The Fundamentals of Business Analysis

Business Analysis is a straight forward process of analyzing business change requirements. Why, then, are there so many methods, approaches, techniques and tools for doing what is – essentially – the same job?

Business Analysis

In order to understand this, we need to rewind a bit in time to look at where Business Analysis came from, where it currently is and projections for where it will go.

Business Analysis was born out of the fact that IT change projects started to go wrong in the 1980s. Before that, IT change projects could solve a limited set of problems in a limited way because the only options were to turn paper based data into electronic data and have simple programs automated the use of that data. There were many limitations such as:

  • storage of the electronic data was costly
  • The way data was stored was bulky (flat files read sequentially in one direction only).
  • Programs were difficult to write in conceptual languages
  • There was only a limited set of functionality based around mainframe processes
  • User interfaces were deliver on basic green-screens

Analysis is defined as “the process of breaking a concept down into more simple parts, so that its’ logical structure is displayed” (OED) or
a). an examination of a complex, its elements, and their relations and
b). statement of such an analysis.

So Business Analysts must analyze business problems in order to be able to find the correct solutions by breaking the problem down and establishing the logical connections – like links in a chain. To prove they are correct they need to follow some kind of logical rationale that proceeds from the precise definition of a problem and/or opportunity (the first link in the Business Analyst chain) to the precise definition of requirements that address the problem/capitalize on the opportunity (the last link in the Business Analysis chain).


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