Business analysis

Business analysis is a growing profession with wide-ranging career opportunities available for business analysts holding a professional business analysis certification.

Knowledge Train | Business analysis
Business analysis techniques

Business analysis techniques

Typical business analysis training courses teach students the most essential techniques required by business analysts.

You can gain a basic understanding of some of these techniques by clicking the button to see a list of resources which cover some of these techniques.

More about business analysis

What is meant by business analysis?

Business analysis is a disciplined approach for introducing and managing change to organisations. Business analysis helps identify business problems and articulates the solutions for changing how organisations work.

What tasks are typically done during business analysis?

There are 3 main areas of work during business analysis:

  1. Investigation of existing business systems, whether IT systems, business processes or organisation structures and staffing issues.
  2. Evaluation of options to improve the existing business processes and/or systems to bring about desired changes.
  3. Documentation of business requirements for resulting projects which will enable the desired changes to be carried out.
  4. Communication with stakeholders to understand their needs, business problems and any business process under consideration for change.
  5. Use of tools to model business needs, the current state and future state of business processes.
  6. Research and evaluation of technology and software solutions.
  7. Document goals and business objectives of any proposed business solution.
  8. Support software development teams to understand requirements during software and during system implementation.
  9. Requirements engineering – documenting, requirements analysis, prioritising and managing changes to detailed requirements.
  10. Take a leading role in the business analysis process and develop and maintain a business analysis plan.

What are the most important skills needed for business analysis?

To be effective in a business analysis role, some of the most important skills and experience are:

  • Oral and written communication skills.
  • Interpersonal and consultative skills.
  • Facilitation skills.
  • Analytical skills.
  • Data analytics skills.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Visualization skills.
  • Being detail-oriented.
  • Capable of delivering a high level of accuracy.

What’s the difference between business analysis and business analytics?

Business analytics refers to the investigation of previous business performance to gain insights into how to improve performance. Usually, this investigation takes the form of data and statistical analysis and is a fact-based input into business planning. Business analytics answers questions such as why a statistical performance trend is happening, what happens if the trend continues, what will happen next, and what is the best outcome to be expected if improvements are made.

What will I learn on a business analysis course?

It depends upon which business analysis course you attend, but most likely you will learn some of the core business analysis techniques such as PESTLE analysis, SWOT analysis, MOST, POPIT, McKinsey 7S, de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats, CATWOE, fishbone diagrams, brainstorming, and many others.

What business analysis certifications are useful?

It depends upon which country you are based in, and which country you will apply for jobs in. In the UK the most popular qualifications are from the BCS (British Computer Society, otherwise known as the Chartered Institute for IT). They include the fundamental course BCS Foundation Certificate, more than one Practitioner certificate, and an advanced business analysis qualification is the BCS International Diploma.

With the digital transformation of many industries accelerating, certified business analysts can play a key role in helping to shape the future of organisations.

Which other roles rely upon the results of business analysis?

The 3 most obvious roles within an organisation which is interested in the outputs of business analysis are programme managers, project managers and change managers. The proposed business solutions which are articulated as part of business analysis will be implemented in the form of business change programs and/or projects. Business analysts will work closely with programme and project managers to scope out programme and projects for change.

Whilst programme and project managers are focused on delivering the outputs of business change programmes and projects, change managers are focused on ensuring that the desired changes actually come about within the organisation by ensuring the affected staff ‘buy in’ to the proposed changes.

Can I get into business analysis without experience?

Like most jobs, a role with the job title of business analyst would normally require practical business analysis experience, especially in the business domain of the employing organisation. A university degree would also normally be expected, although this could be in any discipline. Normally, a business analyst would have a wide range of key responsibilities, so it is important for job candidates to consider all their prior experience before applying.

Is there a difference between a business analyst and a systems analyst?

Yes. A business analyst will take a wider view of the organisation to analyse the underlying business problems and identify solutions. This could incorporate staffing, process and technology issues.

Systems analysts tend to focus more on the IT side and are usually assigned to IT projects to analyse existing systems, understand business rules for IT systems, and document requirements for new systems.

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