Five Effective Business Analysis Techniques

The term business analysis refers to the discipline of identifying needs within a business, and determining the appropriate solution.

These solutions may include changes in the organization itself, strategic development or development of new policies. The person who takes on the responsibility of business analysis is called a business analyst.

When the time inevitably comes for some sort of change, the business analyst has several techniques at his disposal. Precisely which techniques are used will depend on the nature of the problem, and the scope of the solution. Here are five that are used successfully by business analysts to help solve an array of different problems.


The MOST technique is an internal analysis. It contains four attributes that are defined by the business analyst to ensure the project you are working on is aligned and on track. These attributes are as follows:

Mission (where the business intends to go)
Objectives (the key goals that will help achieve mission)
Strategies (the different options for moving forward)
Tactics (how the different strategies are put into action)


The PESTLE technique is an external analysis designed to examine the many different external elements affecting a business and its operations. It includes six attributes:

Political (Current and future political influences)
Economic (The local, national and world economy impact)
Sociological (Different ways society can affect an organization)
Technological (The effect of new and emerging technology)
Legal (The effect of national and world legislation)
Environmental (Local, national and world environmental issues)


CATWOE is a technique used to encourage critical thinking about what the business is trying to achieve. There are six different elements included in this technique:

Customers (who benefits from the highest level business process and how does the issue affect them?)
Actors (who is involved in the situation? Who is implementing solutions? What will impact their success?)
Transformation Process (what processes or systems are affected by the issue?)
World View (what is the big picture and what are the wider impacts of the issue?)
Owner (who owns the process or situation being investigated and what is their role in the solution?)
Environmental Constraints (what are the limitations that will impact the solution and its success?)


A SWOT analysis is used to give a more complete overview of both internal and external factors affecting a business. There are four attributes to SWOT:

Strengths (examine advantages and what is done well within the company)
Weaknesses (examine the disadvantages and areas that need improvement)
Opportunities (examine opportunities for improvement in all areas, including market share)
Threats (examine the obstacles the business faces in accomplishing their goals)


The Five Why’s technique is used to help get to the root of any given problem within the business. It is a question asking method to examine the cause and effect of a particular situation.

You will start with a problem, such as “my car won’t start,” then ask a succession of why questions until the root of the problem is uncovered and a solution is evident.

Business Analysis can be a complex and intricate process. Within this broad spectrum lie several sub-disciplines, roles and even more techniques.

All businesses encounter situations and problems that need attention to help keep them moving forward. With a skilled business analyst employing the right techniques, a solution won’t be far behind.