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A definition

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

The value of business analysis

Using this definition, we can define the value that business analysis provides to a project or organization:

What business analysis providesTypical business analysis deliverables
Context is well understood so the right scope of work can be defined.
  • Scope or problem statement
  • High level context mapping of processes, systems, data
The root causes of changes are understood so the right needs can be identified.
  • Drivers
  • Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (SWOT)
  • Scenarios
  • Projections
The true needs are understood so work is focused on the right problems.
The right stakeholders are represented, contributing their goals and information.
The expected value of the work is well understood and is affordable for the organization.
  • Business case
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Metrics or KPIs
An appropriate solution is selected from alternatives, designed, and documented.
  • Evaluation criteria
  • Alternative solutions
  • Design principles
  • User stories
  • Test cases
  • Documentation of processes, data, and systems

Learn more about these key areas in this presentation:

See our Business Analysis Methods page for more on the most common business analysis deliverables.

The process of business analysis

What does it look like to do business analysis? Members of the BACoP have shared two main ways business analysis happens at the UW:

Business analysis roles and jobs

Business analysis can be considered a role rather than a job title. Members of the BACoP have shared what they consider core to the business analysis role and how it overlaps with other roles:

A wide range of jobs make use of business analysis competencies. IIBA points out many different job titles that can include business analysis:

"Job titles for business analysis practitioners include not only business analyst, but also business systems analyst, systems analyst, requirements engineer, process analyst, product manager, product owner, enterprise analyst, business architect, management consultant, business intelligence analyst, data scientist, and more. Many other jobs, such as management, project management, product management, software development, quality assurance and interaction design rely heavily on business analysis skills for success."

The IIBA identifies a wide range of business analysis career paths, ranging from generalist to specialist, and from project execution to strategic decision-making.

To explore business analysis jobs at the UW, see Business Analysis Jobs at the UW.

Further reading

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