The Community Blog for Business Analysts

Ashish Adike
Ashish Adike

Product Evaluation Framework for a BA

As a Business Analyst, very often we get into a situation where the Project requires multiple IT Products to be evaluated before implementation and might seek Business Analyst’s recommendation for the same. With the ever-growing range of Products in the market and the marketing promotions associated with some of the products, it’s very easy to choose the Product with most features or the most famous one. While there are various benchmarking softwares that measure the IT products from a technical performance perspective, as a Business Analyst, it is our responsibility to make sure that the right product is chosen as we are the ones who know the Business Processes closely and at the same time are equipped to understand the features of a Product that would be well suited to address the Business Requirements. While a Business Analyst may not be the final decision maker, the BA’s analysis definitely impacts the decision-making process. A structured approach to analyze the available Products would help in choosing the best suitable IT product for the Business.

Features: It is recommended to choose a Product that has Features which meet most of the Business Requirements out of the box. Although it’s difficult to find a Product which would satisfy 100% of all the required features, it’s better to choose the one with as little customizations as possible. Customizations would often mean force fitting a Product for a Business Process and may have downstream impact in future. Also, it would involve high maintenance costs to maintain a highly customized Product. As a Business Analyst, we need to provide a Business Process vs Feature mapping for each of the IT Products in question, which would enable the Stake holders to choose the IT Product satisfying the most relevant and critical Business Processes.

User Experience: As a Business Analyst we generally work closely with the Business Users and can gauge the pulse of the Users. It is important that any IT Product chosen provides a good User Experience as it would drive the user adoption and hence the success of the Project. The Business Analyst needs to capitalize the demos provided by the respective IT Products to determine the User Experience levels. Also, many IT Products are available on a free trial version, which can be utilized to get a feel of the Product hands-on before actually implementing the same.

Support: Once an IT Product gets implemented and as the Business Users start adopting it, we see a lot of enhancement requests coming from the Business Users to improve the existing implementation. Also, there might be Bugs in the Product which got missed in the testing process but arise only when the users start using the Product. In order to resolve the issues and implement the enhancement requests, it is critical to have a good post implementation support from the respective IT Product Vendor.

Ease of access: The ease with which Users can access an IT product also plays a vital role in determining the right Product. A Product which can be accessed from any web browser (i.e. Cloud) would always rank better as compared to a desktop based (i.e. on premise). It would even be better if the Product can be accessed from a Mobile device. With the work-from-anywhere concept gaining prominence, the Cloud based, and Mobile enabled Products would see an upward trend in demand.

Product Roadmap:  It is important to consider the roadmap the IT Product has planned for implementing various out of box features as that would help us in planning our implementation and make decision on the level of customization that needs to be done during the initial release. The IT Product with promising features suitable to the Business Requirements needs to be given a higher priority as compared to that without a suitable Roadmap.

Although the cost and performance of the IT Product might be considered by the Management, a careful analysis of the IT products with respect to above listed parameters would help the Stake Holders in choosing the right IT Product for long term.

About the Author:

Ashish Adike is a seasoned Business Analyst with more than 8 years of experience in Business Process Analysis, Requirements gathering, Consulting, Solutioning and Project Management. Experienced in working with multiple Business functions – Sales, Marketing, Finance, Operations. Strong research professional with a PGDM focused in Sales and Marketing from Indian Institute of Management, Indore. Awarded team player with excellent learning and adaptability skills.

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