If you decide to hire a custom software development company, most probably, you’ll want to make sure that your investments will be spent most efficiently. The vital component that can ensure the desirable outcome is close cooperation with developers during the whole project life cycle. It’s crucial to remember that it’s not enough to check if the deliverables follow your expectations. Your involvement is vital from the first stages of development since the success of your project is highly dependent on the business analysis process.
Business analysis as a set of methodologies that help specialists to find possibilities for further growth and formulate achievable requirements for reaching them. The conditions for achieving these goals may vary. For example, a company may adopt a new software system, improve its business processes, improve the workflow, enhance strategic planning, etc. Lately, business analysis has adopted some innovative tactics and a variety of new approaches may confuse inexperienced business owners. This article will try to shed some light on some major business analysis methodologies and outline their main advantages.
How Business Analysis Helps to Understand Your Business Better
Business analysis is not necessarily an unavoidable measure. After all, if you’re sure that the software you use lacks some necessary functionality, you can always adopt one of the off-the-shelf solutions initially designed and built to satisfy the needs of an average company. However, by applying the business analysis technique that corresponds to the peculiarities of your company, you can better understand your company’s strong and weak sides.
Suppose you can’t achieve your business goals and don’t understand why. Business analysis is the exact tool for solving this mystery. Even if you don’t plan to expand your business soon, it’s always helpful to reveal your improvement abilities and by which means you can achieve your goals. Last but not least, business analysis can help you to determine by which means you can increase the value that your organization delivers.
Applying a suitable business analysis technique, specialists can achieve all these and many other goals. The question is by which means this can be achieved. In other words, which steps does a business analysis process consist of? As you may have guessed, there’s no simple answer to this question. Every business is unique and requires different research techniques. Nevertheless, some business analysis activities are typical for most cases.
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Enterprise analysis includes several pre-project activities. This stage of business analysis is intended to help the development company to maintain the business architecture. Additional task is the preparation of the business case.
The requirements planning stage is the part of the analysis during which a business analysis specialist defines the tasks and resources needed for further planning and managing requirements. These actions help to ensure that all subsequent activities are suitable for the project.
Requirement elicitation is the phase that implies that a business analyst will focus on the system functionality from the stakeholders’ perspective. All requirements from users or customers must be discovered by the specialists during this phase of analysis.
Further requirements analysis and documentation is irreplaceable to define the most suitable set of tools to work with raw data.
The requirements communication phase’s main purpose is to develop an activities set necessary for describing the output of the previous step. It’s essential to evaluate and approve every requirement before the implementation process.
The solution evaluation and validation is usually the final stage of business analysis. It’s required to test if the whole development process has passed in full accordance with the initial plan and the final result wouldn’t dissatisfy the customer.
Common Business Analysis Techniques
The business analysis process main stages that we described in the previous chapter can’t cover all possible use cases an average BA specialist faces during his or her career. We described them to provide you with a general overview of the whole process. In real life, specialists need a broader spectrum of techniques. Now, we’ll describe some popular approaches to business analysis.
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MOST consists of: Mission, Objective, Strategy, and Tactics. The business analysis process always starts from the top. The BA specialist focuses on the most vital company goals. MOST helps to build a clear vision of the business’ market advantages and better understand its main purpose. Besides, this technique is often suitable for the cases when you have to formulate a company’s objectives in intuitive terms and achievable goals.
Mission, from the MOST technique perspective, is an organization’s enduring process into which all company workers should contribute.
The objective is a set of goals for each company department. The intention to complete the objective is the force allowing the business to move forward and accomplish the mission that we described earlier.
Strategies describe the actions that a company takes to successfully accomplish all the objectives.
Tactics must be formulated in an intuitive manner since the company needs them to carry out strategies.
This BA technique considers every operational level of a company from the top to down. The analysis process allows determining which activities invest the most in the overall organization’s success and helps managers focus on what matters.
PESTLE is a short name for Political, Economical, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental. Taking into account these six factors, company management can develop new opportunities and find new growth points.
Political factors determine how such variables as tax policies or laws affect the overall success of a specific company.
Economical factors directly impact the way how company owners run the business and what the overall profits will be.
Social factors (e.g., cultural trends, health consciousness) help marketers better understand their target audience.
Technological aspects also play an essential role during the whole process. It means that a business analyst should focus on innovation, automation, technology advancements, etc.
Legal factors may include copyright or patent laws, for example.
The environmental aspect of the PESTLE technique implies that companies working in tourins or agricultural business must pay close attention to such aspects as climate change.
PESTLE is a relatively easy to implement technique. It can be rather helpful since the process of business analysis helps to reduce dozens of potential problems that may become pretty harmful. Also, if you plan to expand your business and enter new markets, PESTLE can help you to find some opportunities for doing that.
SWOT’s main objective is to extract as much useful info as possible from the analysis of such factors as Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats. This technique implies the involvement of BA specialists with different perspectives for performing the business analysis. Such an approach helps to guarantee flexibility required for quick reaction to the rapidly changing business environment.
Strengths are the company’s actions that can ensure good results in different cases. Among them, you can find branding, the company’s location and its branches, loyal employees, and more.
Weaknesses, according to this technique, are those activities that create different kinds of business issues. It can be a bad reputation of your company, unskilled employees, outdated software solutions that you use, and other factors.
Opportunities are external factors providing a competitive advantage.
Threats create market disadvantages and harm business. Say, new regulations can cause unpredicted consequences that potentially can become a severe inconvenience.
SWOT achieved high popularity thanks to its intuitive nature and ease of use. The possibilities of this an enterprise-level methodology are much broader than the business analysis.
Business Process Modelling (BPM)
This technique implies that the team analyses core business processes for relevance, efficiency, and possible bottlenecks. These processes must be evaluated according to a set of criteria, including individual and organization-wide. As the outcome of the analysis, the company management gathers the possibility to add, map, or take away business processes that don’t match the current needs.
Most often, BA specialists represent the result of their work as a diagram. Analysts usually use BPMN or UML notation if they use this technique. Business process modeling allows representing the way a business process will operate in an intuitive manner.
Use Case Modelling
This methodology allows using UML diagrams to show how particular business functions will work in a specific system during interactions with users. Usually, development companies use this approach during the design process for transforming requirements into functional specifications.
The UML case diagram can become a rather helpful tool that helps to clarify the scope of functionality. It allows getting the initial functional requirements which is a pretty important task from the business analyst’s perspective. Also, UML use case modeling doesn’t require deep technical knowledge and can be easily understood by business owners without a substantial tech background.
Nowadays, there’s no shortage of various business analysis techniques. Their application guarantees that software developers will build the best software solution for solving your business issues. Additionally, applying these techniques can help to enhance your business thanks to a clear understanding of used business processes, market capabilities, and competitors. If you want to know more about how business analysis can improve your business, please contact us.