As per PMI Guide, 2015, Business Analysis is defined as -
- Determine problems and identify business needs;
- Identify and recommend viable solutions to meet those needs;
- Elicit, document and manage stakeholder requirements in order to meet the business and project objectives;
- Facilitate the successful implementation of the project, service or end result of the project or program.
In short, business analysis is a set of activities performed to identify business needs and recommend relevant solutions; and to elicit, document and manage requirements. Business Analyst’s (BA), who performs this activities, interfaces with multiple stakeholders
during the execution of a project and covers a gamut of activities to meet end objectives.
BA community, in the group parlance, is structured to provide a unified and well defined ‘Business Analyst’ view, which is more business centric and less technical, to various stakeholders thereby earning the tag of BA CoE – Business Analyst Center of Excellence.
The Center of Excellence thus becomes the notional custodian of the BA skills, responsible for team formation, skill development (both in domain and numbers), BA allocations and load management, knowledge dissemination, evaluation and overall reporting to
the universe of stakeholders.
The BA CoE, in addition to performing its role as a practice leader in an organization, nurtures the talent within the organization, helps to mitigate business skill availability by operating as a resourcing partner. Working collaboratively with business
leaders, it helps with project readiness and assessment of required analytical skills. It can provide projects with the necessary talent from a pool of highly skilled and matured BAs. In this capacity, it can provide BA resources to the organization using
a scalable service approach, with the benefit of promoting requirements standardization, methodology and custody of domain knowledge.
In that context, the BA CoE provides a clear direction for all business analysis work by using accepted best-practice methods to deliver high quality work in a dependable, predictable and reusable manner; especially to areas challenged by the lack of these
resources. It can also ensure the work will be performed with the critical knowledge of tested processes and methodologies. The knowledge assimilated by associates is retained and leveraged for the future benefits of other engagements. When absolutely needed,
the BA CoE can provisionally scale up to accommodate any high demand for resources from its pool. The scale up or scale down in resource allocation exempts business units of the need to sustain staffing beyond the absolute need thereby providing better cost
The focus of the CoE is on multiple areas of activities, ranging from capacity management to ensuring adequate availability of skilled BAs for training and development, knowledge management and capability building of all members of the CoE, thereby helping
the organization to enhance its delivery capabilities.
For achieving its objectives, the CoE focuses on the following areas:
- Capacity Management: BA requirements for the complete planning year
- Capacity Utilization: Optimal utilization of pool resources, based on complexity and domain specifics.
- Training and skill development: With distinct skill sets and knowledge levels across the BA CoE, it needs to ensure that training and mentoring is made available to all the members on a near continuous basis. The training covers Fresh graduates being trained
as BAs and aspiring BAs introduced to business domains and mentored on BA skills
- Domain related training prior to the project assignment
- Based on requirement, specialist certifications within the identified domains
- Knowledge Management: Creating and maintaining a strong knowledge repository for the BA CoE, which can be leveraged for greater productivity as well as knowledge enhancement by other community members.
- Productivity Enablers: Effective, practical and simple to use artifacts like BRD, FSD, Use Cases etc. templates are the productivity enablers for BAs. They use these templates at various stages of their day-to-day project and reporting activities. The BA
COE is the ultimate owner of all these templates and reusable artifacts.
- Performance Management: BA CoE facilitates the performance target setting and, coordinate the evaluation for the diverse groups across business and technology in ensuring measurement of quality delivery
The commercial benefits of this model, when implemented and extrapolated across the organization can be mind boggling. It’s a simple math that the costly use of temporary resources with no long term value and zero commitment to the organization versus the
effective use of skilled resources at minimal cost with the added value of knowledge retention.
BA CoE is not just a Resource Pool :
More often than not, a wrong notion that BA CoE is just a resource pool is perceived across organization; where the focus is more on capacity building at the expense of knowledge building and delivery. Success of BA CoE is also quite often measured only
on the number of BAs deployed on productive engagements (internal or external). In true sense, the success of BA CoE should be measured by key productivity drivers like skill development, delivery capability, wide range of domain expertise and knowledge assimilation.
It should not be measured on the head count of BA it deploys or the utilization ratio.
Training & Certifications :
The business of Business Analysis training and certification programs is responding quite well to the market influences. Dependence on these associations is at an all-time high. The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) remains outstanding
with its business analysis certification program and now the Project Management Institute (PMI); an organization more known for its project, program and portfolio management standards, is offering a Business Analysis certification program of their own. Other
training organizations are also experiencing a surge in business with requests for training for the business analyst novice as well as the seasoned Business Analyst practice professionals.