Your own determination, along with the support of a few key individuals, is usually enough to get your business off the ground. In many ways, that’s the hard part. However, the next phase is almost as challenging. If your business cannot stand out from the crowd and succeed over the long term, your determination will have been for nothing, and the people who supported you will have sacrificed in vain.
That’s where business analyst training comes into play. These individuals take your good ideas and formulate effective strategies that implement these ideas, giving your business the edge it needs to thrive in an ever-competitive environment.
Long-term thinking (where do we want to be in five years) is very important, because most businesses are organic entities which are either growing or contracting. Strategic planning goes a step further into the implementation phase. A business analyst examines your goals, assesses the resources which are available or soon to be available, and then formulates a plan to get your business from Point A to Point B. According to successful business planner Michael Porter, effective strategic planning involves four key elements:
- Organization’s strengths and weaknesses,
- Management’s personality traits,
- Industry trends, and
- Societal expectations
A highly-trained business analyst uses all four of these elements to formulate a strategic plan for your business.
Business model analysis
In a nutshell, a business model is a way an organization delivers value to its customers, whether that value is economic, social, or cultural. One tried-and-true business model is the bait and hook approach. For example, a cell phone is a bait and the airtime is the hook. As technology and competitiveness advance, business models must change as well, becoming ever more sophisticated. The result should be a model that takes into account such factors as core capabilities, cost structure, and value propositions.
Once a business moves beyond the core individuals that started it, it’s very important to standardize the workflow in that organization, to ensure that it continues providing value to customers. Without this component, the business simply cannot survive.
IT organizations require a special kind of business analysis. Systems analysis is more than evaluating business procedures and designing systems that implement these procedures, although that is a very big part of the job. Systems analysis also entails helping decision-makers make better choices. These analysts must possess a special skill set because they must examine different parts of the business and get them all moving in the same direction for the same purpose.
Business analysts do not design a system then move onto the next problem. Instead, they remain focused on that same task, continually evaluating results to ensure that the business plan which the thinkers envisioned is moving forward at ground level. If something isn’t working, good business analysts have no pride of authorship. Instead, they set about designing a new system that addresses unforeseen issues.
In all five areas, there’s a difference between any business analysts and a highly-trained business analyst. Maybe it’s time that your business experienced the difference firsthand.