Thursday, 07 July 2016 07:46

Why You Need Good Business Analysis: Better Business Performance

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Every organization performs business analysis, and good business analysis is all about better business performance. Together, technology and good business analysis are the keys to superior results.

By using an expert in business analysis, your projects or actions will be created for you to the highest of standards bringing you a far lower risk of failure.

This gives a business peace of mind when they know they have;

  • A greater engagement of the business
  • A very good result in alignment with your plan
  • Better chance of making new changes
  • Decisive project decision-making
  • Improvement of projects or initiatives
  • Instigating change in support of improved technology
  • Improved business results
  • Higher return on investment

Proper business analysis engages and empowers stakeholders, allowing them to deliver value to customers in better ways.

Related Article: Good Business Analyst, Bad Business Analyst

Here's the thing about business analysis.  It's all about helping more companies to think about the "why" before going ahead, thus preventing a technology project or initiative providing little or no value to an organization.

Here's an example of a proper business analysis. We were engaged to analyze a cash handling business process after an audit report. This report raised concerns over staff counting cash. The goal was to improve the process to create increased security controls.

Results of our first executive stakeholder meeting

We proved through strategic questioning, most of the company's customers were familiar with credit and loyalty credit cards. By understanding the requirements and the context of the organization we were able to provide a solution. Therefore, increasing the opportunities available.

Furthermore, it reduced the use of cash. Rebranding the internal customer card created an environment with better compliance reporting and customer patronage. The cash handling process was the issue, but the processes around it provided the solution.

Example #2

Another client requested us to assist with the use of a barcode scanner. This scanner would be for inward and outward goods at their warehouse.

To begin with, we completed an initial analysis of the stock handling process.  As a result, we found using barcodes was going to require a large overhead to put into effect.

The reason for this:

  • Over 40% of outgoing stock was in the original packaging
  • 10% of stock was individually prepared for dispatch

We found the Return on Investment (ROI) would be negative. For this reason, it was not a viable solution.

Our business analysis resulted in the client making the decision not to go any further. The business outcome was that we were able to provide high value to the client.

Example #3

Another client sought a solution to manage the approval process and documents. These were associated with their major energy capital projects, having a value of up to $100 million.

We performed the business process automation analysis. We also mapped the future state processes and explored the business and functional requirements through a series of stakeholder workshops using aspects of our method, and customized templates in line with the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK®).

Based on these documented processes and requirements we developed an automated workflow solution.

The outcomes of the process automation solution were:

  • Increased consistency of the approval process
  • An automated audit trail for the approvals
  • An increase in the tracking of documents, resulting in a greater efficiency with approvals
  • A reliable mechanism for staff to determine the status of payment requests and payments
  • Reduced time by eliminating manual and resource wastage on printing and manual approvals
  • Reduced physical file storage

In the final analysis, the outcome of minimized approval delays reduced the external contract resources required for approval processes. Within six months, the cost of developing the solution was paid for by using the automated workflow.

An expert business analyst requires a unique skillset many senior executives have never experienced, so it is difficult for management to distinguish between average and good business analysis. Often subject matter experts or untrained individuals are used as business analysts to deliver suboptimal business analysis.

The BABOK® Guide states that “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”.

The best way I explain what business analysis is to senior executives is that it is all about better business performance.

Good business analysis is the foundation for organisational:

  • innovation
  • business agility
  • cost reduction
  • cyber security
  • risk control, and
  • technology efficiency

The BABOK® Guide also states “A business analyst is any person who performs business analysis tasks described in the BABOK® Guide, no matter their job title or organizational role”.

The BABOK® Guide does not make the distinction of Business Analyst quality, competency and experience or breadth of tasks and techniques. Evidence in the field strongly suggests good business analysis is more likely to be achieved by a well-trained business analyst, experienced in the breadth of business analysis from strategic to detail, industry aligned, certified and practice supported.

As organizations look to become more innovative to survive and prosper with technology in overcrowded industries, this is critical. Businesses today are more competitive and good business analysis can deliver an advantage that gives business the differentiating edge they require to prosper.

In many forum discussions, a business analyst is described as a bridge between business and IT, a problem solver, a decision enabler, a requirements manager or engineer, process modeller, an agile team member, etc. However, if good business analysis is all about better business performance should we not describe a business analyst as a person with competencies, skills, and experience and aligned to industry standards that contributes to better business performance?

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Tim Coventry

TopContributorTim is the CEO for Business Analysts Pty Ltd (BAPL) - an expert business analysis company offering business analyst services for to ASX listed & private companies, government and not for profit organisations. APL is an Australian owned and operated company with 50 consultants operating from offices in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. Internal practice uplift allows us to quickly ramp up with demand and maintain a very high level of competency.

With over 22 years’ experience and a strong contribution to business analysis across the globe, Tim is an acknowledged expert in his professional field.

Tim has expertise in all phases of the solution delivery life cycle with substantial practical experience in strategic analysis, business process analysis, requirements, tendering and evaluation and software implementation. He holds a Bachelor of Education, Workplace Category IV Trainer and Assessor Certificate, and is a Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP).

Tim has presented at the BA World Symposiums in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, Building Business Capability in 2013 and 2014, PMI EMEA Global Congress 2015, IIBA Australia Chapter BA Professional Day 2013 and 2015 and participates regularly in International Institute for Business Analysis (IIBA®) forums.

With a strong background in education and assessment Tim has a keen interest in business analysis competency models, is an author of the IIBA® Competency Model and is a past IIBA® Australia Chapter President.

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