Posted by tac_admin, May 22, 2013

Know Your Business Data

lod-datasets_2009-07-14_croppedAs a business analyst, you’ll need to gather business data requirements. These data requirements help clarify and document your understanding of information needed by the business. They also provide a communication mechanism betweenyou and the SME or business sponsors, which in turn helps you formulate more detailed questions.

Business data requirements should describe and verify process requirements by linking the essential processes to the data that they use. Additionally, they provide a starting point for database design.

Now that you see the value of gathering business data requirements, let’s take a deeper look at the major components of business data, and how to identify data components:

Major Components of Business Data include:

  • Entities: An entity is a uniquely identifiable group (or class) of persons, things, or concepts for which the business area wants or needs to keep information.
  • Attributes: An attribute is a characteristic that further describes an entity.
  • Relationships: Relationships describe how one entity is associated to another. They represent Business Rules.

Identifying Data Components

Business analysts will use a number of different sources to identify data requirements to include in the new project’s requirements documentation. Remember that business analysts need to be careful not to “make up” data—they should be discovering it instead.

A good BA will look for ways to improve upon the current solution, not just automate the process already in place.To get started identifying data components use the project initiation documentation/project charter and additional information from existing data sources.Pay attention to…

  • Data from related projects.
  • Data identified during project scoping.
  • Data stored in existing databases or files.
  • Data from existing forms, reports, screens.
  • Data used in business processes.
  • Data used in the business area may come from various sources and be of various types.
  • Industry standard data definitions, such as social security numbers.
  • Data classified by subject matter experts, such as an employee login ID.
  • Data previously defined by a system designer or programmer.

Identifying Business Data

Most business areas have some common components that can be used as a starting point for identifying business data.

  • Party: Who is involved in this business activity? Persons or organizations in various roles i.e. suppliers, customers, vendors, employees.
  • Contract or Agreement: What types of contracts or agreements do we enter into? Purchase orders, service agreements, etc.
  • Product: What product or service does this business area produce? What data elements describe the product?
  • Resource: What resources do we manage? People, equipment, facilities, etc.
  • Event: What events do we need to keep information about? i.e. sales, purchases, etc.
  • Location: What geographical locations are important to our business? Regions, countries, cities, etc.
  • Account: What types of accounts do we maintain?

Once you know what you’re looking for, you can use this information as a basis for gathering requirements.

Learn the ropes of Business Data Requirements when you register for

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