Business Analysis Training

Business analysis training is a course in further education that you cannot afford to pass up. A business analysis training course can advance your career by great lengths. It is a small course which grants you a certificate that puts you well on your way to earning more in the job place.

Through your business analysis training you can learn quite a few important skills. For starters you can begin to easily identify problems and opportunities in the workplace. This affords you the ability to understand the reputation between the workplace, the employees and the customers. You can easily organize the goals of any business and identify the objectives which need to be overcome to reach these goals. This can help you set standards of any business and pinpoint what areas need improvement and work. Also you can learn the ability to access the current functioning business model and recognize the faults which the business has developed over time.

The training also helps you with your own confidence in finding solutions which will impact your business in positive ways. Most businesses fail because the management are afraid to implement new standards and systems. Business analysis training also trains you in how to read and use business documents that are required for any type of business. You can also learn practical knowledge that you can then apply in the workplace. The analysis training helps you apply this new knowledge in great dynamic ways.

The training courses are composed of not just textbook studying but also application of your learned knowledge in workshops and real life scenarios. Your training will take you to various situations and problems which will need all the applied knowledge you have gained from your training and in class. As you progress through your training you will also gain a mentor to help you along your way to becoming a fully fledged business analysis. Your mentor will be someone who has had extensive experience with business system analysis.

Not only can you attend an actual school for this course you can also find these classes online for those who do not have the time to attend class offline. One of the current benefits of taking these training courses now is that the job market has yet to become saturated with qualified applicants for these positions. More businesses are starting to take notice of the benefits of having a business system analyst on staff.

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The Importance of Business Analysis

Today, businesses require effective business analysis in order to maintain competitiveness in a highly competitive business world. Effective business analysis involves taking information gathered from a variety of sources and analyzing for the purpose of forecasting future trends, finding ways to make improvements in business strategies, improving businesses operations, and making smart business decisions to improve the company’s bottom line. Understanding key marketing areas is essential to helping a business generate revenue and cut down on excess waste.

Business analysis can include market research analysis such as analyzing consumer data from such sources as transaction records, consumer surveys, polls…etc. It can also include financial analysis, inventory analysis, product and service analysis, and much more. Effective business analysis helps a business avoid making incorrect decisions that can result in time and money being wasted when going back to fix any problems as well as finding the right solution. The result of finding the right solution the first time is projects get completed in a timely manner, strategies are executed with the results benefiting the business, and there is effective monitoring of the project that allows for the best adjustments that results in the best outcome.

Effective business analysis allows managers to make sure accurate information is distributed and understood by the entire project team. With the correct information, the team is able to work together in an efficient manner to create a plan that has a higher chance of success. Today, there is effective business analysis software and applications that allows managers to not only keep up with current consumer shopping trends as well as forecast future trends. For instance, a supermarket that analyses and tracks customer purchases will be able to design and implement marketing strategies around their customers’ personal shopping habits. As well, data from surveys is another example of analyzing the information to determine the best way to market products and services.

It is not just consumer analysis that will benefit a business. Financial analysis is also important for a business. This can include analyzing budgets, cash flows, inventory costs, profit and loss statements, and balance sheets. By performing effective financial analysis, a business can identify spending waste and streamline operations to make the business more profitable.

Due to changing demographics and consumer habits, it is important that a business has a clear understanding of their current and future trends in order to meet changing consumer preferences. Fortunately, there is quality data mining software available that can help a business collect and analyze relevant data to improve operations and marketing strategies. As well, it helps identify populations and lifestyles including current and future behavior trends, and helps forecast future business decisions.

In today’s highly competitive market, you cannot run a successful business without understanding your customers as well as all facets of the company. Effective business analysis ensures the right decisions are made that will best benefit the business and mitigate incidents of unrealistic expectations that results in disappointments and loss of revenue. Effective business analysis allows a business to take the guess work out of business decisions. The result is an overall improvement in the businesses bottom line.

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Business Analysis Helps in Utilizing the Company’s Resources Efficiently

Business Analysis can be referred to as a set of activities analyzing and rectifying the mistakes among projects in an organization. It is a term which refers to the process of firstly identifying the needs of the business and then developing and implementing the solutions to meet them. Business analysis techniques are applied to develop an appropriate plan and then put it in to action. There are a lot of risks that a particular organization has to handle and therefore business analysis is a precaution that organizations take in order to avoid project failures. A business analyst studies the projects carefully, identifies possible risks and discovers new approaches to avoid those risks. Very often organizations plan a project without considering the pros and cons associated with it due to which the possibility of a failure arises. Hence it is necessary for an organization to contemplate and be very sure of the project before going into the project. The term business analysis is a broad term given to the process of analyzing and influencing three distinctly different aspects of the business which are:

• Business Strategy – Analyzing the profile of the company and implementing strategies based upon this analysis.
• Business Architecture – Analysis of actual operations in the business which includes evaluating objectives and the resources and processes currently in place to achieve them. Changes to the business architecture will be made based upon this analysis.
• Business Systems – Analysis of the businesses information systems needs, defining required changes to information systems based upon this analysis.

An effective Business Analysis Training helps you take control of your business requirements practices today and reap the benefits of reduced costs and payback times, shorter project durations, and improves scope definition thereby advancing your career. The Analyst should be sure about the goal of the project and devise all the possible strategies to achieve it. The first step in studying a project is to understand why the project has been initiated. It will help in defining the objectives more clearly and designing strategies accordingly. Very often the major decisions related to projects are taken by professionals who are not necessarily proficient in this field and hence are not capable of taking wise decisions. As a result of which projects tend to fail.To avoid such failures organizations need to ensure that there are right people for the right job. This is where the importance of hiring Business Analysts comes in.Once the idea for a particular project is thought of it becomes the responsibility of the Business Analyst to see if the idea is feasible or not. Once the business analyst has met with the initial parties, they must then analyze important data related to the business such as business records, operating manuals, business guides and other pertinent documents. A complete project scope will name and define all of the organizations that will be involved with the project; this may include people, systems, internal departments, and outside organizations. Business Analysts are an important asset to every business, they apply their skills to take the big picture and break it into smaller parts, making it easier to ensure that company resources are being utilized in the most efficient manner thereby achieving the results.

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Become an All Rounder With Business Analysis

Analyzing business situations is a very important step in taking decisions. Business Analysis involves lots of complexities due to which many times the organization has to face situations beyond its control. The main objective behind business analysis is to understand the real business situations which clearly show that there is an urgent need for implanting project management in organizations. Every organization requires an analyst in order to analyze situations and formulate strategies so that projects are properly implemented.Due to his expertise and knowledge it becomes easier for him to design suitable structures. AstroWix offers Business Education that provides business analysts and related professionals with the knowledge and skills critical to identifying business needs and determining solutions to business.

Business analysis is a straightforward process of studying the changes in trends and responding to these changes with utmost efficiency so as to complete projects successfully. There are many tools and methods which can be applied to projects in order to have them implemented smoothly. The Business Analysis training helps professionals in framing policies,analyzing performance and discovering new method to which are beneficial for the growth of the organization. It is easier to take out solutions for certain problems through who, what, where, when, why & how. Therefore a successful and effective Business Analysis is the key approach in ensuring that the projects are being implemented and run successfully. It comprises of a set of activities identifying and rectifying mistakes amongst various projects in an organization.It is a broad term used for analyzing three different aspects:

• Business Strategy – Studying the profile of the company and implementing strategies based upon this analysis.
• Business Architecture – Analysis of operations in the business constituting objectives and the resources and processes currently in place to achieve them.
• Business Systems – Analysis of the businesses information systems needs, defining required changes to information systems based upon this analysis.

Business analysis techniques can be implemented to develop a suitable plan which is risk free and ensures stability in operations. Generally there are a lot of risks to handle and this is where business knowledge comes in handy. Hence it is necessary for an organization to contemplate and be very sure of the project before going into the project. Therefore it is very important to weigh the pros and cons to eliminate the possibility of failures. An effective Business Analyst helps you to take control over your business and reap the benefits at reduced expenditure. He is an important asset to an organization as without him taking major decisions of the company would not be possible.

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Business Analysis – Separating Analysis from Design

Separating Analysis from Design
(decide what’s needed before deciding how to implement it)

Successful projects solve business problems

Looking at what business objectives you are trying to satisfy before leaping into the technology enables you to use the technology wisely, manage scope and cut costs, producing systems which work for your clients.

It’s easy to concentrate on the technical features of any project and lose sight of the reason for its existence. Every project exists to solve a problem. Either what you have doesn’t work well enough and needs improving, or you need to invent something totally new. After all, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Too often the pressures of deadlines and budgets lead us to bypass the important process of analysing business needs, and we leap straight into the technology. But how often do we find that the system doesn’t do exactly what’s required. Users are obliged to use workarounds, reducing some of the benefits we were supposed to provide which also affects our credibility. How often do we need to invest extra time and expense in providing Version 2 (and 3 and 4 and …), when some careful work might have exposed the real needs earlier?

The classic waterfall lifecycle

There are many variations on the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and the following may not be exactly the terminology which your methodology uses. The content of the phases is certainly simplified in this table, but projects follow the following phases:

(IMAGE NOT AVAILABLE HERE – you can download this paper complete with illustrations from [http://www.irm.com.au/businessanalysispapers.htm], or view the image at [http://www.irm.com.au/images/waterfallcycle.jpg])

The output from each phase is the input to the next. Garbage in, garbage out. Or to put it a little more elegantly, you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. You can’t implement a good operational system without a good tested system, you can’t build a good system without good technical specifications and you can’t design a good system without a good business specification.

Ensure that talented people are used early in your project, to ensure that you can achieve a good output at the end.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking you are doing anybody any favours by bypassing business analysis and moving straight to design, or by combining the two. If the deadline is tight, negotiate a phased implementation. If the budget is tight, remove some functionality.

Many surveys, including the work of Boehm, have shown consistently that the increase in cost of repairing errors increases exponentially the later that repair takes place in the SDLC. An error which costs a dollar to repair during the Initiate phase will cost $10 to fix if it is left until Analysis, $100 at Design, and $1000 if nothing is done until Implementation. Yet how often do we say “We’ll be able to fix that in the code”?

Software tools can’t think for you

Would Shakespeare have been a better writer if he had a word processor?
Any tool will believe what you tell it. There are some terrific tools around which will take the mindless hack work out of your job so that you can concentrate on doing what you do best. But don’t think that if you have the best tool possible your systems will be the best possible. If you don’t believe me, grab your favourite word processor and write a sonnet which people will be delighted to quote 400 years from now.

You still need to do your own thinking. That’s what business analysis is all about.

Separate business analysis from technical design

Business analysis is about thinking what your solution should do, while design is about how to make it happen using the technology available. Bearing this in mind will make it easier to avoid blending these two phases. What and How. This will help you to build more robust systems.

What your business does doesn’t change as much as how it gets done. Technology changes more quickly than business needs. Companies restructure. But what they do hasn’t changed, just which individual does it. Business analysis gives a logical view of process and data needs and is not bound by physical implementation.

IT specialists and business users regularly complain about their misunderstandings. Of course they don’t understand each other. The technical people are concerned with making best use of their technology, the users are concerned with achieving their business goals. Business analysis should neatly bridge the gap.

The Terms of Reference produced during the Initiate phase should include, unambiguously, the Problem to be solved, the Objective to be achieved in order to solve that problem, Constraints and Scope.
The purpose of Business analysis is to:
find the cause of the problem – after all, people are really describing symptoms, not problems

look at alternative solutions which will achieve the objective

pick the most acceptable solution

document that solution in detail, so that no ambiguities are passed to the design team

Techniques of business analysis

In order to dig beneath problems and find solutions, many techniques are used which are beyond the scope of this paper. They include carefully structured interviews, document gathering, brainstorming, risk analysis, cost-benefit analysis and many more.

Tools of business analysis

Only four tools are needed for Analysis: two for Processes and two for Data.
For processes, the Dataflow Diagram (DFD) shows the business processes in a system and their connections to each other, while the business specifications show the business rules for each process. For data, the Entity-Relationship Diagram (ER Diagram) shows the things which need to be stored from a business perspective, and the Data Dictionary details the specific items (fields) needed for each entity and their connections to dataflows on the DFD.
The purpose of this paper is not to show how to construct these models, but to demonstrate the importance of their use in a business model rather than a technical model.

Any idiot can draw an ER diagram

This is true, but the quality of the resultant model often leaves much to be desired. Reflect business needs in the model and leave nothing to chance. Be careful with such things as mandatory and optional relationships and data items, as your final system must cater for 100% of business requirements, not the most likely events. Never try to combine documenting business data requirements with a database design.

If the business model is accurate, the design will be easy to produce, and can be easily modified in light of business requirements and new technology.

Why a dataflow diagram is better than a function hierarchy

A function hierarchy shows the major functions in a system and drills down to their detail, but shows nothing of data requirements for those processes. It’s very easy to inadvertently omit lower level processes. A function hierarchy is not immediately obvious to a user who needs to double-check the accuracy of your model.

A dataflow diagram similarly shows the major functions and drills down, but as the dataflows act as the “glue” which holds the processes together, it is simple to construct such a diagram in collaboration with a business representative. “What information do you need to perform this process? Where does it come from? What information is produced? Where does it go to?” In this way the individual processes can be gradually added to the model and nothing will be missed. Complex processes can be drilled down and related processes can be grouped together.

A large dataflow diagram is difficult to read and difficult to maintain, so it loses its effectiveness as a communication tool with both business users and the technical team. Instead, have about seven processes per diagram and drill down to more detailed diagrams, with a numbering system to cross-reference. For example, the details of process 3 will be numbered 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 etc and will appear on diagram number 3. Then the high level diagrams can be used for discussion with management and the lower level diagrams can be used for detailed double-checking with users who are expert in that area.The function hierarchy now exists automatically. There is no need to draw it separately.

Many analysts prefer to use a process model which includes “swim lanes” for identifying who performs each process. This is simply a dataflow diagram in a different format. It’s fine to begin analysis using such a diagram, but by the end of analysis the swim lanes should have disappeared, as your model should be resilient enough to survive restructures in the business. You are documenting what needs to be done, not who does it or how.

The dataflows should be specified with their detailed contents in the data dictionary, as should the datastores. Gradually the dataflow diagram will help to build up the data model so that your data definitions will support the processes.

Include all processes in the dataflow diagram, even the ones which seem trivial. I heard of a project recently which fell into the trap of “Reporting is easy, we’ll leave that until the end.” At build time, the data required for reports proved to be inaccessible.

Multiple versions of the model

Document the existing system first, including all its faults, with no improvements added. The cause of the problems is in there somewhere and you should not jump to conclusions about the best way to solve it.

Remove the how from the current physical model, giving a current logical model. Then work out the best way to solve the problems and include new requirements. This gives the new logical model, ready for design.

In some cases problems can be solved by simply rearranging work practices, saving unnecessary expense in design. Does this do the technical team out of a job? Not at all. They can be released to use their expertise where it will make most difference on other projects.

Writing the spec

Do not write a single large specification. It will be wrong, as you will miss some detail and will be unable to easily modify it. And nobody will be able to memorise the whole thing. Instead write a single specification for each detailed process – a “mini-spec”. Each can be double-checked with the appropriate business expert. The collection of all these mini-specs is your specification for the whole system. Each is individually easy to maintain without affecting the rest of the specification.
Specs should not include any technical information – simply the business rules fro that process. The design team can work out the best way of making it happen.

What to automate?

Looking at the dataflow diagrams with the business representatives and the technical team will enable you to decide on the best implementation. This is based on such factors as what is acceptable to the business, what is technically possible, what fits with constraints of budget and time.

You may decide on a complete automation, partial automation, phased implementation or some other great idea. Then hand over to the design team.

Combining analysis and design

Don’t ever do it. You are saving nothing.

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