Business Analysis – All You Need to Know

Business Analysis can be a confusing, vast topic; especially if you haven’t come across the term much before. The purpose of this article is to explain all the basics regarding business analysis in a clear and easy to understand manner.

What is Business Analysis?

The first and most important part of the article is determining exactly what business analysis is. Put simply, business analysis is a research process that identifies needs and aids solution development. A person this role is referred to as a business analyst or BA as it is often abbreviated.

One key thing to remember is that business analysis isn’t an action, but a process. What that means is that business analysis is an on-going procedure. The reason for this is that the competitive landscape is ever changing, so information must be refreshed regularly to ensure accuracy.

How do I become a Business Analyst?

Business analysis can be an interesting and varied career choice, and therefore it is only natural that this is a common question. Fortunately, there is a number of ways in which one can become a BA. The best route depends on life situation and previous level of education.

The first option is to study for a BCS Business Analysis Diploma. The course is designed to allow those who undertake it to develop skills that are relevant to both the individual and their organisation. This course is aimed at current busines and IT professionals. This course is commonly referred to as an ISEB Business Analysis Diploma.

If you have less experience, or you’re changing career paths entirely then a foundation certificate in Business Analysis is a good place to start. These courses are designed to provide people with the foundations of knowledge required to pursue a career in Business Analysis. As with the diploma mentioned earlier, the course can be studied in a variety of locations or even solely online.

University is another option. Although business analysis isn’t commonly offered as a standalone course at undergraduate level, it is more common as a postgraduate option. A postgraduate business analysis course has its pros and cons. Firstly, it is likely to be a more in depth look at business analysis as on average they require a year of full time study, and this is likely to qualify you for higher starting positions. On the negative side of things, university courses cost a lot of money and if you aren’t being funded by a company, you have to finance postgraduate courses yourself.

Common Methods of Business Analysis

Some people are shocked to discover that they have dabbled in analysis before and it is likely you have too, especially if you have ever studied business/marketing (or a related subject) at school, college, sixth form or University.

The SWOT analysis is one of the more common forms of business analysis. The purpose of a SWOT is to analyse the internal and external factors that are affecting your business or a competitor. This is done by examining strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. By doing this you are able to get a fairly detailed portrayal of the current market.

PESTLE is another common analysis technique. PESTLE is an acronym that stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental. The purpose of PESTLE is to examine the external macro environment in order to identify potential factors that could affect the market or company operations.

MOST is also a common analysis technique. It is similar to the PESTLE analysis except its purpose is to analyse the internal environment rather than the external environment. Like PESTLE, MOST is an acronym standing for Mission, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics.

Any demonstratable experience can be beneficial in a job interview. So, no matter how small it may seem, it’s always worth mentioning.

What does being a BA involve?

The role of a BA can vary depending on the industry in which you are working in. Generally speaking, though, a BA is responsible for identifying areas in which a company requires change, assessing the impact of those changes and then develop solutions to implement changes. Business analysts are often required to work to short, inflexible deadlines and to do this they must be calm under pressure and excellent communicators. They must also be good at solving problems, as the problems facing Business Analysts are often complex in nature.