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Delivering Client Strategy through Innovative Business Analysis
By Tim Coventry, CEO, Business Analysts
Business analysis is about improving business performance. It is the foundation for innovation, business agility, cost reduction, cyber security, and risk control. Good business analysis allows you to deliver better products and/or services to your customers, often through leveraging digital technology.
To deliver a successful strategy using technology, good business analysis is a must for a CIO. By working with an expert in business analysis, you’ll pick the right initiatives, your projects or initiatives will be created for you to the highest of standards, and you’ll also have a far lower risk of failure.
You’ll achieve peace of mind knowing your business will have:
• Greater engagement with IT
• A very good result in aligning with your IT strategy
• A better chance of making new changes stick
• Decisive project decision making at a portfolio level
• Improvement of projects or initiatives and lower chance of failure
• Commitment to change in support of improved technology
• Improved results
• A higher return on investment
Effective business analysis engages and empowers stakeholders, allowing them to find better ways to deliver value to customers.
A great Business Analyst can cost the same as an average one—so why would you settle for less?
Here’s the Thing about Business Analysis
Business analysis is all about helping your company to think about the "why" in your strategy. This will prevent technology initiatives from providing little or no value to your organization.
Example #1 of good business analysis
We were engaged to analyze cash handling business process after an audit report. This report raised concerns over staff counting cash. The goal was to improve the process to deliver improved security controls.
Results of our first executive stakeholder meeting, we proved through strategic questioning, most of the company's customers were familiar with credit and loyalty credit cards.
There was an opportunity to both replace cash with branded pre-paid loyalty cards.
Business analysis is about improving business performance. It is the foundation for innovation, business agility, cost reduction, cyber security, and risk control
By understanding the requirements and the context of the organization, we were able to provide a solution.
Furthermore, it reduced the use of cash to the point where the audit concerns were resolved. Rebranding the internal customer card created an environment with better compliance reporting and customer patronage. The cash handling process was the issue, but the processes around it provide the solution.
Example #2 of good business analysis
Client requests us to assist them with the use of a barcode scanner. This scanner would be used for inward and outward goods at their warehouse.
To begin with, we completed an initial analysis of the stock handling process. Our detailed analysis revealed that using barcodes was going to require a large overhead to put into effect.
• Over 40 percent of outgoing stock in the original packaging without useable barcodes.
• 10 percent of stock was individually prepared for dispatch.
We found the Return on Investment (ROI) would be negative. For this reason, it was not a viable solution.
Good business analysis resulted in the client making the decision not to go any further with a solution but to repurpose the effort to improving the business process. The business outcome was that we were able to provide high value to the client.
Example #3 of good business analysis
Another client sought a solution to manage the approval process and documents. These were associated with their major energy capital projects, having a value of up to $100 million in an individual project.
We performed the business process automation analysis. We also mapped the future state processes, exploring the business and functional requirements through a series of stakeholder workshops. We used aspects of our method, and customized templates in line with the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABoK®).
Based on these documented processes and requirements we developed an automated workflow solution.
The outcomes of the process automation solution were-
• Increased consistency of the approval process
• An automated audit trail for the approvals
• An increase in the tracking of documents, resulting in a greater efficiency with approvals
• A reliable mechanism for staff to determine the status of payment requests and payments
• Reduced time by eliminating manual and resource wastage on printing and manual approvals
• And reduced physical file storage
In the final analysis, the outcome of minimized approval delays reduced the external contract resources required for approval processes. Within six months, the full cost of developing the solution was paid for by using the automated workflow.
An expert business analyst requires a unique skillset that many senior executives have never experienced. However, you need to realize that engaging an organization that can deliver proper business analysis will provide a far greater chance of project success.
As increasingly competitive organisations look to become more innovative to survive and prosper with technology, business analysis is critical.
If you want to stand out as a CIO from the rest, then you need Good Business Analysis!