Business Analysis - Considering Process Analysis


Business analysis is about more than software development. It can help business leaders to understand the business and develop resourcing, training and IT strategies. Through careful analysis of workflows and business processes you can identify opportunities for increasing efficiency and profitability. You can use business analysis techniques to help you identify potential processing bottlenecks or under-utilisation of costly resources.

Let’s consider business processes, for instance. All organizations, whether they are huge multi-national corporations or sole traders, need to operate ‘business processes’ in order to carry out the day-to-day activities of the business. By carrying out a ‘process mapping’ exercise on these processes you can focus on what is being done, why it is being done and who is doing it. The process map can be a simple, static ‘snapshot’ of your business that will help you identify your logical process groups (simple examples being: operations; marketing and account management; monitoring and reporting) or it can be a full-blown process analysis exercise which can allow you to recognize your organisation’s strengths and weakness and may help to identify a need for change.

For example, understanding your marketing processes can help you to identify information that you need to hold about your organization and your customers. Once the information has been gathered and stored it can be manipulated by your marketing people (or yourself if you’re a sole trader) to understand current trends and predict future ones. From this manipulation future marketing strategies can be formulated to take advantage of the opportunities that have been identified. Furthermore, the marketing strategy may help you prepare for highs and lows in your organisation’s operational sector, so that, for instance, you always have enough resources available to work to full capacity.

The process analysis exercise can help you to identify faulty workflows that are causing bottlenecks in your process which may be costing you time and money, or processing delays that cause your customers to lose faith in your ability to deliver an efficient quality service. Or there may be areas of duplicated effort, for example, you may be capturing the same information in more than one process. Identifying these duplications will help you to streamline your processing to maximize the value gained from your resources.

Business process analysis is just one technique that is performed by business analysts, and it can offer valuable outputs that have nothing to do with implementation of new software packages or computerized systems, but everything to do with improving efficiency and ensuring that you offer an efficient, top quality service to your customers.

Author: Jenny Blinman is a senior Business Analyst and trainer for Bright Methods Ltd, a Bristol based training company. Call 0800 0217483 for more details.

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