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Business Analysis Terms: A-C

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Business Analysis Terms: A-C


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The below are business analysis terms that begin with letters A-C:

Activity sampling An investigation technique carried out to determine the amount of time individuals spend on different aspects of their work. Activity sampling is a form of observation and involves the collection of data that may be used for statistical analysis.

Agile An approach to software development based upon the Agile Manifesto and using evolutionary development and incremental delivery approaches.

Actor A role that performs areas of work within a business system. Actors are modelled on swimlane diagrams and use case diagrams. Actors are usually user roles and show the individual or group of individuals responsible for carrying out the work or interacting with a system. An actor may also be an IT system or time.

The Association for Project Management; aims to develop and promote project management.

Balanced Business Scorecard A Balanced Business Scorecard supports a strategic management system by capturing both financial and non-financial measures of performance. There are usually four quadrants – financial, customer, process, learning and growth. The balanced business scorecard was developed by R. S. Kaplan, and D. P. Norton.

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT BCS is the leading international professional body for the IT industry with over 70,000 members. BCS is responsible for setting standards for the IT profession and advises and informs industry and government on successful IT implementation.

Benefits management A process that is concerned with the delivery of the predicted business benefits defined in the business case. This process includes managing projects such that they are able to deliver the predicted benefits and, after the project has been implemented, checking progress on the achievement of these benefits and taking any actions required to enable their delivery.

Boston Box A technique used to analyse the market potential of the products and services provided by an organisation. The technique was defined by the Boston Consulting Group.

Business actor Someone who has an interest in a project, either because they have commissioned it, they work within the business system being studied or they will be the users of a proposed new IT system. See Stakeholder.

Business analysis An advisory role which has the responsibility for investigating and analysing business situations, identifying and evaluating options for improving business systems, elaborating and defining requirements, and ensuring the effective implementation and use of information systems in line with the needs of the business.

Business Analysis Process Model A framework for business analysis assignments that incorporates the business context and has six stages – investigate situation, consider perspectives, analyse needs, evaluate options, define requirements and deliver changes. The framework places standard modelling techniques in context to help analysts determine the most appropriate technique for individual business situations.

Business architecture A set of artefacts that define several views of an organisation.

Business Activity Model (BAM) A conceptual model that shows the set of business activities that would be expected to be in place given the stakeholder perspective from which it has been developed. There are five types of business activity represented on a business activity model. These are: planning, enabling, doing, monitoring and controlling activities. See Business perspective.

Business case A document that describes the findings from a business analysis study and presents a recommended course of action for senior management to consider. A business case would normally include an introduction, management summary, description of the current situation, options considered, analysis of costs and benefits, impact assessment, risk assessment, recommendations, plus appendices that provide detailed supporting information.

Business environment See External business environment; Internal business environment.

Business event A business event triggers the business system to do something. Typically this is to initiate the business process that forms the business system response to the event. In effect, the business events tell us when a business activity should be initiated; it fires into life the process that carries out the activity. There are three types of business event: external, internal and time-based business events.

Business option A key step in developing a Business Case is to identify the options available to address the business problem or opportunity. A business option describes the scope and content of a proposed business solution and states what it is intended to achieve in business terms. See Technical option.
Business perspective A view of the business system held by a stakeholder. The business perspective will be based upon the values and beliefs of the stakeholder. These values and beliefs will be encapsulated in a defined world view. There may be several divergent business perspectives for any given business situation. See CATWOE.

Business process A linked set of tasks performed by a business in response to a business event. The business process receives, manipulates and transfers information or physical items, in order to produce an output of value to a customer. See Business process model.

Business process model A diagram showing the tasks that need to be carried out in response to a business event, in order to achieve a specific goal. See Swimlane diagram.

Business rule Business rules define how business activities are to be performed. It is important that these rules are considered when modelling the processing to carry out the activity. There are two main types of business rule: constraints that restrict how an activity is performed; operational guidance that describes the procedures for performing activities.

Business sponsor A senior person in an organisation who is accountable for delivering the benefits of a business change. The sponsor is also responsible for providing resources to the project team.

Business strategy A strategy describes the long-term direction set for an organisation in order to achieve the organisational objectives.

Business system A set of business components working together in order to achieve a defined purpose. The components of a system include people, information, technology processes and the organisation. See IT system.

Business user An individual member of staff working within the business who is involved in a business change project. A business user may adopt a number of business roles including business sponsor, domain expert and end user for a solution.

Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) A model of five stages, showing increasing maturity of operation. Provides guidance for improving the quality of processes.

CATWOE A technique from the Soft Systems Methodology that provides a framework for defining and analysing business perspectives. The mnemonic stands for: C – customer, A – actor, T – transformation, W – world view, O – owner, E – environment. See Business perspective, Soft systems methodology.

CBAP® The Certified Business Analysis Professional awarded by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®). IIBA® publishes the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK®).

Change control A process whereby changes to requirements are handled in a controlled fashion. The change control process defines the process steps to be carried out when dealing with a proposed change. These steps include documenting the change, analysing the impact of the change, evaluating the impact of the change in order to decide upon the course of action to take, and deciding whether or not to apply the change. The analysis and decisions should be documented in order to provide an audit trail relating to the proposed change.

Class A class is a definition of the attributes and operations shared by a set of objects within a business system. Each object is an instance of a particular class. See Object.

Class model A technique from the Unified Modeling Language (UML). A class model describes the classes in a system and their associations with each other.

Cloud computing A general term for the delivery of hosted services over the internet.

Competency (or Competence) A competency is a skill or quality an individual needs to perform his or her job effectively.

Computer-Aided Software Engineering (CASE) An automated toolset that provides facilities to support requirements engineering and software development. These facilities will include the production and storage of documentation, management of cross-references between documentation, restriction of access to documentation and management of document versions. Sometimes known as Computer-Aided Requirements Engineering (CARE).

Consensus model The definitive, agreed BAM derived from the individual stakeholder BAMs.

Cost–benefit analysis A technique that involves identifying the initial and ongoing costs and benefits associated with a business change initiative. These costs and benefits are then categorized as tangible or intangible and a financial value calculated for those that are tangible. The financial values are analysed over a forward period in order to assess the potential financial return to the organisation. This analysis may be carried out using standard investment appraisal techniques. See Payback period calculation (or break-even analysis) and Discounted cash flow/net present value.

Critical success factors The areas in which an organisation must succeed in order to achieve positive organisational performance.

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