Business analysis has gained huge popularity in the past couple of years and there has also been a significant improvement in the job openings in this sector. Companies are creating new roles catering to Business Analysts, which are considered to be a blend of Data Analysts and Software Developers.
These skilled professionals are tasked with understanding the requirements of the company and then developing best solutions to help the company grow. They play an pivotal role in decision making, strategy building and guiding different departments for future courses of action. For this purpose, there are multiple Business Analysis techniques implemented like SWOT analysis, MOST Analysis, etc.
Candidates go through a professional Business Analyst course where they get trained on these techniques and understand which technique fits best a particular situation. Multiple online certification providers like Simplilearn, Udemy, Coursera, etc. tie up with expert faculty which impart quality education to students.
There is an increasing demand for such trained business analysts who can understand the pulse of the firm and help it thrive in a competitive environment. A key factor behind the competitiveness in this sector is the projected Cumulative Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.3% till 2026 [Source: Mordor Intelligence], which is a pretty good growth figure in the long term.
Let’s read more about what all Business Analysis techniques are available and which one you should choose in a particular situation.
1. SWOT Analysis
There is a high probability that you are already aware of this term. SWOT, which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, helps a business analyst in conducting a thorough analysis of business processes. Here, Strength and Weaknesses act as internal factors while Opportunities and Threats act like externally controlled factors.
The SWOT analysis gives best results when it is conducted by a group of people, who give different outlooks to the same situation and thus understand the work dynamics in a better way. Most people are already aware of SWOT and thus they easily get themselves on the track. An added benefit of SWOT analysis is that it can be used at any stage of the business process.
2. MOST Analysis
MOST is another popular Business Analysis technique which stands for:
- M – Mission
- O – Objective
- S – Strategy
- T – Tactics
This technique focuses on what exactly is the mission and purpose of the firm, and how it desires to attain it. MOST analysis helps an organization and its analysts in planning each course of action by aligning it with the overall purpose and values of the company. Considering “Mission” at every stage, the technique helps in shortlisting by eliminating, and thus streamlining the individual activities and processes.
The technique is based upon fulfilling “Objectives” through direct actions called “Tactics”, which collectively form a “Strategy”. A requisite for success of MOST analysis is that the Objective should be SMART, i.e., (i) Specific, (ii) Measurable, (iii) Achievable, (iv) Realistic and (v) Timely.
3. PESTLE Analysis
Next popular technique for analysis of business processes or any project is PESTLE analysis. This caters to multiple needs of society by basing its decisions on following perspectives:
- P – Political
- E – Economic
- S – Social
- T – Technological
- L – Legal
- E – Environmental
PESTLE analysis is also known as PESTEL analysis by many people and they are the same thing. This particular approach also helps a company in raising its Triple Bottom Line. When the issue of climate change and environment protection is gaining familiarity, PESTLE analysis becomes a preferred approach.
4. Mind Mapping
A new approach which has been gaining popularity at a very fast rate, Mind Mapping is the way by which you jot down the jumbled thoughts and plans in your mind in a well organized manner. Using mind maps helps individuals in deriving insights from their own thoughts, ideas and plans, which otherwise remain in a very cluttered manner.
A mind map looks like neurons in brains with a central Node/Root which is supposed to be your main objective. As you discover methods to deal with it and go down the hierarchy, the mind map keeps on developing. There are various online websites through which you can make mind maps for whatever you want.
This is the traditional practice of deliberating for key decision making by bringing a group of people together. Brainstorming is the process where people come together, put forward their own ideas, develop root cause analysis, and try to reach a consensus. Brainstorming is also an integral part of other business analysis techniques like SWOT and PESTEL.
Brainstorming in a group is a preferred activity as it helps a person come across multiple ideas at the same time, and also learn pros and cons of it. They learn diverse perspectives and can get some criticism for their own beliefs. It is also seen as a business analysis technique which, if successful, can provide immediate solutions.
CATWOE is a holistic approach to business analysis which takes care of People, Planet and Profits at the same time. It is an ethical business analysis technique which brings all the stakeholders on one common table and then proceeds with decision making. The full form of CATWOE is:
- C – Customer
- A – Actors
- T – Transformation
- W – Worldview
- O – Owner
- E – Environment
Through CATWOE, business analysts step into the shoes of customers as well as the owner of the company. The objective is to develop best solutions for customer satisfaction, while also meeting the requirements and expectations of the owners.
7. Use Case Modelling
This business analysis technique is typically used for projects dealing with software development and designing. Use case modelling develops pictorial illustrations while developing solutions for how the business should operate. Analysts develop UML (Unified Modeling Language) diagrams through tools like Microsoft Visio, IBM Rational Rose, etc.
Use case model helps in clearing the doubts in mind and shows a clear depiction of what is possible in each scenario. The key components here are: (i) System, (ii) User Case, (iii) Actors, (iv) Association, (v) Stereotypes. These help an analyst in understanding the functional requirements of a business.
In addition to the 7 techniques mentioned above, there are a plethora of other business analysis techniques with each having its own purpose and own pros and cons. It is better to decide in advance what you are going to deal with and then choose the appropriate solution technique according to your need.