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What is business analysis in IT

The importance of business analysis in software development

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Business analysis has become a buzzword in the IT-sphere. But is it just a trendy word? Or does it really play an important role in IT projects? In this article, we are going to provide you with all the necessary information on the issue that will help you to understand whether you need it (Spoiler: It is highly possible that yes! So, we recommend you not to ignore this necessity).

What is software business analysis?

Business analysis is a complex of activities that are aimed at studying and documenting business processes for the system that is under development, determination of the key functional requirements and its core features, working on the details of the project and the requirements that should set the detection of the product as well as supporting its further implementation.

As a rule, the majority of software projects today have such specialists as business analysts. Such an expert starts performing its functions from the very beginning of the project realization. His or her work starts with communication with key stakeholders and the main task, in this case, is to discuss and agree on the project’s vision as well as to set on the requirements. What is probably even more important, a business analyst helps customers to look at their products from different perspectives and to realize their essential needs.

Quite often the analysis procedure begins with the identification of the tasks that the new product has to deal with and the problems that it is supposed to solve. It is extremely important to ensure that all the stakeholders of the project have the same vision, otherwise, the project is bound to fail.

In other words, we can say that a business analyst is a person who makes customers’ needs and dreams well-structured, absolutely understandable and fully formalized.

How can a business analyst make sure that the unified vision on the project goals has been achieved? There are several ways that can help them to do it. Let us provide them as an example:

  1. Holding interviews. Interviews can’t be viewed as a new tool. They are quite old but their efficiency doesn’t need to be proved. To get the opinion of stakeholders, a business analyst has to ask them a series of questions.
  2. Communication between stakeholders. Business analysis can be viewed as a glue between different parties who are involved in the project and is aimed at building trustworthy relationships between them.
  3. Analysis of documents. If there are some existing documents, it can be a good idea to look through them and analyze the available data on ongoing processes, gathering the concerns and suggestions that have been already documented.
  4. Prototyping. If some project requirements are not clear, a prototype can be a good solution that can help to understand the system much better without investing too much money at once.

But what can happen if the software is built without a proper analysis? Okay, that’s not the end of the world. Everyone will stay alive and the sun won’t fall down to the Earth (we can guarantee that without any doubts). If you are an extremely lucky person, everything may be great. And there is a chance (a small, but it is still a chance) that even without analysis, you will get an excellent software product. However, in the majority of cases, it may happen so that your developers will build a working product but it won’t meet all the requirements, it may not have a full stack of features and it may even solve not all the problems that it was initially intended to.

That’s great when such issues can be solved just by adding some extra functions. However, quite often it may turn out that your product has to be rebuilt from the very beginning.

And as a result, you may lose quite impressive sums of money.

As you see the role of a business analyst is quite important and to support this point of view we have gathered some more examples when software business analysis can help you to save your funds.

The importance of business analysis in software development: Real cases

Some companies believe that having a business analyst (or analysts) in a team may lead to additional expenses that can easily be avoided. So, yes, if you do not have a specialist on your staff, you can save some money thanks to the lack of the necessity to pay salary to him or her as well as the necessity to spend money on some other administrative procedures related to hiring. But while making a decision to avoid onboarding business analysts on your project, haven’t you considered all the possible losses and expenses that you will have to bear if you do not hire such a specialist?

It may sound strange but having an analyst (or analysts) in your team can significantly save your money. In other words, it is cheaper to have an analyst than not to have.

We understand that you may say that all this sounds ridiculous. That’s why we’ve prepared a couple of examples that we’ve faced in our practice.

Case 1. A couple of months ago, we received an inquiry from a company that had a corporate desktop Windows app. They used this software by their team to coordinate a wide range of their business tasks. The app was quite modern and looked quite pleasant (we want you to understand that it wasn’t something obsolete that was difficult to use). However, the company wanted to migrate its logic to the cloud. On one hand, we could do that and receive our money. On the other hand, we understood that our main aim was (and is) to help our clients to find the most appropriate solutions for their businesses. We analyzed their software and realized that there were no objective reasons for that migration. Even without going into technical details, we saw that, first of all, the use of that desktop didn’t require any huge costs and, secondly, in reality, the company didn’t need to move its app and resources to the cloud (they were not going to provide access to their data to any remote workers and the only place from where they all worked with their app was their own office and their own computers).

When we asked their team representative about the reasons for their desire to migrate the app to the cloud we heard a little bit of a strange but quite common thing. He said that they just wanted to keep their app up-to-date and they decided that moving to the cloud could be quite a trendy solution. To tell the truth, later we were not surprised to understand that they didn’t have a business analyst who could have estimated the feasibility of such a decision.

Of course, we explained to the company why we didn’t recommend migrating their software. And they agreed with us. Instead of moving the software logic to the cloud, we added some new features to it to facilitate some processes and all the parties involved in this situation were satisfied.

Case 2. Another situation was even sadder than the previous one. However, it had a happy end as well. Without consulting with a business analyst, one firm decided to order an app for their corporate needs. The functionality was thought out by the firm’s management who had little understanding of how all these things would work. The outsource team that they hired didn’t go into details and built an app in strict accordance with the provided requirements. And the app worked. And it worked well. But did it solve the problems that it had been supposed to solve? Unfortunately not.

The firm was quite disappointed and found us to save the situation. And we managed to help them. We deeply analyzed the issue and offered a couple of ways how everything could be improved with the smallest losses (but do not forget that the firm had already paid for the first version of their app).

But was it possible to avoid all the losses? Sure. If they had had a business analyst.

As you see, having a business analyst can be a very good idea if you do not like bearing extra expenses for the solutions that do not solve your problems.

If you do not have such specialists in your team (and do not want to hire them), at Softacom, we are always ready to provide you with our help in the sphere of business analysis and software documentation preparation. We have rich expertise in such aspects and will be happy to help you.

Just contact us to get all the necessary assistance.

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