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What is Business Analysis?

Business analysis is a body of work focused on identifying needs to support change in a business and recommending solutions that will create value for stakeholders. Business analysis enables a business to identify needs, articulate the rationale for change, design and model solutions that can create value.

Business analysis can focus on many different types of initiatives within a business. The initiative to which business analysis is applied can be strategic, tactical or operational. For example, it is a strategic decision for a business to move from project-oriented to product-oriented, or from selling directly to customers to selling through wholesalers. Business analysis can be used for this type of initiative. An example of a tactical initiative would be to replace traditional methods for customer projects with modern methods, or to change the performance appraisal system in human resource management. Changing the shift pattern in the cafeteria or reorganizing a report in a software system can be considered an operational initiative. In this context, job analysis may be carried out.

Business analysis can be carried out within the boundaries of a project or throughout continuous improvement efforts parallel to the functioning of the organization. Continuing with the examples given above, a project can be designed to change the human resources performance system. The new performance system is designed, certain adjustments are made to the systems, and after starting with a pilot study, the new system can be extended to the entire organization. The same work can be carried out continuously without creating a special project, with large and small changes made by the human resources department every performance period. In both options, a similar job analysis will be required.

Business Analysis can be applied to understand the current situation only, to define the future situation only, or to cover both, to determine the work required to move from the current situation to the future situation. For example, some units in enterprises work to understand the current situation, to make the difference between the current operation and the standards they have. These units, often called quality assurance or inspection, use business analysis only to understand the current situation. Some units examine the market, interview current and potential customers, and outline strategy options to determine where the company should be in the future. These units can be said to conduct business analysis focused on defining the future state. Some units do not only define the current and future state, but also actively engage in business analysis in terms of all the initiatives necessary to make this happen.

Business analysis can be performed from a variety of perspectives. A perspective can be thought of as a pair of glasses through which the person wearing the business analyst’s hat looks at the context in which they operate from a different angle. An initiative may require business analysis from one or more perspectives. For example, for a change initiative to be launched to meet a need, while analyzing from the perspective of business processes, it may be necessary to analyze from the perspective of information technology systems on the one hand, and from the perspective of analytical reporting on the other. The approach to be adopted and the techniques to be applied in terms of business analysis in each perspective may differ from each other. In fact, conducting business analysis from each perspective may require very different specializations.

As a result, business analysis is a highly complex discipline that can create value in both horizontal and vertical axes of an organization. The most common problem in this regard is that people who are supposed to do job analysis, or even those who are doing job analysis, are not aware that they are doing job analysis and have difficulty in demonstrating their potential value in this context. It is best to see job analysis not as a position, role or hat, but as a competency that many people in the organization should have.