The Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK), developed by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) is a framework that describes what business analysis is, what tasks are performed as part of business analysis, and what techniques and competencies are relevant to performing the tasks.
Within version 2 of the BABOK, business analysis is defined as “the set of tasks and techniques used to work as a liaison among stakeholders in order to understand the structure, policies and operations of an organization, and recommend solutions that enable the organization to achieve its goals”. Quite simply, business analysis helps organizations define their problems and opportunities, assess and validate potential solutions, and verify that implemented solutions actually deliver the benefits they were designed to.
Business analysis helps organizations:
- Establish strategic objectives and key performance indicators;
- Evaluate and determine which projects should be pursued;
- Decide whether to acquire or develop capabilities to address market opportunities or solve problems;
- Ensure that all affected stakeholders have a shared vision of what is to be accomplished and the approach that will be taken to arrive at a solution.
While business analysis is often seen as solely an information technology function, the BABOK’s content can be applied in any part of the organization to facilitate the delivery of solutions to problems. Whether an organization is deciding to build a new mine, acquire a competitor, or develop a new software application, the same business analysis tasks and techniques apply. Expert knowledge of the domain (or industry) under the scope of analysis provides the context to arrive at appropriate conclusions and decisions. Some Business Analysts (those that perform business analysis) can work across multiple domains, while others may focus on working within a single domain.
Requirements is one of the key concepts in business analysis. Requirements describe the conditions or capabilities needed by the organization to solve problems or capitalize on opportunities. The BABOK focuses on how to identify, categorize, communicate, assess and manage requirements.
The BABOK describes six knowledge areas:
- Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring: governs how all other business analysis tasks are performed;
- Elicitation: how to identify and understand requirements;
- Requirements Management and Communication: describes how to structure, organize and communicate requirements to stakeholders;
- Enterprise Analysis: defines how to define business needs and assess whether a particular problem is worthy of further effort in order to solve it;
- Requirements Analysis: discusses how to assess requirements to understand what is needed to solve a problem or capitalize on an opportunity;
- Solution Assessment and Validation: describes how to assess current and potential solutions and address any shortcomings, and to facilitate the transition to a new solution.
The BABOK provides Business Analysts with the fundamental knowledge needed to be able to perform business analysis within organizations. The BABOK is not prescriptive on how to apply its tasks and techniques. A methodology or approach takes the BABOK’s broad-based descriptions and tailors their use to a particular situation or environment.