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What is Business Analysis?

Business Analysis is an action research effort in which the actors in the situation - the workers who carry out a process - work to determine where and how the process can be improved and what automated tools they need to accomplish that improvement. This approach is based on several assumptions:

  • Automating existing work does not save enough money to pay for a system. If the system is to pay for itself, it must enable a new process that reduces work.
  • Introducing any new technical system will inevitably change the work process. It is much better to design the new process than to expect no change and then, when the system arrives, find out that you don't like the process the system forces you in to.
  • Most organizations don't know their process as well as they think they do. The actual process in use is very different than the process captured in policies and procedures. It is like a jigsaw puzzle. While everyone holds a piece of the puzzle, no one has ever put it together to see the whole picture. Until you have that whole picture, you don't know what process the system is to serve.
  • You can spend time modelling the process that the system will support. Or you can spend a lot more time arguing about what the system has to do because there will be no basis to decide who is right. Then, when the system goes into acceptance testing, you can spend even more time and money rebuilding the system when you find out no one was right.
  • Between 85 and 98% of the cost of any product is knowledge work, and we don't even know how to measure the productivity of knowledge work. It's not how much knowledge work the automation lets people turn out that measures its effectiveness: it's how much knowledge work the automation eliminates. That is only done by action research to change the process.
  • Selecting a package and then seeking a business analyst experienced in making that package work is putting the cart before the horse. You have to really understand what you do, how you do it, and how you want to do it differently before you can choose the package that will do that for you.

Making Space Consulting can provide design, planning, facilitation, and documentation of a business analysis action research effort based on over 20 years experience in conducting business analysis for large and small clients in the private and public sectors.