What is business analysis in IT
Business analysis is a broad profession. According to Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK® v3) published by International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), “Business analysis is the practice of enabling change in an enterprise by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders. Business analysis enables an enterprise to articulate needs and the rationale for change, and to design and describe solutions that can deliver value.”
Business analysis can be performed from a diverse array of perspectives, and Information Technology is one of them. When working in the information technology (IT) discipline, business analysts collaborate with both the business stakeholders and technical teams to ensure that needs are understood, and that designed solution meets business objectives and brings real value.
What is the role of business analysis in IT solution
Business analysis role in development of IT solution covers both business and technical side:
- Learn and understand - dig deep into problem domain to understand its logic, terminology, regulations, rules, players
- Analyze - translate unstructured narratives into concepts, abstractions, relations, patterns, models
- Provide Insight - organize, present and deliver complex interrelated heterogeneous information in meaningful way (decompose, slice/layer, visualize)
- Design - create functional design(s) of future solution (how will or could it be when it is solved)
- Consult - explain what is good and what is bad, what is viable, what it takes, what is risky, what are possible routes
What is the importance of business analysis
Business analysis help technical teams to understand specifics of business domain, so they can design and build IT solution that will be accepted by business stakeholders. When properly informed on business domain concepts and relations, technical teams make better design decisions and anticipate and handle risks proactively.
On the other hand, business analysis helps business stakeholders to understand characteristics of the intended solution before it is built, so they can provide feedback in early phases and guide technical teams.
Business analysis importance may be summarized in several points:
- Reduce rework (do the right thing first time)
- Better work prioritization (each feature may be assessed by value it brings)
- Proactive risks management (business analysis provides holistic view to the problem being solved and helps stakeholders to anticipate future state)
- May help in reducing amount of work to be done (by recognizing patterns and similar concepts, helps in creating generic and reusable artifacts)
What are the processes in business analysis
According to BABOK® v3, there are six knowledge areas:
- Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring
- Elicitation and Collaboration
- Strategy Analysis
- Requirements Analysis and Design Definitions
- Requirements Lifecycle Management
- Solution Evaluation
with 30 tasks that are performed by buisiness analysts.
In Business analysis applied to Information Technology field all six knowledge areas are used.
A significant factor of IT project success is to determine how to approach requirements elicition and there are three major styles:
- Collaborative: involves direct interaction with stakeholders, and relies on their experiences, expertise, and judgment.
- Research: involves systematically discovering and studying information from materials or sources that are not directly known by stakeholders involved in the change.
- Experiments: involves identifying information that could not be known without some sort of controlled test. Some information cannot be drawn from people or documents—because it is unknown. Experiments can help discover this kind of information. Experiments include observational studies, proofs of concept, and prototypes.
What are the tools and techniques in business analysis
For business analysis in IT field, there are numerous techniques and tools that may be grouped into several categories:
- IT solution modeling
- Business Modeling
- Creative Thinking
- Decision Modeling
- Planning and estimations
- Teamwork and collaboration
For IT Solution Modeling UML (Unified Modeling Language) is very frequently used. It is a standardized modeling language consisted of of diagrams, developed to help system and software developers for specifying, visualizing, constructing, and documenting the artifacts of software systems. Business analysts and software engineers has to model various aspects of software solution:
- Structure (examples: class diagrams, object digrams)
- Behavior (examples: activity diagrams, interaction diagrams, use case diagrams)
- Architecture (contains both structural and behavioral elements of the system)