Imagine working for an organization whose leadership team is informed of a new competitor. Imagine that competitor taking away a sizeable chunk of the market in a few short months, eating into your organization’s revenue for its showcase product and threatening the next quarter’s estimated earnings.
As a business analyst in possession of this information, an immediate concern is raised. In terms of strategy analysis, the current situation of the organization may not be in peril, but it does face a major concern. The threat from the competitor represents an external influence on the strategic direction of the organization.
In terms of the business analysis, the business need is evident: a competitor has threatened the organization’s position as a leader in the market, or at least the organization’s status as leader. While the competitor may or may not acquire a bigger slice of the market pie, the adversity created because of the competitor’s presence will certainly lead to a change in tactics, even a change in strategy for your imagined organization. The change in strategy represents a redirect in where the company wants to go in the future based on the influence of the current market reality.
As a business analyst, it is good to know that business needs can come from anywhere. In our example, it came from outside the company, in the industry, from a competitor. Needs can also be generated from government in the form of new regulations or mandated changes to product or service requirements. In most situations, needs come from inside the organization.
For instance, a staff member may indicate the need for a change in a specific process. This is an example of a “bottom-up” need identification. An operations manager may require new data for reports, or an entirely new set of data analytics. A vice-president may present the results of a new benchmarking study that indicates some weaknesses of the organization and has been tasked by the CEO, or governance committee, to fill the gaps.
Regardless of the source, a business need can come in the form of a problem, issue, challenge, opportunity, constraint, limitation or boundary that motivates an organization to make improvements.
Business analysts play a key role in identifying, assessing and validating business needs.
Smoothcube has a passion for helping business analysts learn the techniques, concepts, guidelines and tools essential to identifying requirements to help an organization avoid “business injury”. To support the learning process, Smoothcube offers a 2-day course called Fundamentals of Strategy Analysis, either online or in the classroom. The course touches on the business need concept, and much more, including future state analysis, risk assessment and change strategy.