We saw about the problems and the ways of defining a solution to those problems in PART 3. Also, I had mentioned that when a problem arises, there is a need for the business to resolve that problem. So, what would be business needs? It again depends on the problems which they face. By definition, Needs are desires of the project customer that focuses on a business problem; its fulfillment is strategic to organization goals. In IT world, it is to identify and define why a change to an organizational system or capabilities is required.
Determining specific business needs is the main objective which as a business analyst you might need to clarify and understand it completely in order to be most effective, as the solution is driven by those needs and your project will also be evaluated based on those.
Most of the business needs arise due to the common issues such as loss of revenue, customer complaints or a direction towards which the entire organization need to move, like regulatory bodies defining a common rule which need to be followed by all the organizations. In our previous example on the problem faced by the hotel business on customer smoking, the main business need was to eradicate this particular problem which was resulting in bad customer experience and due to which there was a revenue loss. So, without someone acting as an analyst, the business wouldn’t have a compass or a map to guide them in resolving such issues.
As an analyst, here you are in the role of defining the needs from the business point of view (remember the initial writing, where I mentioned the different type of business analysts, this role is more from the person who is working from business side to provide the details to the technology or provide solutions by themselves), you are expected to define the business needs considering the following points
1. How then different stake holders like end users, front-line workers, management, vendors or any other stake holders / different business units define the perceived problem?
2. The areas which are affected by the problem, like client retention, gross/net revenue or development budgets etc.
3. Feasibility, drawbacks and benefits of suggested solutions to eradicate the mentioned problem, like in terms of manpower, revenue, capacity.
When you say you need to define a business need, you can represent that need in terms of multiple ways. When there is a technological improvement required based on your business need and when you are trying to define the business need for technology to understand, don’t define in such a way that what you want system to do for your need, define what your expectation from the need for your business improvement. As when it is defined in terms of what business need is that time, the change in the business based on that need is also identified. So, think and specify your needs in terms of new, value-delivering processes and opportunities like how you want to work in the future, the process steps, information needs and process logic. Then you'll have systems that align exactly with your needs.
The business need is not typically a stand-alone deliverable or document. Instead, the business need is a very high-level business requirement that should be included in the business requirements document or business case for your proposed project.
In traditional method of defining a need, an analyst will define the need in terms of his requirements, corresponding document known as Business Requirements Document and all the details of the changes that are expected shall be incorporated in to one single document. In modern trend, everyone being agile in their process, the needs are split in to individual stories and each story explaining a specific requirement for that need. Since the story is defined by the end user, it is again termed as a User story and a model user story will look like below
As a hotel manager, I need to have smoking zones in my hotel so that I can have a better customer experience and increase in revenue because of that.
To define the business need and understand the desired outcome, try brainstorming with end users and personnel, analyzing the current ways the company does business to identify weaknesses, interviewing subject matter experts, and holding focus groups for stakeholders and users. Analyze every aspect of the business, even those you aren’t confident are part of the issue.
So, what’s next!!! Yes, now we have “opportunities” to explore further!
Credit: RANGA, mordernanalyst.com
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