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What is Business Analysis?

Business analysis (BA) is the practice of helping someone to solve a problem by delivering a solution that matches their needs. Common tasks associated with BA include advising strategic business options, improving business systems around specific outcomes, and defining IT system requirements.

In other words:

Business analysis is all about finding the right problems to solve (or opportunities to seize) and enabling business change to best solve those problems.

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The main benefit of business analysis is that you can implement strategies that deliver tangible (measurable) "value" for your stakeholders, year after year.

Here are the topics that we’ll cover in this complete guide to BA:

Industry definitions of what business analysis is

There are a number of relevant industry bodies that each define the mandate of business analysis. 

Here are their answers to question of what business analysis is:

The BCS publication Business Analysis, 3rd Edition (2014) defines the role of the business analyst as follows:

"An advisory role which has the responsibility for investigating and analysing business situations, identifying and evaluating options for improving business systems, elaborating and defining requirements, and ensuring the effective implementation and use of information systems in line with the needs of the business."

Business analysis as defined by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) in the A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK) is:

"Business Analysis is the practice of enabling change in an organizational context, by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders."

The PMI Guide to Business Analysis

"Identifying business needs. Recommending relevant solutions. Working with stakeholders to elicit requirements. Analyzing, defining, documenting and managing requirements. BAs help to shape the outcome of projects to ensure they deliver business benefits."

And then Wikipedia says...

"Business analysis is a research discipline of identifying business needs and determining solutions to business problems. Solutions often include a software-systems development component, but may also consist of process improvements, organizational change or strategic planning and policy development."

This is *business* analysis

Business Analysis helps someone to solve their problem or seize an opportunity. Understands the customers’ perspective, desire, and world-view. Satisfies the wish for products that match peoples needs. Builds relationships to create meaningful change and make a positive difference.

Responsibilities of a Business Analyst

So where does leave us in answering the questions: What does a business analyst do? And, what are the key areas of responsibility for a business analyst?

These definitions identify the following key areas of responsibility:

  • Investigating business situations
  • Identifying and evaluating options
  • Defining requirements
  • Ensuring the effective use of information systems

Depending on the role, a business analyst may also take on more senior-level or specialised aspects such as strategy implementation, business process redesign, business case production or specification of IT requirements. And they may take on aspects beyond the business analyst role, such as project management, test analysis, or change management.

Other Roles in the business analysis family

Business Analysis is not a role, but rather a set of tools: There's no such thing as a Business Analyst, but there is a range of business analysis skills that are open to everybody. 

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Evolution of Business Analysis

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