Business Analysis: Best of Breed Tools

Business Analysis: Best of Breed Tools
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The purpose of this article is to identify the types of tools a business analysis needs – based upon the functions that the business analyst does.  It is not to do a comparison of tools, but rather to extract the universe of what is state-of-the-art – or best of breed – in the professional.  The idea is to provide you with some information to allow you to steer your way to the tools and capabilities that you need within your project or organizational setting. This is the fourth part of a series of four articles on “Business Analysis”, where we explore various aspects of the field in practice today.  This article, Part 4 in the series, “Business Analysis: Best of Breed Tools”, dives into the key capabilities of the tools that Business Analysts use.  Part 1, “Business Analysis:  Eliciting and Managing Requirements”, looks at the left and right bounds of what a Business Analyst does.  Part 2, “Business Analysis Certification”, looks at the opportunity for certification and benefits of doing it.  Part 3, “Business Analysis:  Stakeholders Within the Organization”, focuses on the variety of stakeholders for the products that Business Analysts produce.   One way to look at the tools you might need for effective business analysis within your organization is to look at what a tool that incorporates all of the bells and whistles and that sets a standard – and identify the features and capabilities that you might need. One such tool is IBM’s Rational Requisite Pro, one of the best business analysis tools for Requirements Management. Let’s take a closer look at the Rational Requisite Pro business analysis tool with the idea of understanding the features and capabilities that might be most effective within your organization. Rational Requisite Pro provides a robust solution for business requirements management for large projects. Requirements management tools like Rational Requisite Pro, of course, offer the functionality of word processing, but also allow you to easily use other word processing tools like MS Word.  But the real power is that it allows you to query and sort requirements data using a dynamic database. Hence, it makes it easy to create new requirements, find specific requirements, trace them to their source, track changes, and prioritize the requirements. Here’s how:

  • Creating new requirements is made significantly easier using built-in and configurable templates, which enable you to quickly focus on the content and not the form.
  • Leveraging the power of database search technology is a powerful thing when you literally have thousands of requirements.  It can make it manageable.
  • Tracing requirements to their source can help stakeholders understand the source of requirements prioritizing or even keeping them.  
  • Tracking changes allows stakeholders to receive notifications when changes are made, or later via an audit trail to see how requirements have evolved.  
  • It is extremely helpful for stakeholders to understand the priority of each requirement as an input to making decisions on getting the most impact within budget constraints.

One other heavy benefit of Rational Requisite Pro that will affect some users is its ability to integrate tightly with other IBM products.  If you don’t need that specifically, it’s still worth considering integration capabilities among the tools you choose. Based on this analysis of a best-of-breed business analysis tool, can you begin to identify the features and capabilities that might mean the most to your organization?

This post is part of the series: Business Analysis

This series of four articles looks at the requirements of a Business Analyst and the performance of this job in Business Analysis. 1. Business Analysis: Eliciting and Managing Requirements 2. Business Analysis Certification 3. Business Analysis: Stakeholders Within the Organization 4. Business Analysis: Best of Breed Tools