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How an Analyst Identifies and Prioritizes Alternative Solutions in a Business Case

In your business analysis, you should highlight and compare each option that you’ve considered to the others so the reader is aware that you’ve vetted alternatives.

For most options, the comparisons are financial in nature, but they can also include time to market, strategic alignment, feasibility rankings, brand image, company politics or culture, technology response time, customer satisfaction, or any other metric that’s critical to achieving success. You should compare how well each option supports the key performance indicators (KPIs) or other objectives outlined in the mission statement.

Rarely does a problem or opportunity have only one solution; one option for comparison should always be to do nothing.

Solution Options Considered % of Students Expected to Achieve 95%+ Test Score % of Students Expected to Write Excellent Problem Statement % of External Agents Identified at Time of Original Scope
Virtual live training 99% 90% 85%
Self-paced online learning 85% 80% 65%
Students read various white papers and reference materials 70% 60% 50%
Provide no training 50% 40% 40%
You should also show a financial comparison for the information. At some point, the cost to achieve the goals stated may outweigh the cost of doing nothing or providing a less-than-optimal solution. To compare the financial implications in that example, you have to know how an analyst’s lack of proper skills and training in scope impacts the business on average.

For example, falling short in the KPI related to identifying external agents can ultimately cost the company more than offering the training would. By missing a stakeholder group, the untrained business analyst puts the solution at risk of not meeting the needs of that stakeholder group; that situation will require reworking, causing the project to incur additional costs.

When you rule out the “provide no training” options, the financial cost of training is obviously less of a consideration than selecting the most effective means of transferring knowledge.

Below is a financial comparison of the options above. Assume that the company has 100 business analysts that require training, and each works on approximately five projects per year.

Solutions Considered Cost for One Class for All Students Benefit Expected Net Cost/Benefit Estimated for Year 1
Virtual live training $100,000 $425,000 $325,000
Self-paced online learning $50,000 $325,000 $275,000
Students read various white papers and reference materials $10,000 $250,000 $240,000
Provide no training $0 –$500,000 –$500,000
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