Analyst and a Data Analyst
Business analyst’s responsibilities depend on the industry standards, and the main objective includes analyzing and deriving relevant solutions from data to meet business requirements. On the other side, data analysts help companies by analyzing data and using it to perform proper actions to present value to the business stakeholders. Data analysts also indulge themselves in providing competitive analysis or in identifying business or marketing trends.
Difference Between a Business Analytics and Business Analyst
In the business world, the terms business analytics and business analysis sound very similar. The primary difference between the two processes is that business analysis is more related to functions and operations. It depends on its architecture streams, such as process architecture and enterprise architecture, whereas business analytics is usually dependent on data and reporting. It involves skills, technologies, past performance investigation, and information search.
Now that you have a clear picture of how business analysis is different from other professions, let us see the various steps involved in the business analysis process.
How is Business Analysis Performed?
Business analysis is divided into multiple steps, with each phase having specific tasks to perform, principles to follow, and documents to produce. Let us now discuss each step included in business analysis implementation.
This is the initial step where you lay the groundwork for your project, including collecting some information about the project you are working on, clarifying the scope, requirements, and business objectives.
The key responsibilities in this step are:
Initially, the business analysts will identify the primary stakeholders to detail the project’s business objectives. These professionals will then understand the history of the proposed project and the current systems and business processes.
This particular step provides the information you require to be successful and effective in the project context.
The next step is to identify your primary business objectives. So, what does that mean?
To Discover Business Objectives
In this particular step, the objectives, and goals of the project are defined. It is always important to chalk out your business objectives before defining the scope of your project. Directly determining the scope will pose a lot of problems.
The key responsibilities in this step are:
Firstly, the analyst must find out the primary expectations of the stakeholders. Then, he or she must find out the reason behind the given project. Later on, these professionals must ensure that all the business objectives are clear and attainable. And, finally, they will try to solve the conflicting expectations so that everyone is on the same page.
Now that you have identified your primary business objectives, the next step is to define the scope of your project.
Defining the Scope
In this step, you need to define a clear, concise, and complete statement of scope. You need to evaluate and confirm the path you will take to attain the best results. This may include shortlisting the options, customizing the obtained path, combining the proper ways to get the things done.
The first step in this stage is developing multiple strategies to figure out the suitable technology and the business process changes that will help implement the solution. Next, these individuals must verify and confirm the business objectives to make sure that the organization is still investing in them, and, most importantly, drafting and reviewing the scope statement must be done. (One can involve stakeholders as well to get their opinions).
Now that the scope is ready, the next step is to devise a business analysis plan.
Business Analyst Plan
Planning is necessary to make any project successful. Business analysts and the project owner can devise a proper plan to deliver the appropriate requirements. During the future stages of the project, a business analysis plan will answer many questions for you and your project team. It will bring clarity to the business analysis process, and help you define the detailed requirements for a project.
The key responsibilities in this step are:
Firstly, analysts must identify the most appropriate types of business analysis deliverables, later, must set up deadlines for completing these defined deliverables.
Remember that expected results would not be possible if no planning is done. Once your plan is ready, you need to define the requirements in a detailed manner.
Define Detailed Requirements
After the planning process is done, the requirements are defined. Make sure that requirements are clear, concise, concrete, complete, and consistent. As a business analyst, you need to understand your project’s scope and conditions (in detail) to develop the best solution possible.
The key responsibilities in this step involve:
Gathering the required information. Then, analyzing the discovered requirements, and creating a first draft that contains one or more business analysis deliverables in detail should also be done. After this, one must take care that outlining, and validating each deliverable with appropriate technology is reviewed effectively.
Once you define all your requirements, it is time for you to implement those requirements. This is the next step.
The next step is to implement the planned solution. Implementing the solution is a crucial point. This step should proceed according to the way it was planned. Otherwise, the project may get delayed. As an analyst, you need to help the technical team in any way possible.
Firstly, one must analyze the solution design to ensure it can fulfill all of the stakeholders’ requirements. Then, documentation of the project is to be done so it will be useful for the technology design, and implementation process. In addition to that, analysts must answer every question and resolve the issues that may occur during the technical design, implementation, or testing phases. Along with that, he also must assist the team to accept the changes that might come up.
After all the steps are completed, including the implementation part, it is time to access them.
Access The Value Created by The Project
The last step is to check if the result obtained matches to what you had expected. In simple terms, accessing the value created by the implemented solution. While time and budget are two things that you can consider to evaluate the results.
In this particular stage, more evaluation is done. Firstly, BA must evaluate the progress against the business objectives. Then, he or she needs to propose a follow-up plan, only if needed. Then, he or she needs to access the user engagement using various tools and techniques and finally must deliver the results to the stakeholders.
Now that you got a clear picture of the business analysis process, we shall continue the business analysis tutorial blog by knowing different knowledge areas of business analysis.
Knowledge Areas of Business Analysis
The BABOK Knowledge Areas defines various categories of related information and tasks that a business analyst must know to apply in different situations. These knowledge areas do not necessarily represent different phases of a project. If you want to apply the knowledge areas to your work world, you will need to master six business analysis areas.
- Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring
- Enterprise Analysis
- Requirements Analysis
- Solution Assessment and Validation
- Requirements Management and Communication
Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring
In this section, a business analyst plans the approach to the business analysis. This approach includes a set of processes, templates, and activities that are used in performing business analysis. These planning and monitoring activities take place throughout the entire project life cycle. The results of this knowledge area will guide the tasks that are performed in the remaining five knowledge areas.
So, what is a business analyst to do? Well, the business analyst’s task list for this particular knowledge area would be:
First, the business analysts plan a business analysis approach for the given project. He or she then determines a method to engage stakeholders, including stakeholder identification, analysis, and categorization. Then, he or she addresses the business analysis information management needs. And, finally, plans the requirements of the development and management process.
Elicitation and Collaboration
Elicitation and collaboration determine how business analysts work with different stakeholders to elicit requirements and understand stakeholder needs and concerns. This knowledge area also addresses ongoing collaboration and communication during the various business analysis activities. The business analyst’s task list for this knowledge area is:
Firstly, analysts will prepare for elicitation activities. Then, he meets the stakeholders to conduct the elicitation activity. After that, they validate and record the elicitation results. And, finally, discuss the elicitation results with key stakeholders.
Enterprise Analysis and Requirements Analysis
The enterprise and requirements analysis get combined and describe how the business analyst progressively elaborates to define, refine, prioritize, and organize the various requirements. Here, a business analyst takes the elicited information and tries to derive the project’s real requirements. This knowledge area also focuses on graphically modeling the requirements. When performing these tasks, the business analyst should ensure the requirements’ feasibility while defining and refining an acceptable solution’s characteristics. The various business analyst’s task for this knowledge area are:
Business analysts will specify, and model the different requirements and designs. They then verify and validate the requirements and designs by defining the architecture and structure of requirements. And, finally, it analyzes the value and recommends an adequate solution.
Solution Assessment and Validation
This area mainly focuses on assessing and validating the proposed, in-progress, and implemented solutions before, during, and after the project life cycle. Many tasks in this knowledge area take place in the latter part of the project life cycle. Business analysts’ task in this area is defining solution performance measuring, and analyzing solution performance data. After that, they must assess solution limitations and enterprise limitations.
Requirements Management and Communication
This stage defines how the business analyst approaches managing and maintaining requirements. Business analysts also describe the tasks and techniques for managing changes, conflicts, and issues related to requirements. Business analysts perform requirement management tasks as part of requirements development work by managing requirements traceability and maintaining accuracy and reuse requirements. They also need to address requirements prioritization and determining how conditions should change.
Knowing about knowledge areas of business analysis, we shall see a case study on the same.
A Case Study on Business Analysis
You guys have already seen an example. Those scenarios were imagined, or what you call is scripted. But, what I am now telling you is the real business scenario.
All of the guys would have heard the name “STARBUCKS”. Well, it is one of the famous coffee shops, and everyone knows it. But, do you know that, in 2008, in the USA, Starbucks wanted to close almost 600 of its coffee shops. This shop was almost about to get closed, but some of the managers and other officials thought of implementing a better method that tries to seek the customer’s attention.
Soon after deciding that, these individuals started giving additional offers to customers visiting the coffee shop. To specifically mention, they gave free wi-fi facilities or some entertainment through music. Still, they faced lots of challenges. Business analysts suggested that they should have reduced prices instead of giving so many facilities and tried to regenerate the brand exclusivity. Also, many business experts suggested that it was essential for the company to stay private, grow in a relatively controlled manner, and establish special strategies to maintain its own status as a high-quality brand.
After taking the suggestions from business analysts, the coffee shop went well, and they started earning a good amount of profit too.
This case study proves that business analysis is way too important for any organization, maybe for its development or identity.
After seeing a case study on business analysis, we shall focus on its major techniques
Top 5 Business Analysis Techniques
You guys have a clear understanding of the term “business analysis”, but do you know what techniques are needed during business analysis to perform every action?
Here I will explain to you some business analysis techniques used by organizations worldwide that have made their life more comfortable.
1.MOST (Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics)
In this particular technique, Identifying the mission, objectives, strategies, and tactics is done. This will help business analysts analyze internal structures of what an organization aims to accomplish, and how to formulate the specific solutions.
2.PESTLE (Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal and Environmental)
PESTLE technique is one of the concepts in marketing principles. This technique is used as a tool by many companies for tracking the environment they operate to launch a new project or product or service, etc. The PESTLE model also evaluates external factors that would impact business and determine how to address these factors if found.
3.SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats)
SWOT is one of the popular business analysis techniques. In this particular technique, both strengths and weaknesses of the organization are considered. It involves structuring and categorizing processes into opportunities and threats. This helps to determine the proper allocation of resources.
4.MoSCoW (Must or Should, Could or Would)
This business analysis technique allows for prioritizing requirements by presenting a framework in which each condition can be evaluated relative to others. Is it a must-have? Something the project should have? Something that could be improved? Or something useful that would be added to the future?
5.CATWOE (Customers, Actors, Transformation Process, World View, Owner, and Environmental Constraints)
CATWOE Analysis is one of the best techniques that a business analyst uses to identify what the business is trying to achieve, what the problem areas are, and how stakeholder perspectives affect its people. This technique helps business analysts understand different stakeholders’ perspectives and the impact that their views will have on the direction of the project.
Apart from these techniques, many others such as Brainstorming, Mind Mapping, Business Process Modeling (BPM), Use Case Modeling, are used. A business analyst needs to familiarize themselves with most of these techniques.
After understanding business analysis techniques, let us now see who a business analyst is?
Who Is a Business Analyst?
As already told, in our story, John is the business analyst. The scenario was a general perspective. To make you understand about a business analyst, let me discuss a business scenario with you all.
Consider a website builder, by name, Tina. Now, some organization, namely, ABC asks Tina to create a website. They also had some extra specifications that are to be mentioned on the website. Now, the work of Tina is just to create the website, but she faced difficulties in understanding the various demands asked by the organization ABC. So, then, Tina went in search of a business analyst. There she met Kelvin.
Now, what Kelvin does?
He just asks the organization for their demands that are to be present on the website. He noted all the points. Later Kelvin made all those rough points into a structured format and noted all the tasks that are to be done by Tina.
Then, Kelvin went to Tina and discussed the various demands that the organization asked. After this, Tina understood her work and started to begin.
So, as already mentioned, Kelvin is only a business analyst. So, what does he do? He is not performing any activities either in the organization or as a website builder. He just acted as a link between the two different departments.
Thus, one can define a business analyst as that person who acts as a liaison between the IT company and the management team and finds ways to streamline the entire business process. He or she communicates with different departments in an organization and recommends solutions.
The main reason why business analysts are in demand is that their job cannot be automated. BAs have a detail-oriented mind and are always involved in analyzing. Their minds are continually thinking through questions about activities they observe. Hence all the work is done manually by themselves.
Now that you are aware of who a business analyst is, we shall directly focus on business analyst roles and responsibilities.
Business Analyst Role
A business analyst is a multi-tasker responsible for performing many tasks. The primary function includes generating ideas, developing them, and then implementing them to reach their goals.
A business analyst is required to communicate among stakeholders. Communication with the uppermost position or top management of the company is an essential role. On the other hand, he/she needs to interact with the company’s marketing department, finance & accounting department, salesforce, the production department, and the human resource department as a part of this job.
The job of a business analyst is dynamic. The position of a business analyst differs from company to company according to the organizational goals. Some of the tasks assigned for a business analyst are:
They are understanding the business norms by determining a suitable way to improve the existing business processes. Then, business analysts have to implement new features by analyzing whether the implementation benefits the company, and then they need to identify the ways to make the analysis easier.
Now that you have the role of a business analyst, we shall continue the business analysis tutorial by knowing some of the responsibilities of a business analyst.
Business Analyst Responsibilities
A business analyst’s role may vary, but some of a business analyst’s responsibilities will never change. Along the journey of a business analyst, the responsibilities increase gradually. They are mainly responsible for increasing business efficiency. Many companies hire these professionals to solve problems, set new objectives or goals, and reach the expected results. Many others also rely on business analysts to carry out their responsibilities and effectively use their skills for the best results.
The key responsibilities of a BA include:
Understanding Goals and Problems
Identifying the multifaceted organizational problems and opportunities for improvement in business operations and processes. Understanding the project is very crucial for business analysts.
Meeting the Organization’s Requirements
Eliciting relevant documents and requirements. Elicitation of requirements and using those requirements to get the IT team on board and understand what the client wants, that’s one of the most significant responsibilities for BAs. It is also extremely critical for any BA to effectively document the findings where each client’s requirement is efficiently mentioned, and nothing is left amiss.
The most required responsibility of a Business analyst is to analyze the information collected in a detailed manner. When a BA reviews the elements in detail, the analysis phase asserts what the business needs to do to achieve its goal. During this stage, the BA will also be required to interact with the development team and the technical architects, which brings us to the next responsibility – communicating with a broad range of people.
The next responsibility is to interact with the business stakeholders and subject matter experts to understand their problems and needs. As a business analyst, it is essential to create and deliver quality presentations. A good business analyst also needs to dedicate countless hours, actively communicating back and forth. They need to listen and recognize verbal and non-verbal data.
The next responsibility is to devise strategies to design new systems or modify existing business systems or processes. The business analyst’s most important job is to spend time identifying multiple options for solving challenges and then helping pick the best one. A business analyst makes specific IT recommendations and supports the IT team in the implementation phase in any way they can.
To make you understand the responsibilities of a business analyst, I shall discuss a story with you.
Consider a small business travel agency which Kunal heads. So, what is done in the travel agency? Like any other travel agency, they also help the customers to reach their destination by giving them the particular vehicle, and accommodation facilities.
Then, a customer, namely Anand, visits the travel shop. He then meets Kunal. Anand says that he needs to go on an international trip. So, he requests Kunal to suggest the right place to visit. Then, Kunal asks Anand various questions, like,
- How long do you want to travel?
- When do you want to go on the trip?
- How many members are traveling along with you?
- So, what are the ages of different members traveling?
- Do you have any suggestions regarding choosing the place?
- Do you have any specifications in choosing the hotel?
When Anand answered all the questions, Kunal noted each of them. Then he started checking for a better place that could become Anand’s family’s holiday spot.
Soon after that, he gave a list of around 5 countries to Anand and asked him to choose whichever he liked. After this, Anand selected one of his favorite countries and asked Kunal to book for that particular country. After all these conversations, Kunal books the ticket for Anand and his family along with the accommodation. Then, Anand went on an international trip with his family and enjoyed it a lot.
So, let us now come to our business analysis tutorial training. We were discussing the responsibilities of a business analyst right? But, all of a sudden why did I speak about travel agencies? This is because I wanted you to understand the responsibilities by giving you this example. So, what are those responsibilities that we saw?
The first one in our list of responsibilities, I had mentioned understanding the problems. So, in the business story also, when Anand visits the travel shop, Kunal tries to understand Anand’s problem. Then, Kunal asks Anand many questions regarding his travel, so this becomes our next responsibility, that is, meeting the requirements.
Next, once Anand answers all the questions, Kunal understands his needs and lists the places that suit Anand’s family. What does this mean? This means that Kunal tried to analyze the situation, and gave a solution. This becomes the next responsibility, that is, analysis. Then, Anand, and Kunal began to speak so that the plan went adequately. This is the next responsibility, that is communication.
And at last, Anand chooses a country and asks to book a ticket, then Kunal does all those asked by Anand. Here, what is Kunal doing? He is implementing the task which was asked for. This implementation was the last responsibility in our mentioned list. Now that you are aware of business analysts. Let us now look into the various skills of business analysts. Next in the business analysis tutorial article, we shall discuss the skills of a business analyst.
Skills of a Business Analyst
To become perfect in business analysis, it is required that those professionals must possess some relevant skills. If they have these skills, they will be able to perform the tasks in an efficient way. So, now, let us talk about these business analysis skills.
In general, there are many skills required. This may be very confusing. So, to make you guys understand better, I have categorized the skills into various parts. These include hard, soft, and technical skills. These skills help them to improve their productivity, efficiency, and profitability.
Apart from this, there are methodology skills that help the process of business analysis run smoothly. Now, let us discuss each skill in broader aspects.
Let us now start the discussion with hard skills.
So, hard skills are job-specific skills that mainly focus on practical knowledge of the subject. These skills must be present in every business analyst to improve the company’s standards and proficiency. Let us now check the various hard skills required for any business analysis professional.
Understanding the Industry
Every Business analysis professional must understand the trends in the industry and analyze their position in the present market. They also need to have a clear picture of what techniques, tools, methodologies, and skills others are using and implement more innovative ways to make their company’s standards high.
Collaborating With the Stakeholders
The key responsibility of all the business analysis individuals is to communicate with each of the stakeholders. He or she is also required to convince his decisions to get the new implementation done right. To make all these happen, they must be in line with stakeholders and always update them with each change that is found. By doing all these, the demands of the stakeholders can be fulfilled.
Understanding Project Management
During the process of business analysis, or while performing various tasks, Business analysts get themselves involved in the projects. Their tasks in the stream of project management are many.
Business analysis helps in gathering all the data required for performing the project management activities. This process also helps them to Identify the missing parts that would be caused in various project implementations. In addition to that, the analysis makes them document all the business requirements. Finally, make every individual actively participate in each part of the implementation that in turn converts the action to deliver the plan.
Business analysis emerged for a reason to deliver adequate solutions. A business analyst’s key duty is to check for the problems faced by most of the departments. After gathering the issues, a business analyst must formulate appropriate solutions so that proper implementation of the solution can be done.
Business analysts have to possess some organizational skills for the smooth running of their company. Some of them would be:
- Multitasking ability
- Diplomatic leader
- Assertive in nature
- Time management, and
- Analytical thinking
Soft skills are those which are essential for the successful functioning of an organization. Every business analyst must have soft skills to survive in this competitive world. These skills are not specific to any job, but one must necessarily have these skills. These soft skills make any business analyst choose the correct decision and the right path that enhances the organization’s proficiency.
Some of the business analysis soft skills would be:
Creative thinking ability is one soft skill required in business analysis to input great ideas and plans. This skill makes any business analyst choose a better approach to many problems. They also gain the capability to create new ideas and transformations that are suitable to the situation. Creative thinking skills also include inspiring and productively considering new plans, generating innovative ideas for themselves and others, updating existing concepts and ideas.
Good Communication in Verbal and Written Form
Most of the time, business analysts have to interact with many clients, users, stakeholders, management, and developers. Hence, communication is the key element for them.
As a business analyst, you are expected to arrange meetings, listen to each query, ask the right questions, gather new data, and build relationships with colleagues. To collectively make all these happen, effective communication is the only method.
Problem-solving is one of the fundamental business analyst skills. In-depth decision-making ability, problem-solving techniques, leadership qualities, etc., are all quoted as problem-solving skills. Business analyst’s primary work is to build a clear understanding of problems, outline aspects of the problem, and determine potential solutions.
Business analysts are always required to negotiate or facilitate negotiations at every turn. At the very infancy of a project, negotiation skills are used in determining what should be included in the vision of the project, in the project charter. Hence, negotiation is one of the most underappreciated soft skills in the business world.
Business analysts must have technical competency in their work area to understand the present evolving technologies. Technical aspects include programming and testing the product, using cases for functional requirements, knowing about SQL, wireframes for visual needs, and many more. Let us now see all these skills.
Data Review and Analysis
Data review and analysis are technical skills used by an analyst to help organizations make more effective business decisions by gathering and analyzing data for the business and evaluating them. Business analysts will use data to outline problems, figure out appropriate solutions for businesses, and document them back to their stakeholders.
S.Q.L. allows a business analyst to clearly understand and interpret documents that contain results from many databases; It also enables you to perform a more comprehensive analysis of the data stored in relational databases.
As a business analyst, you will be required to work on ER diagrams that consist of the information’s entities and relationships where you need to prepare all your maps; documents, reports, etc. Knowing.SQL basics will help you in dealing with all the aspects mentioned above.
Software testing is a method that validates a developed software system to meet the desired business needs. Any defects identified during testing will be analyzed, verified, and retested by a business analyst to ensure that these are working as required.
A business analyst is also involved in testing because he knows the overall system requirements and difficulties. Hence, any issues will be corrected and resolved quickly by business analysts. Some of the streams of testing where a business analyst works, but are not limited to, are:
- User acceptance testing
- System resting
- Security testing
- Integration testing
- Unit testing
- Regression testing
Use Case Diagram
A use case diagram provides any business analyst a high-level description of what your system must do and who all can interact with it. Use case studies are those communication tools that are used to allow end-users to express their necessity. The stakeholders can also identify how the user interacts with the system and can make the required steps to improve the system using use cases.
Documenting is one of the best technical skills required for a business analyst. It mainly concentrates on writing reports, planning the implementation, documenting, analyzing the details, etc.
But, why write reports? The answer ii here;
The key reasons for writing reports are:
Documents and reports help understand the instances effectively as it also includes parameters such as the target readers and the message you are trying to reach. Along with that, it helps to have a copy for future references.
As already mentioned, another skill the business analyst must be knowing is specific methodology skills. These are the additional add-ons that can make you successful in your workplace. Some of them are:
- Agile business analysis
- Business analysis tools
- Six Sigma
- Modeling skills
- Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN)
Now that we have discussed a business analyst’s essential skills. Let us now check the business analysis tools and know more about them.
Tools are equipment that makes any work easy. As technology is raising its ability to reach out at every place, combining it with different tools makes a massive change to business analysts. There are many business analysis tools available that help them complete their work with ease and efficiency.
Business Analysis Tools
The business analysis tools can be classified based on their functionalities:
Business Needs Assessment Tools
One of the key steps in business analysis is identifying, understanding, and analyzing business needs or requirements. Different tools are using which you can assess and analyze business needs. These tools are known as business needs assessment tools. Tools such as Microsoft Word, Excel, etc. help BAs track, report, and manage documents.
Business analysts are required to convert the actions into diagrammatic representation for ease of understanding. They have to translate user requirements into models for designing effective solutions. There are a lot of tools that can assist business analysts in these tasks. Analysis tools like Google docs, Microsoft Visio, and Pencil can effectively create user stories. These tools help build various Entity-Relationship (ER) diagrams, create feature models, and efficient prototyping.
A business analyst’s primary role is to act as a moderator between the stakeholders and IT people. Every business analyst needs tools to ensure effective collaboration for meeting business and project goals. Thus, a small change in one department will be implemented effectively in all other domain blocks. For functioning these aspects, collaboration tools are used. Trello, Jira, Confluence are some of the collaboration tools used during business analysis.
Now that you have understood various business analysis tools, we shall dive into the top 10 business analysis tools.
Top Business Analysis Tools
Microsoft Office Tools
Business analysts widely use the below tool-list of Microsoft suits:
This particular software helps them prepare and deliver formal presentations. Every business analyst must be doing presentations. He also needs to communicate ideas, justify or provide project updates to stakeholders. With PowerPoint presentations, communication becomes easier.
Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet-like tool. Excel has several built-in mathematical and financial functions that can perform data analysis. The work like reporting, creating dashboards, and creating tables can easily be performed using this tool.
This particular software helps business analysts to create documents by making templates. Microsoft Word has so many templates and features that you can use for different purposes. It also offers various visual elements such as user-preferred fonts, themes, objects, shapes, smart arts, charts, and Visio diagrams.
Microsoft Visio is a leading tool for business modeling. It is the tool that business analysts use to capture and present stakeholder’s ideas effectively. It can also create case diagrams, project schedules, and project flowcharts to generate architecture diagrams and data models.
Rational Requisite Pro
The Rational Requisite Pro is a must-have tool for every business analyst. It is one of the best tools for requirements management and working on requirement gathering and elicitation. It has a robust architecture that can easily manage documents that are dynamically linked to a project database.
Business analysts can use rational Requisite for conducting impact analysis, managing an audit trail of changes. It can also be used for querying and sorting data using a dynamic database that also helps in tracing the requirements.
A pencil is free to use and an open-source tool. It is used for prototyping and creating easy mockups. It acts as a standalone tool that can be downloaded and used with a simple interface.
A pencil is used for creating a prototype for the user that helps the customers understand the final product’s look and feel. It also helps in implementing all the changes asked by the customers based on their needs to deliver the best outcome that models the decisions using a standardized approach.
I am sure you might have heard of google docs. Google docs offer several features that make using them very comfortable and easy. Some of the features that made business analysts use it are:
Google doc is a handy tool for sharing documents online that allows to create, view, and edit files online. Also; one can download files in different formats such as .pdf, .txt, .docx, and many others.
Balsamiq is a leading cloud-based tool for designing wireframes that provide content and user interaction. This tool is an excellent tool for business analysts working on new product design, brainstorming, mind mapping, and sketching new business ideas that provides immediate feedback from stakeholders. This collaboration tool helps BAs communicate their vision for the product to the relevant stakeholders.
Some of its cool features that help analysts to work faster and smarter include:
The facility can host the projects online with a top-notch and easy-to-use user interface. It also has pre-installed libraries that allow building wireframes.
Trello is one of the useful project collaboration tools. It uses a Kanban-style approach for managing and prioritizing tasks. With this tool, a business analyst can easily track his tasks, project plans, and the progress of key activities to be completed. Along with that, it helps to analyze the business data.
Some of its cool features include:
Trello can view team activity and also has an option of exporting data in a much easier way. With this tool, one can associate, organize boards with collections, and assign admins for privacy settings management.
Version One Lifecycle
This is one of the excellent business analysis tools. It is a cloud-based agile application lifecycle management (ALM) solution that connects the unique feature of combining the capability with enterprise applications and open-source software development tools. It helps in engaging with stakeholders to track and report various software programs and projects.
Some of its features are:
Version one cycle is aligned with agile software development that immediately updates the attributes. It has an agile data mart design that automates decision-making during the software lifecycle.
To make project management work more comfortable, business analysts use Smart-Draw. It is a diagram tool that helps you prepare flowcharts, organization charts, brainstorms, project charts, and other business visuals.
Some of its features include:
Smart-Draw is easy integration with Microsoft tools and others that can install a firewall for security purposes. Along with that, it also offers different features for the automation of tasks.
The Wrike project management software is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product that BAs use as a real-time work management tool. This particular software makes it easier to manage and track projects, deadlines, and other workflow processes. It stores information centrally and decreases the overall project analysis cost.
Some of its features are:
Wrike provides core building blocks that have a visual timeline for viewing the project schedule. It also supports different automation features like live editing and file management.
Knowing all these concepts, let us continue the business analysis tutorial by seeing the career path in business analysis so that one can start their profession in this stream.
A Career in Business Analysis
The last decade saw an explosion in demand for business analysts. According to LinkedIn, business analysis is one of the most needed skills of the year 2020. The career aspects for business analysts are growing by leaps and bounds.
Presently, business analysis jobs are in high demand. People having technical skills in this field will have a great future. According to PayScale, an entry-level business analyst with less than one year of experience gets an average salary of $59,000. A business analyst with 1 to 4 years of experience earns an average salary of$65,000. A mid-career business analyst having 5 to 9 years of experience makes an average of $76,000. An experienced business analyst with 10 to 19 years of experience earns an average of $85,000. And business analysts with more than 20 years of experience earn up to $90,000.
Now let us look into business analyst’s salaries in various countries. So, this is the graph where I have mentioned the analyst’s salary. You can see that France pays business analysts about $52,000. The United Kingdom gives about $69,000 for a business analyst. Talking about Canada, this country approximately pays around $52,000. Next, the United States pays the highest compared to others mentioned in the graph. It roughly pays around$79,000. Business Analyst’ salary in Australia is found to be around $63,000. In India, these professionals are paid around $10,000. And, business analysts’ earnings in Ireland can be seen to have about $49,000.
Next, we have business analysts’ salaries based on similar job roles. You have already seen some of them in the starting section of the article. Now, let us look into their salaries. First, we have a financial analyst who is paid around $74,000. Then, we have a research analyst whose approximate salary is found to be $56,000. An average salary of about $63,000 is obtained for a process analyst. Coming to the point of a data analyst, he earns up to $60,000. As a system analyst, you can earn up to $66,000, and as an agile system analyst, you can get a salary approximately of $78,000.Then, technical analysts get average pay of $84,000.
Now, let us discuss the career path of a business analyst.
Think that, you have already become a business analyst. So, what’s next? What are all the options you have for furthering your career?
So, after becoming a business analyst, you can become a senior business analyst, either as a general analyst, or a senior software business analyst. Both of these professionals earn around $85,000. As a senior business analyst, you have more authority, and responsibility compared to a normal business analyst.
So, another option you have is to become a System Business Analyst. On average, these professionals earn around $70,000.
So, after becoming a senior analyst, you have three more options to choose from. Those are as a senior business analyst in computer stream, a project manager, or a product owner.
The Senior Business Analysts are responsible for reviewing assigned business processes from end-to-end to identify and address operational, financial, and technological risks. Identify opportunities to improve efficiency. These individuals are also highly paid.
So, coming to a project manager, A Project Manager is a professional in the field of project management. They are responsible for the planning, procurement, and execution of a project, in any undertaking that has a defined scope, defined start, and a defined finish; regardless of industry.
So, the next one is a Product Owner. Product Owner is that person who is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Scrum Team. Typically, a product owner earns around $86000.
So, Skilled business analysts are a vital part of a business structure because they are responsible for multitasking doing many jobs like reporting, documenting, creating solutions, tracking the stakeholder’s needs at the same time. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey, the business analyst role is likely to grow 19% by 2024. This will be the reason to consider a career in business analysis.
You now know how big is the business analysis career, but do you know how to reach till there? Don’t worry; I will tell you the certifications you must possess to advance your career.
Business Analysis Certifications
One convenient way to gain fluency in key business analysis techniques is through the Business Analysis certificate. Now is a prudent time for those willing to switch to the business analysis profession, and Invensis Learning can help you get started.
Business Analysis certification from EXIN is a globally recognized credential in the field of Business Analysis. Invensis Learning provides online training on Business Analysis certification as a registered education partner with EXIN. There are two certification levels – Business Analysis Foundation & Business Analysis Practitioner Certification Training.
So, how to get a business analysis career?
First of all, there are no prerequisites to attend the exam. So, don’t worry about the eligibility criteria. Then, register for our online training class, and upskill yourself with all sorts of business knowledge. As already mentioned, to do this, visit Invensis learning. After that, try taking mock exams regularly and complete the exam within the given time limits. By taking up more mock exams, you will be able to understand the actual exam format. So that you will be good to go when you sit into your exam. Further, when you feel that you are ready, go through the exam, and earn your business analysis certificate. After gaining a certificate from a reputed company, it will be easy to start with your career like us.
This Business Analysis Tutorial blog showed that business analysis integrates knowledge of business elements and an understanding of IT systems that are useful in determining how they can benefit each other. In turn, this togetherness gives businesses a competitive edge and enables progression to take place faster. Across the globe, the prospects and the scope of the business analyst are ever-expanding.