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Introduction

Unlike few years ago, Business Analysis practice is becoming widespread and a key process across IT industry. Each organization has its own flavor; our BA practice has its own flavor which is time-tested, proven and well established.

A group of Business Analysts from various backgrounds and diverse experiences have formalized and continuously improve the BA process at e-Zest. We believe in making things simpler and better for our clients and yet deliver excellent quality. Key focuses of our BA practice are –

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Understanding Client’s Business

We call ourselves Business Analysts and not Requirement Specialists or System Analysts for a reason. Understanding of client’s business before jumping into requirement elicitation is extremely important to define requirements from a business perspective, as against a system perspective. Right degree of business understanding helps a Business Analyst to suggest the approach, functionalities, workflows, and alterations in the existing process, adding value beyond creating requirements specification.

Client Engagement and Communication

Client may have just an idea or concept of a product or a fair clarity of vision which is well documented in Business Requirement Specification. The challenge is to conceptualize and transform the idea into business requirements in the former case and find the gaps and loopholes in order to close the loops in the latter.

This requires a lot of Joint Application Design (JAD) and Business Process Modelling (BPM) sessions and involvement of stakeholders. Spending more time with stakeholders in early stages facilitates clear understanding and error-free specifications which eliminate rework in subsequent phases.

Optimal Solutions

Thinking as a business user and not as a software developer’ makes a lot of difference in delivering an optimal IT solution for the business as against a software application conforming to specification. We analyze the functionality from client perspective for effectiveness and usability as well as keep in mind the technical limitations of the application. The approach is to deliver an optimal solution using a right mix of custom software, third party solutions and business process tuning.

Core Values

e-Zest’s Business Analysis Practice aims at bridging the business-technology divide in IT industry by following core values enumerated below -

  • Represent client perspective and best interest throughout the project
  • Provide software engineering and technical perspective to client in a simplified fashion
  • Facilitate fair negotiation of project scope vs timelines vs cost
  • Nurture versatility and promote innovation to add value beyond traditional business analyst role

Our Methodology

e-Zest’s business analysis methodology follows a two-step approach – the first step being agreement to a broad level scope of project and the second being defining requirements in-depth within the scope outlined. Within these steps, we follow a highly iterative and parallel approach. The focus is not on documentation but understanding business needs, which materializes in form of several working documents like flowcharts, process maps, organization chart, mindmaps and likewise. Formal documentation of requirements specification comes into focus only after a sufficiently steady understanding is obtained to proceed with design and development activities.

Many a times, the working documents are extended to serve as requirements documentation where the project execution is in agile mode using very short iterations of 2 – 3 weeks. Quality, completeness and accuracy of requirements are never compromised, though the form in which requirements are consolidated and level of depth in documentation may vary from one project to another.

The figure below represents three parallel tracks and two steps of our methodology.

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Knowledge Acquisition

This track focuses on understanding the business context of the project, understanding the domain of the application, existing processes, organizational structure and several such contextual elements that help in proper understanding of the needs and objectives of the project. In due course, a Concepts document is prepared to consolidate all contextual and domain knowledge.

Requirement Elicitation

This track initially focuses on defining the scope of work and requires creating several working documents like use cases, wireframes, E-R models that represent the requirements of project. In due course, detailed requirement specification is prepared consolidating all requirements in a single document and detailing each requirement to a level sufficient to feed design and development needs.

Planning and Evaluation

This track focuses on planning activities for meetings and collaborations, defining project phases and milestones. It also evaluates mechanism of delivering a complete solution by means of third party solutions where necessary, and doing proof-of-concept implementations where feasibility of solution needs to be validated.

Tools and Collaboration

Effectiveness of Business Analysis practice is also determined by quality of tools and collaboration mechanisms used in that process. Making this choice is an innovative exercise, as the tools used should be easy to learn and use for clients as well. We use various different tools based on –

  • what area of requirements is being analyzed (for example functional requirements, users and
    access control…)
  • how the requirements need to be presented (user centric view, process centric view…)
  • at what stage the business analysis process currently is (early stage, mid stage or advanced
    stage)

Tools used at e-Zest range from basic mindmaps to advanced UML, plain Microsoft Office documents to web-based tools that allow sharing and collaboration with client. Wise selection from such wide range of tools and collaboration software is something which differentiates e-Zest’s BA practice and makes us highly productive and effective.

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e-Zest is a leading digital innovation partner for enterprises and technology companies that utilizes emerging technologies for creating engaging customers experiences. Being a customer-focused and technology-driven company, it always helps clients in crafting holistic business value for their software development efforts. It offers software development and consulting services for cloud computing, enterprise mobility, big data and analytics, user experience and digital commerce.