Business Analysis Practice - course outline

Course benefits:

This course prepares candidates to sit the examination for the BCS Certificate in Business Analysis Practice.

This certificate is concerned with some of the fundamental aspects of business analysis. Its focus is on using an holistic approach to the investigation and improvement of business situations with a view to developing effective, feasible business solutions.

There are two key elements to the syllabus: the development of a business strategy and the exploration of a business issue, whether a problem or opportunity. For the first element, candidates are required to understand a range of strategic analysis and performance management techniques. For the second element, they are required to be able to apply business analysis techniques within a defined framework.

The syllabus requires that the candidate should be able to describe the following aspects of the framework:

  • The structure (for example, milestones / stages / phases).
  • The activities (for example, the workflows or detailed steps/tasks described within an approach).

For each technique, the candidate should be able to:

  • Describe the technique.
  • Interpret and develop the documentation derived from the use of the technique.

Organisations can submit their own approaches for accreditation, provided that they show how all aspects of the syllabus are handled in their proposed approach.

However, candidates may be expected to apply any of the techniques defined in the syllabus in the examination for this certificate.

Who should attend:

This course is aimed at Business Analysts who wish to gain the BCS Certificate in Business Analysis Practice. Systems analysts and business users will also benefit from attending the course.


There are no specific pre-requisites for entry to the examination, however candidates should be suitably prepared and possess the appropriate skills and knowledge to fulfil the objectives.

What you will learn:

Holders of the BCS Certificate in Business Analysis Practice should be able to:

  • Describe how a business strategy is developed.
  • Use strategic analysis techniques.
  • Describe the need for project discipline.
  • Explain techniques to investigate an organisation's business systems.
  • Describe an approach to improving business systems.
  • Explain the importance of stakeholder management and use a stakeholder analysis technique.
  • Use techniques for the analysis and modelling of business systems.
  • Describe how recommendations for business improvement may be identified.
  • Describe the contents of a rigorous business case for the development and implementation of business changes.
  • Identify costs, benefits, impacts and risks for an option in a business case.

What you will cover:

  1. Rationale
    1. A lifecycle for business change
      • Alignment
      • Definition
      • Design
      • Implementation
      • Realisation
    2. The role of the Business Analyst within the lifecycle for business change
    3. Other roles within the lifecycle for business change
    4. Purpose of analysing and modelling business systems
    5. The framework for business analysis activities
  2. Understanding the strategic context
    1. Internal environment analysis
    2. External environment analysis
    3. SWOT analysis
    4. Critical Success Factors and Key Performance Indicators and Performance Targets
    5. The Balanced Business Scorecard as a framework for identifying Critical Success Factors and Key Performance Indicators
  3. Project discipline for business analysis studies
    1. Terms of reference/project initiation
    2. Business and project objectives
    3. Deliverables from business analysis studies
  4. Understanding the situation/issues
    1. Stakeholder identification
    2. Overview of investigative techniques
    3. Representing a holistic view of the business situation
  5. Analysing stakeholder perspectives
    1. Stakeholder analysis
    2. Identifying different perspectives
    3. Defining perspectives
  6. Analysing and modelling business activities
    1. Developing a conceptual business activity model from a perspective
      • Identifying activities
      • Identifying dependencies
    2. Identifying business events
      • External
      • Internal
      • Time-based
    3. Analysing business rules
      • External constraints
      • Internal policies
      • Internal procedures
    4. Building consensus by resolving conflicts
  7. Identifying potential solutions
    1. Gap analysis - comparing the ideal and existing systems
    2. Defining a new business model (the processes, people, technology and organisation)
    3. Identifying IS/IT requirements to support the new business model
  8. Making the business case
    1. Structure of a business case
    2. Identifying options for business change
    3. Identifying and categorising costs and benefits
    4. Identifying and categorising risks
    5. Identifying impacts
    6. The lifecycle for the business case

How you will learn:

The course comprises short and focused lecture sessions with exercises to practise appropriate techniques. Discussion of the problems and issues experienced by attendees will be encouraged.

The format for the examination is a one hour written (open book) examination based on a business scenario with 15 minutes reading time. Candidates who are awarded a pass for the examination are awarded the BCS Certificate in Business Analysis Practice.

Client quotes:

"Business examples used as class exercises were invaluable. Plenty of time allowed for discussion of the harder parts of the course."

Sally Hopper