Business analysis is the research discipline of identifying business needs and determining solutions to business problems. Solutions often include a systems development component, but can also include organizational change or strategic planning and policy development. Sub-disciplines of business analysis include enterprise analysis or company analysis. This job conducts feasibility studies and conducts initial risk assessments. Next, requirement planning and management involves determining which requirements are the highest priority for implementation.
Business analysis also requires elicitation, which encompasses brainstorming, focus groups, interviews, and surveys. Documentation is also required, which includes architectural analysis and business process analysis. Lastly, any business or industry analysis includes a solution assessment and validation. This looks at how to fix new solutions and how to assess possible shortcomings.1
There are a few generic business analysis tools, some of which include: PESTEL (political, economic, sociological, technical, legal, and environmental), SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats), and Porter's Five Forces. Business analysts usually pick one of three subfields to specialize in since business analysis is too broad: strategist, architect, or systems analyst. Strategists are well versed in analyzing strategic profiles of an organization and its environment, advising senior management on policies and the effects of policy decisions.1
Architects are involved with the redesigning of different core business processes, the application of technology to support change, and managing organizational change. Finally, systems analysts determine how to get the best return from IT investments and focus on the IT part of the change process.
1. Hass, K. B., Vander Horst, R., & Ziemski, K. (2008). From Analyst to Leader: Elevating the Role of the Business Analyst Management Concepts, p94.