Business analysts use software tools to boost efficiency and productivity. The software used by business analysts are specially packaged for specific functions and job types, making the accomplishment of the jobs a lot easier. While the decision on the types of software tools to opt for depends on the budget and project requirements, there are certain software tools that can be used by almost all business analysts. Here are the top software for business analysts.
1) Business Process Diagramming Software
Business analysts spend a lot of time creating various process diagrams to be presented to business stakeholders. For instance, process diagrams are used formally for documentation and specification, and casually for explaining and discussing topics virtually or via emails. Diagrams help stakeholders to understand complex topics easily without mis-representation/misinterpretation. Generally, business process diagrams can be created using a pen and paper, or with MS Paint, but efficient software tool can help the business analyst to create, manipulate and share the process diagrams easily and faster.
The top software for diagramming is Microsoft Visio. The versatile and easy-to-use software provides features for applying themes, embedding models in documents and creating templates. It captures and presents business ideas easily and is used for:
- Preparing business process flow charts.
- Preparing UML diagrams like activity diagrams, use case diagrams and sequence diagrams.
- Creating architecture diagrams.
- Creating data models, among other functions.
Other diagramming software you may use are Bizagi (a free software for process diagramming) and Lucid Charts (a cloud-based diagramming application).
2) Wireframing and Mock-Up Software
Mock-ups and wire-framing are usually performed using the same software tools and serve the similar purpose of providing visual representation of a business idea. Using efficient Wireframing software can reduce confusion when creating requirements for processes/items that are still non-existent. Wireframes help to drive expectation and guide developers. Besides, Wireframing software can create wireframes/mock-ups that is focused on specific content in order to achieve better user engagement and interaction.
Top Wireframing software are:
- Balsamiq: Is an exceptional tool for creating wireframes during brainstorming sessions and for getting immediate stakeholder feedback. Balsamiq is used by business analysts to create mockups which are then signed off and converted into real designs/processes.
- Lucid Charts: The software tool creates beautiful and interactive wireframes which show different screen states and pop-ups.
3) Requirements Management Software
If you are a member of a business analyst team that is working on a large business project, then you need a software tool for managing requirements. The requirements management tool will give you Word Processing functionality together with the capacity to sort out and query data using a highly dynamic database.
The top software for requirements management is Rational Requisite Pro. The software enables business analysts to trace requirements and necessary changes, and to prioritize all the requirements for implementation. The tool also has features for performing impact analysis and managing a load of changes.
4) Analysis and Data Crunching Software
For business analysts who want to perform data analysis on the job, Microsoft Excel is the best and most powerful tool to use. The tool can help the analyst to create pivot tables, sort and filter data, examine trends in data sets, create graphs and charts, and fulfill other analytic functions. Excel also offers built-in financial and mathematical functions for easy analysis of data.
5) Word Processing Tool
Microsoft Word is the most important and most popular software for creating business analysis documents and preparing requirements specification documents. It allows business analysts to set their preferred fonts, apply company themes, embed external objects (such as Excel worksheets and Visio Diagrams), track changes during collaborations, and create visuals.
6) Collaboration Software
The top software for business analyst collaborations is Google Docs. It helps the analysts to share documents with stakeholders and with their team members. It is also very useful for sharing non-confidential projects online, collaborating with stakeholders and team members, and chatting.
7) Other Important Software Tools
There are many other top software tools for business analysts, including Enterprise Architect, MS PowerPoint, DOORS, Blueprint Requirements Center, Visual Paradigm, iRise, FreeMind, Axure, CaseComplete, HP Quality Center, Mindjet MindManager, ADONIS, AgilPro, ARIS Express, MS Access, and Cuecent BPMN.