Posted by tac_admin, November 5, 2014

PESTLE: What Business Analysts Need to Know

Business people sitting around computerPESTLE adds yet another entry to the ever-expanding glossary of Business Analysis acronyms—but to be honest, it’s one of my favorites. In case you haven’t heard the term thrown around by the IIBA, PESTLE is the catchier incarnation of “political, economic, sociological, technological, legal, and environmental factors.”

PESTLE has a better ring to it, that’s for sure. And I’m an advocate for this approach to business analysis training, because it encompasses a comprehensive transformation for your stakeholders.

Here’s my letter-by-letter take on this discipline, and how you can apply it to your own work. (Not to mention, this knowledge looks stellar on your list of business analysis skillsets.)

Political—what’s the atmosphere like for your stakeholders?

Political. The word makes most of the population cringe, but when it comes to improving the operations of a business with transformative solutions, we’d be remiss in leaving out this important piece of the puzzle.

When you consider your suggestions for “political” improvement, think about the leadership and how decisions impact profit margins, employee performance, technological implementation, etc.

Are decisions being made for the greater good? Furthermore, are there “hidden factors” that influence decisions? Be honest, but explain your reasoning for the solutions you suggest in a diplomatic way.

Economic—Are Company Investments Paying Off?

Yes, we’re all a little weary of this term. If “political” is a touchy subject, economic is only slightly more comfortable. But keep in mind that one of the principle goals of any organization is to create more sustainable profit and growth. In more candid terms, this is the principle goal, and if anything slows down that process, it most likely needs to be jettisoned and replaced.

When you consider the economic conditions for stakeholders, think about the investments. Are they paying off? Are they putting money where it needs to go? Does the investment plan improve employee performance, and integrate user-friendly technologies?

Social—How is the Company Mood?

Fearful. Over-stressed. Hostile. Over-relaxed. These are only a handful of terms that could plausibly describe a company’s overall mood and mindset. And the impact of the company’s mood is rarely considered in business analysis.

After all, it makes an impact on sales—whether that’s positive or negative.

Technology—It’s Not Always a Good Thing.

I get it: we’re business analysts. We love our software, our gadgets, and our various beeping doo-dads. And we’ve grown accustomed to using technology as a flag-carrier of client transformation.

But technology changes every nanosecond, and not every employee can catch up with the ever-evolving new capabilities and operating systems.

Sometimes new technology equals wasted time, energy, and dollars. If an existing system works for the stakeholders, there is probably no need to upgrade. In more “real world” terms, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

Legal—What Laws Impact Your Stakeholders?

As BAs, we have to stay abreast of legislative changes that bear weight on our clients’ success. For example, industry regulation may put a dent in how a company’s website message functions.

And how will that impact their sales figures? Furthermore, what can you do to rectify the situation? Keep this in mind, because as you learn more skills as a BA, you’ll be confronted with this situation.

Environmental—Location, Location, Location.

Where your stakeholders are located weighs in on their profits. Do they sell local wines? Then that year’s grape harvest will influence sales.

Are they local business? The economic status of the particular area will bear weight on their goals.

Environment and location are rarely factored in to a BA solution, but you’ll be amazed at the impact they have.

PESTLE is a great skillset to have at your disposal—especially if you’re looking to land a new gig. Before you continue your search…

Register for this BA Job Market Training


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