Business Analysis is increasingly becoming an interesting field of work. It was born in an era heavily influenced by waterfall methodologies and has not only survived the transition to agile but is becoming increasingly important to businesses.
It seems that many people, holding different job titles, find their day to day work incorporates more and more “business analysis” activities.
Secondly, with the increased presence of digital technologies now affecting the majority of new solutions, people need to have one foot in business and the other in IT. On one hand, they need a better understanding of how solutions incorporating digital technologies are going to be used, how they will deliver value, and become better acquainted with the customers’ perspective. At the same time, they need a better understanding of the capabilities of IT and to find sharper designs to deliver expected value. Those working mainly on the business side, find themselves increasingly immersed in technology driven discussions and those on the technology side, are involved in early stages of product ideation.
Good solutions are born when both sides are involved and aligned with each other.
In addition, business analysis activities are now, more than ever before, a concern of managers as well. Managers are finding themselves increasingly discussing aspects that are encompassed by business analysis. In a discussion with an experienced and seasoned manager, I was told that 15 years ago IT related discussions comprised about 15% of his agenda whereas today, it is closer to 80%.
There is an increased demand for persons who have their expertise in business or IT but are able to adapt to either task. These resources exist but they have been schooled by experiences accumulated at work, by taking corporate training courses, or having read up on the topic.
After having worked for more than 18 years with business analysis, having trained new employees in business analysis, and taught the subject to numerous students at University level, one thing has become increasingly apparent. There are no textbooks that cover the main aspects of BABOK while providing students with examples and case studies, suitable as course literature or self-study, particularly in the context of digital technologies.
This is not due to a lack of very good books on business analysis – there are many – but rather that they either focus on a specific aspect of business analysis or are excellent as reference books. BABOK is an impressive body of knowledge and gathers together the relevant aspects of business analysis in one book While it is comprehensive, it neither aims nor tries to cover the topics in more detail. While it has limitations for use as course literature, it is invaluable as a reference book.
In a similar vein, the book entitled Business Analysis covers the business analysis process and an impressive list of different tools and techniques. The authors have also written a complimentary book that briefly introduces 99 business analysis techniques.
Again, these are valuable for experienced business analysts who need to quickly find a brief overview of different techniques.
Other excellent titles such as Seven Steps of Mastering Business Analysis, The Business Analyst’s Handbook, Business Analyst’s Mentor Book, and Business Analysis for Practitioners either focus on certain aspects of the business analysis process or share very interesting insights born out of years of experience.
As such, they should be on the reading list of every aspiring business analyst. However, it is difficult to build a course on such titles. At a more specialized level, there is an impressive list of titles that deal with certain aspects of business analysis, specifically on the topic of business analysis and agile methods. A few examples are The Power of the Agile Business Analyst and The Agile Business Analysts: Moving from Waterfall to Agile. Other titles such as Business Analysis and Leadership: Influencing Change deal with the complicated aspect of change and business analysis. Other titles focus on different aspects of business analysis work such as requirement management or business process management.
In the light of this context, a textbook is required that: Covers many of the aspects of business analysis work with enough detail and examples to allow for both self-study and as a basis for courses on business analysis. Covers the entire business analysis process from external business context to solution evaluation, and the main principles of good business analysis work. Contains numerous illustrative examples and classroom tested case studies for students to test their skills and for instructors to use in class as a basis for discussions or homework/assignments. Is aligned with BABOK. Frames business analysis within the context of digital technologies.
In light of this context, this book introduces modern business analysis techniques, including a selection of those in the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK) by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), and exemplifies them by means of digital technologies applied to solve problems or exploit new business opportunities. It also includes in-depth case studies in which business problems and opportunities, drawn from real-world scenarios, are mapped to digital solutions. The work is summarized in seven guiding principles that should be followed by every business analyst.
This book is intended mainly for students in business informatics and related areas, and for professionals who want to acquire a solid background for their daily work. It is suitable both for courses and for self-study.