By Design: The Transformative Value of Business Analysis

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

Maybe it’s just me, but by my way of thinking, proper business analysis (BA) is one of the most underutilized disciplines within organizations today. Perhaps BA is so poorly practiced and unappreciated because senior management doesn’t understand what it is and thus don’t “get” how BA can provide value in driving strategic initiatives into operational reality. Or maybe it’s because most “business analysts” are limited in their command of the skills and talents needed to deliver transformative value to the organization.

High-value BA requires proficiency in many disciplines, including:

  • Strategic thinking and planning
  • Business planning
  • Leadership
  • Financial management
  • Organizational change management
  • Operational process analysis
  • Business process improvement
  • Competitive and industry trend analysis
  • Data-structured analysis
  • Cross-functional facilitation
  • Application requirements
  • Project management

…and more. Perhaps the term “analysis” (the process of breaking things apart) is part of the reason BA is so misunderstood. In actuality, BA is more about discovering and designing solutions to business issues and opportunities than it is about analysis. Maybe the process of “business analysis” should be called “business design,” in which analysis is just part of the…

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If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man but deteriorate the cat.

- Mark Twain