Business analysis is not the same as business analysis. In reality, different variants exist which need to be applied according to the given examination aspect and goals.
These different applications result from the various tasks uncovered over the course of digitalizing business processes and supporting processes. As a starting point, these variants can be divided into:
- Sub-business process analysis/IT system analysis
- Business process analysis
- Enterprise analysis
We take a closer look at these areas below.
Sub-Business Process Analysis
Sub-business process analysis focuses on a section of a business process. As a result, in practice it is best applied when individual process steps need to be digitalized. In this way, it is very similar to conventional requirements engineering, since it focuses on the requirements placed on an IT system. Although this focus makes it possible to come up with an optimal design of a system’s functionality, the process as a whole is not optimized.
In reality, this variant is the one which comes up the most frequently in practice, since it is generally intended to further optimize existing processes without shaking up the basic process framework. The advantage of this variant lies in its clear, manageable scope. However, the local optimization of a process leads to the potential of process optimization not being fully exploited in the long run.
Business Process Analysis
By contrast, business process analysis focuses on an end-to-end examination of an entire process. This variant is most often used when creating entire processes from scratch. Examples include:
- A process is being completely digitalized for the very first time.
- The IT system for a process is being replaced or significantly changed, e.g. multiple systems are being merged together or the technology of individual process steps is being changed.
- The performance data for a process is no longer adequate, and needs to undergo a fundamental redesign involving the use of IT systems.
Unfortunately, in practical implementation, many companies find this variant is still associated with barriers which need to be overcome, those between responsibility for process design/optimization and responsibility for designing and developing IT systems. Still, this does not seem to be advisable in terms of the fact that business processes are being extensively digitalized wherever possible. At least a close collaboration, or even an integration is desirable so as to be able to take on future challenges.
Enterprise analysis in turn has an even larger scope. This variant examines entire process groups, suborganizations, or in extreme cases even the entire organization itself, then works out optimizations. To put it roughly, company objectives are associated with processes, services, systems and technologies and examined as a whole. This approach cannot be implemented with normal process analysis; instead, enterprise analysis methods (TOGAF, ArchiMate) must be applied. Furthermore, preparations for the analysis must be more than just technical. First, objectives must be clearly defined by corporate management. In addition, successful implementation also requires close collaboration with internal stakeholders and/or external consultants from the areas of finance and costs, marketing and sales, production, research and development, etc.
In the opinion of business analysts, this approach will lead to creation of an IT service and system landscape which is based on and is tailored to optimized processes. The advantage of this method lies in its holistic examination of the organization and the focusing on process digitalization which is integrated in the method. Its disadvantage is clearly its high complexity. In practice, we have also frequently noted the lack of clear company objectives and also the problem that designing processes is an operation which cannot always be handled in a purely rational manner, especially when changes are being made to the organizational structure.
The challenge: Getting the right level of detail
The experts at Spirit in Projects are here to advise you on how you can apply business analysis for your company’s success. In addition, we provide training which can help you build up your company’s know-how in the area of business analysis.