The Difference Between Enterprise Analysis and Business Analysis

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Are you clear on the difference between Enterprise Analysis and Business Analysis?

For many people in the field, including a fair number of business analysts themselves, it’s not always obvious. The definitions can appear similar at first glance. Both are focused on understanding the needs of the business, identifying initiatives that will allow an organization to meet those strategic goals, and elucidating the attendant requirements necessary for implementation. The key differences, however, lay in the scope and time horizons involved.

binocularsEnterprise analysis is an executive/enterprise-level activity including all value chain components (primary and supporting, upstream and downstream), where longer-term business needs are examined, strategic direction defined, and prospective responses and solutions explored, identified, and assessed for scope, effectiveness, feasibility and risk. This is done to determine and prioritize development and implementation over a multi-year horizon.

magnifying glassBusiness analysis is also a research process but happens after EA in the initiated project – interacting with stakeholders to elicit, analyze and manage requirements, and then developing and defining a solution to an immediate business problem. The solution could be in the form of a product, system, process, or piece of software. Additionally, business analysis may involve testing and documenting the proposed solution.

The graphic below encapsulates the differences in scope and time horizons between the two functions.

comparison graphic


This material has been drawn in part from Schulich ExecEd’s upcoming program Certificate in Strategic Enterprise Solutions (Oct. 22 – 26, 2018), which allows participants to develop their enterprise analysis, solutions generation and consulting skills, and equip themselves with the practical concepts, processes, tools and skills to move enterprise-level strategies and initiatives forward in a senior leadership or advisory role.

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