Business analysis work begins with the discovery of a business need. Business needs are problems or opportunities of strategic importance to the organisation.
A good example of a business need that can trigger a comprehensive BA work would be: customers from certain parts of the world experiencing slow performance on a website that they have paid to have access to premium content.
If the complaints reach a certain level, they can become business needs that may trigger an assessment for possible changes.
According to the BABOK, business needs can come from a variety of internal and/or external sources including the following below.
Senior management may suggest a change or provide new strategies and goals that often drive needs.
Needs may come from a current process or system, or from people using them. For example, customers or workers might alert decision makers of a process or system malfunction.
Middle level management may recognize a need and request a change to systems or reports for example.
Needs may be forced on an organisation from the outside. For example customers, competitors, or regulators may initiate a need.
Defining the business need is seen as one of the most critical tasks of a Business Analyst. Needs should reflect the enterprise and not any particular stakeholder's whims.
Business needs trigger a search for alternatives and "solutions". Any solution in response to a business need must solve the underlying business problem to be considered successful. For the website example given above, a reduction or elimination of complaints would be a way to measure the success of the implemented solution.
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