There is a misconception in the enterprise project management (EPM) arena, where many organisations still believe a new EPM solution will fix all governance and project problems with the click of a button.
The successful implementation of any EPM solution requires a project management office (PMO) and, more importantly, must include business analysis. This is according to UMT Consulting SA CEO Pieter Meyer.
While project management is the discipline of planning, organising and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives, business analysis (BA) refers to the discipline of identifying business needs and determining solutions to business problems.
Meyer says BA is such an important competency in the industry. “Business analysis as a discipline has an overlap with requirements analysis sometimes also called requirements engineering, but focuses on identifying the changes to an organisation that are required for it to achieve strategic goals. These changes include changes to policies, processes, and information systems.”
The business analyst is often described as an enabler of strategic success and the main responsibility is to gather, detail and document requirements in a format that is useful to business area experts and technical developers. The business analyst acts as a bridge between the business and the team responsible for implementing technology, but still remains technologically independent.
Business analysts are involved in process re-engineering and have a strategic role in analysing the business for efficiency. Three elements that are essential in BA include the design or redesign of core business processes; the application of enabling technologies to support the new core processes; and the management of organisational change. It can also be referred to as Business Process Improvement (BPI) or Business Process Reengineering (BPR).
“Is the role of the business analyst understood and appreciated in organisations ?,” he asks. “Everyone agrees on the importance of the business analyst role, but few know exactly what it is that business analysts do.”
The role of BA most commonly associated with business requirements for IT projects. The BA delivers a project scope which defines the boundaries of what is going to be analysed as part of the project including high-level processes and a more detailed analysis of the root cause of the problem being addressed.
Furthermore, the BA is responsible for fully understanding the business problem and providing complete analysis to ensure that the solution best meets the needs of the business.
Meyer says in the current scenario, BAs are involved in understanding business needs, problems and opportunities and providing recommendations and solutions to meet the business objectives, most of the times within the context of Information Technology. “Business Analysis is driven by Project Management, but shouldn’t be. The key role of the business analyst is to analyse the business processes, procedures, organisation structure, etc. in order to identify problems and determine solutions.”
Ultimately, business analysts want to produce the following outcomes:
* Reduce waste;
* Create solutions;
* Complete projects on time with project management;
* Improve efficiency;
* Document the right requirements.
“Business analysis is such an important competency in the industry, we must do what is necessary to ensure that we continue to professionalise and grow it,” he adds.