What Are the Different Types of Business Analysis Resources?

Peter Hann

Business analysis resources enable a business to assess its goals, adopt the correct strategy and identify necessary organizational changes. The tools available to the business analyst include techniques such as decision tables and control charts — with suitable accompanying software — to quantify the challenges facing the enterprise. Mapping techniques such as context diagrams and scenario modeling may be used to examine the direction of organizational changes and strategic objectives. Proposed projects and strategies may be analyzed using SWOT and PESTLE analyses, mind mapping software and brainstorming sessions. The business process may require improvement through the adoption of techniques such as Six Sigma.

A SWOT analysis is a common type of business analysis.
A SWOT analysis is a common type of business analysis.

Reaching the strategic goals of an organization may require an accurate analysis of the current business needs and identification of areas where organizational change is needed. This may help to identify new projects that would further the goals of the enterprise, conduct feasibility studies for potential new projects, and assess the risks facing the business if it undertakes the projects. With the help of business analysis resources, including the appropriate software, the business analyst may build up models of the business and test the outcomes of different courses of action.

Particular roles can be assigned to members during a brainstorming session.
Particular roles can be assigned to members during a brainstorming session.

Having assessed the aims of the enterprise and appropriate strategies, the enterprise may employ business analysis resources to identify areas within the organization that need improvement. The business analyst may, for example, recommend a strategy that concentrates on the core competence of the enterprise. Business processes may require redesign and improvement on a continuous basis, and methods such as Six Sigma could be used to constantly increase the quality of output and reduce defects in production.

Other business analysis resources include the SWOT analysis, which looks at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats within an organization, and at the opportunities and threats facing the enterprise from the outside business environment. The conclusions from the SWOT analysis may be used to design new programs and adapt existing strategies to face the future opportunities and threats. A PESTLE analysis — or political, economic, social and technological analysis — looks at the different aspects of the environment within which the organization is operating, examining the political, economic, sociological, technological, legal and environmental situation within which the enterprise must operate. Brainstorming may be conducted using the six thinking hats, a technique proposed by Edward de Bono that assigns a particular role — such as creative thinker, optimistic planner or hard-headed critic — to each participant to help ensure that a wide range of viewpoints is aired. Proposed strategies may be tested by critical techniques such as the five whys, in which the question "Why?" is posed five times in response to proposals, or by the five Ws, asking who, what, where, when, why and how.

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