Business analysts and the work they perform are becoming increasingly important to companies.\nRead related article: Hot Jobs: Business Analyst\nOver the last several years, the business analyst role has evolved and developed beyond eliciting, analyzing and documenting software requirements. Business analysts are now taking prominent roles across the enterprise, to perform strategic problem and opportunity identification, conduct gap analysis and feasibility studies, and drive business solutions within their organizations.\nRead related article: What Do Business Analysts Actually Do for Software Implementation Projects?\nThe International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABoK) defines enterprise business analysis as a way for organizations to:\n\nIdentify, analyze and solve business problems and opportunities\nDetermine the feasibility of a solution\nDefine the solution scope and develop the business case\nContinue to assess, refine, and validate the business need and solution\nEvaluate the business benefits brought about by a solution\n\nThe work of business analysts does sometimes leads to a business case, but there are many other functions that enterprises business analysts perform, such as:\n\nDriving business architecture discussion and development\nCreating-functional decomposition of business areas\nProviding thought leadership within their organizations\nAssisting business areas in understanding the big picture (rather than talking in terms of project teams and business lines)\nAligning project portfolios with overall business strategy\nCreating feasibility studies for new products, markets and systems\nMaking strategic recommendations for process improvements and streamlining across departmental divides and geographical locations\n\n\u00a0\n\n\n\n\n\u00a0\n\u00a0\n\u00a0\n\n\n\u00a0\nProject Business Analysis\nEnterprise Business Analysis\n\n\nStakeholders\n\nSystem owners\nSystem users\nProject managers\nInterfacing systems\n\n\nCIO\nLeadership team\nDirectors\nVPs\n\n\n\nActivities\n\nPlan requirements\nGather information\nAnalysis\n\n\nMeet with executive sponsor\nGather information (current initiatives; critical organizational\n\n\n\n\n\nBy expanding the scope of what business analysis can provide, enterprise business analysts become organizational consultants\u2014their tools, techniques and processes are tailored to specific opportunities, challenges, and drivers. Business analysts are uniquely positioned to do this type of work, because they can repurpose common project business analysis techniques, are able to collaborate across departments and functions, and have built extensive internal networks within their organizations.\nRead related article: Why Business Analysts Are So Important for IT and CIOs\nTo encourage business analysts to begin thinking in strategic terms, organizations should:\n\nFoster a culture that encourages problem identification and creating solutions\nEnsure business analysts have the opportunities to learn leading-edge techniques that can be used to enhance both project business analysis and enterprise business analysis\nGive business analysts the opportunity to participate and contribute to strategic conversations, particularly where additional research and analysis is needed\nEncourage certification through the IIBA\n\nThe return on investment for organizations that recognize and harness the skills of business analysts is significant. By utilizing the unique skill sets these resources bring to the table, organizations create a win-win. A career path is provided for highly skilled and talented resources, and organizations have a means to understand strategic problems and opportunities to inform decision making.\n Sam Cherubin and Kimberly Terribile have over 20 years of combined experience in consulting, mentoring, and business analysis best practices. Cherubin's background is in business analysis methodology, BA toolkits and playbooks, enterprise business analysis and establishing BA communities of practice. Terrible has consulted for a variety of Fortune 500 companies while working for Ernst and Young, and has also been an instructor of business analyst methodologies and best practices.