Business Analysis is a discipline of understanding an organization, identifying business needs and recommending solutions to meet those needs. It involves understanding how organizations function, who the key stakeholders are and what their relationships are. Business needs stem from customer request, a problem or an issue, a strategic initiative or a market opportunity. A person who performs Business Analysis is called a Business Analyst or a BA. This skill is used very heavily in building systems or software for automation of business operations. As a result, there are various roles like IT Business Analysts, Systems Analysts, etc who perform BA activities.
One of the major causes for project failure is poor quality of business requirements. A BA needs to understand the requirements, document, communicate and get stakeholder agreement; then work with the solution team and validate that the proposed solution will indeed meet the requirements. In order to perform his/her role effectively, a BA needs to have various competencies like facilitation skills, communication skills, leadership and critical thinking, expertise in software applications.
IIBA and BABOK
International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) was founded in 2003 to serve the field of Business Analysis. It is a not for profit professional organization. Currently, they have 100 chapters and over 12,000 members. One of the major contributions of the organization is Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK), a globally recognized standard for the practice of Business Analysis. BABOK describes knowledge areas, tasks, inputs, outputs, techniques and skills required for effective analysis. BABOK 2.0 is the most current version.
IIBA has also created CBAP (Certified Business Analysis Professional) designation to recognize experienced professionals. In order to certify, BAs need to meet certain prerequisites, submit a detailed application, and prepare for the certification test based on BABOK and pass in the test.
In the competitive environment and tough job market of today, a professional certification distinguishes an individual from a pile of other candidates and shows their higher credibility in terms of knowledge and experience. CBAP provides a similar advantage to Business Analysts. A BA with CBAP can establish credibility as a knowledgeable, skilled, experienced and competent professional with strong foundation of principles and practices. Certification can also help in career growth and recognition from the peers. It adds value to the individual as well as to the organization.