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Business analysis is a research discipline that identifies the needs and challenges of a company, and then presents feasible solutions. It involves assessing how an organization functions at its deepest level and recognizing an organization's needs to find a timely, cost-effective solution.
Essentially, working as a bridge between executives, department heads and specialists, a business analyst’s main responsibility is supporting the company to achieve its yearly and quarterly goals by analyzing data sets. They are often called upon for organizational change, policy development and strategic planning.
Business analysts synthesize information provided by members of the organization, creating a true assessment of the company's health. They work with stakeholders — such as department heads and executives — to solve organization problems by taking a holistic view of the business and examining all the system operations. Business analysts also commonly facilitate communication between departments within a company, and there is no shortage of business analysis tools to help them complete these tasks effectively. Using one or a combination of business analysis tools can help companies find opportunities to scale operations, as these tools help analysts keep track of performance, growth, employee productivity and more.
Top 10 Tools Used for Business Analysis
1. Microsoft Office Suite
Microsoft Office Suite is one of the most common tools used by professionals, including business analysts. It offers a suite of tools that are vital for most businesses, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Teams, OneNote and Outlook. Microsoft Office Suite’s tools integrate with each other and allow business analysts to collect and organize data, create charts and graphs, write essential documents and design visuals to communicate their findings.
● Seamless integration across all platforms
● Create interactive presentations
● Easily manage emails and schedule
2. Rational RequisitePro (IBM)
Rational RequisitePro by IBM is one of the most invaluable tools for conducting business analysis. This project management tool helps business analysts prioritize task requirements, organize tasks into shared projects and track all changes made.
● Integration with Microsoft Office Suite
● Effortless collaboration
● Flexible and can be customized according to business needs
Balsamiq is a wireframing tool that boosts a company’s efficiency in user experience design and promotes collaboration on any device — anywhere, anytime. Balsamiq also makes it easier to communicate progress to clients in real time.
● Fast and intuitive interface
● Share and present projects using embedded links and PDFs
● Create templates and component libraries
SmartDraw is an automated business analysis tool that simplifies project management. In just minutes, users can draw flowcharts, diagrams, floor plans, network diagrams and more. SmartDraw is great for communicating ideas quickly.
● Quickly draw, edit, and delete elements
● Integrates with Microsoft Office, Google Drive and Dropbox
● Can be installed behind a firewall for maximum cybersecurity
● Available in over 100 languages
Wrike is a project management tool that gives business analysts full visibility and control over their tasks. All projects are stored on the program and shared with teams to turn strategies into actionable plans.
● Create, edit and share on the cloud
● Offers unabridged visibility with real-time reports and project status updates
● Allows you to track the time spent on the project by each team member
Plutora improves the speed and quality of complex application delivery. It's a complete value stream management platform that allows users to analyze and visualize each step of the delivery process.
● Seamless collaboration with team members and stakeholders
● Scale Agile and DevOps for enterprises
● Advanced management for test environment and deployment
Abacus is a cloud-based solution for business analysts to track and control expenses, reimburse employees and reconcile corporate cards. This accounting solution is a great fit for midsize companies.
● Free version available
● Includes internal travel booking
● Corporate card dashboard
● Reimburse employees through direct deposit
● Integration with NetSuite and Sage Intacct
8. QAComplete (SmartBear)
QAComplete by SmartBear is the premier test and QA management tool for reviewing the entire testing process. Users can instantly edit test processes and notify team members of issues, and then delegate tasks with deadlines.
● Manage test execution
● Instantly access reports and metrics for process testing
● Integration with Jira, Rally, Selenium and SoapUI
Trello enables users to create lists, boards and “cards” that quickly organize and prioritize projects.
● Share and comment on projects on desktop and mobile
● Built-in workflow automation with Butler for rule-based triggers, due date commands and more
● Integration with Google Drive, Slack and Dropbox
10. Pencil Project
Pencil is an open-source graphical user interface (GUI) prototyping tool for creating mock-ups quickly. It’s available on desktop and mobile, which makes it easy to start prototyping applications.
● Free, open-source tool
● Built-in shape and stencil collections, with the option to download more
● Diagram creation support
● Add clipart through drag and drop
● Elements within a Pencil drawing can be linked to a page in the same document to define UI flow better