‘Business Analysis’ is an umbrella term that gets used often too narrowly for requirements gathering and acting as the bridge between users and development teams on projects.
Our point of view is that Business Analysis is about investigating the business situation, planning out how it may be improved upon, evaluating and recommending potential solutions and working with users on deployment and training; all this in addition to eliciting, analyzing and documenting the requirements of systems, IT or otherwise.
Here is our take at what a Business Analyst does outside requirements management on a CRM initiative. We cover aspects that involve activities leading up to the project; and during and after the implementation, working with users on implementing and championing a new and improved business process.
The analysis of project benefits and costs, the documentation of risk, impact and mitigation strategies is the essence of a Business Case that every significant CRM initiative will need to present to the Project Sponsors. While keeping an eye for the costs is the full time activity of a Project Manager, the Business Analyst becomes the custodian of Benefits realization from the project.Preparing the business case also involves mapping the high level requirements to available solution options, evaluating their fit for the project needs.
It is common for Business Analysts to also wear the hat of a Training Manager or Change Management specialist on a project. It is one thing to think of user adoption as an activity or after thought at the end of a solution being developed but in the well-run project with an effective Business Analyst; this role is the voice of user adoption even during upstream activities such as requirements, design and development.