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BCS Business Analysis (3rd Edition) Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.

Business Change Lifecycle

Alignment and Definition

Analysis of the Organi­sation
Business Needs Analysis
Requir­ements Analysis
in order to determine new ways of working that will improve the organi­sat­ion’s
efficiency and effect­iveness


Change Design


Business Acceptance Testing


Benefits Review
Benefits Realis­ation


Internal Enviro­nment Analysis



Mission A statement declaring what business the organi­sation is in and what it is intending to achieve.
Objectives The specific goals against which the organi­sat­ion’s achiev­ements can be measured.
Strategy The medium to long-term approach that is going to be taken by the organi­sation in order to achieve the objectives and mission.
Tactics The detailed means by which the strategy will be executed

Resource Audit

Physical resources that the organi­sation owns or has access to and includes features such as buildings, plant and equipment, land
Financial resources that determine the organi­sat­ion’s financial stability, capacity to invest in new resources and ability to weather business fluctu­ations and changes
Human resources and their expertise, adapta­bility, commitment
Know-How of the organi­sation which may include actual patents or trademarks
Reputation of the organi­sation, for example the brand recogn­ition and the belief that is held about the quality of the brand, and the goodwill – or antipathy – that this produces

Boston Box (Matrix)

provides a means of conducting portfolio analysis. A company’s strategic business units (SBUs) – parts of an organi­sation for which there is a distinct and separate external market – are identified and the relati­onship between the SBU’s current or future revenue potential is modelled against the current share of the market



Balanced Business Scorecard

The Balanced Business Scorecard (BBS) can be thought of as the strategic balance sheet for an organi­sation as it captures the means of assessing the financial and nonfin­ancial components of a strategy. It therefore shows how the strategy execution is working and the effect­iveness with which the levers for change are being used. The BBS supple­ments financial measures with three other perspe­ctives of organi­sat­ional perfor­mance – customers, learning and growth, and internal business processes.

Range of Analysis Activities

Strategic Analysis and Definition

BA to have access to inform­ation about their organi­sat­ion’s business strategy
BA's work to support the execution of business strategy
It is vital that BAs are able to work within the strategic business context

IT Systems Analysis

Systems analysts are respon­sible for analysing and specifying the IT system requir­ements in sufficient detail to provide a basis for the evaluation of software packages or the develo­pment of a bespoke IT system via data, process and function modelling
Business analyst is respon­sible for consid­ering a range of business options to address a particular problem or opport­unity

Business analysis

Business analysts will usually be required to invest­igate a business system where improv­ements are required:
- resolve a localised business issue
- invest­igation into several issues, or perhaps ideas, regarding increased efficiency or effect­iveness
- focus specif­ically on enhancing or replacing an existing IT system in line with business requir­ements. In this case the analyst would deliver a requir­ements document defining what the business requires the IT system to provide.
- working cross-­fun­cti­onally, taking a value delivery approach. This work is likely to require analysis of a workstream comprising various activities and systems
For any changes to succeed the business analyst needs to consider all aspects, for example, what processes, IT systems, job roles, skills and other resources will be needed to improve the situation

External Enviro­nment Analysis



Political influences The stability of the government or political situation Government policies – such as on social welfare Trade regula­tions and tariffs
Economic influences Interest rates Money supply Inflation Unempl­oyment 85 Disposable income Availa­bility and cost of energy The intern­ati­ona­lis­ation of business Taken together these economic factors determine how easy – or not – it is to be profitable because they affect demand.
Socio-­cul­tural influences Demogr­aphics – such as an ageing population in Europe Social mobility – will people move to find work or stay unemployed where they are and rely on state support? This may also be seen as a political issue with an enlarged Europe enabling a freer movement of labour across the community Lifestyle changes – such as changes in the retirement age and general changes in people’s views about work/life balance
Techno­logical influences Techno­logical develo­pments Government spending on research, the quality of academic research, the ‘brain drain’ The focus on techno­logy; demand for invention and innovation The pace of techno­logical change, the creation of technology enabled industries
Legal influences Legisl­ation about trade practices and compet­ition Employment law – employment protec­tion, discri­min­ation etc Health and safety legisl­ation Company law Financial regulation
Enviro­nmental influences Global warming and climate change Animal welfare Waste, such as unnece­ssary packaging Enviro­nmental protection legisl­ation such as new laws on recycling and waste disposal industries
The key tasks are to identify those few factors that will really affect the organi­sation and to develop a real unders­tanding of how they might evolve in the future

SWOT Analysis

The SWOT (stren­gths, weakne­sses, opport­uni­ties, threats) analysis is often used to pull together the results of an analysis of the external and internal enviro­nments.
SWOT analysis is where we summarise the key strengths, weakne­sses, opport­unities and threats in order to carry out an overall audit of the strategic position of a business and its enviro­nment

BA Compet­encies

BA Role and Respon­sib­ilities

Invest­igate business systems taking a holistic view of the situation; this may include examining elements of the organi­sation structures and staff develo­pment issues as well as current processes and IT systems
Evaluate actions to improve the operation of a business system. Again, this may require an examin­ation of organi­sat­ional structure and staff develo­pment needs, to ensure that they are in line with any proposed process redesign and IT system develo­pment.
Document the business requir­ements for the IT system support using approp­riate docume­ntation standards.
Elaborate requir­ements, in support of the business users, during evolut­ionary system develo­pment.
Strategy implem­ent­ation – here the business analysts work closely with senior management to help define the most effective business system to implement elements of the business strategy
Business case production – more senior business analysts usually do this, typically with assistance from Finance specia­lists
Benefits realis­ation – the business analysts carry out post-i­mpl­eme­ntation reviews, examine the benefits defined in the business case and evaluate whether or not the benefits have been achieved. Actions to achieve the business benefits are also identified and sometimes carried out by the business analysts.
Specif­ication of IT requir­ements – typically using standard modelling techniques such as data modelling or use case modelling.

External Enviro­nment Analysis


Porter's Five Forces

An analysis tool that helps to evaluate an industry’s profit­ability and hence its attrac­tiv­eness

Threat of New Entrants

New entrants may want to move into the market if it looks attractive and if the barriers to entry are low. Global­isation and deregu­lation both give new entrants this opport­unity but there are barriers to entry that organi­sations build. These include:
Economies of scale. This may be difficult to achieve for a new entrant
Substa­ntial investment required. A new entrant may have difficulty in obtaining sufficient funds for invest­ment.
Product differ­ent­iation. If existing products and services are seen to have strong identi­ties, which are supported by high expend­iture or branding, then new entrants may be deterred from entry
Access to distri­bution channels. Existing distri­bution channels may be booked by existing suppliers requiring new entrants to find new and different distri­bution channels.
The existence of patented processes.
The need for regulatory approval, for example, in the financial and defence sectors

Bargaining Power of Suppliers

Supplier power limits the opport­unity for cost reductions when:
there is a concen­tration of suppliers and when supplying businesses are bigger than the many customers they supply;
the costs of switching from one supplier to another are high. This may be because of clauses in supply contracts, intera­cting IT systems between the organi­sation and its suppliers, supply logistics or the inability of other suppliers to delivery
the supplier brand is powerful, for example, the power of ‘Intel Inside’;
customers are fragmented so do not have a collective influence.

bargaining power of buyers

Customer power – or the bargaining power of buyers as Porter called it – is high when:
there are many small organi­sations on the supply side. For example, in the supply of food products to superm­arkets
altern­ative sources of supply are available and easy to find;
the cost of the product or service is high encour­aging the buyer to search out altern­atives
switching costs are low

threat from substitute products

product substi­tution from new techno­logies is more conven­ient;
the need for the product may be replaced by meeting a different need;
it is possible to decide to ‘do without it’!

high compet­itive rivalry

There may also be high compet­itive rivalry when:
there are many competing firms
buyers can easily switch from one firm to another
the market is growing only slowly or not growing at all;
the industry has high fixed costs and responding to price pressure is difficult
products are not well differ­ent­iated or are commod­itised so there is little brand loyalty;
the costs of leaving the industry are high.

Rationale for Business Analysis

Root causes not symptoms
- To distin­guish between the symptoms of problems and the root causes
- To invest­igate and address the root causes of business problems
- To consider the holistic view
Business improv­ement not IT change To recognise that IT systems should enable business opport­unity or problem resolution To analyse opport­unities for business improv­ement To enable business agility
Options not solutions To challenge pre-de­ter­mined solutions To identify and evaluate options for meeting business needs
Feasible, contri­buting requir­ements not meeting all requests To be aware of financial and timescale constr­aints To identify requir­ements that are not feasible and do not contribute to business objectives To evaluate stated requir­ements against business needs and constr­aints
The entire business change lifecycle not just requir­ements definition To analyse business situations To support the effective develo­pment, testing, deployment and postim­ple­men­tation review of solutions To support the management and realis­ation of business benefits
Negoti­ation not avoidance To recognise confli­cting stakeh­older views and requir­ements To negotiate conflicts between stakeh­olders