The Importance of Mapping Business Concepts

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Analyzing business information is the first and often weakest link in the business-analysis process. The “as-is” of the business situation is typically ill-defined and in need of reworking. As a result, business analysis should be viewed as a meaningful and creative learning process.

Businesses Are Run by People

Getting actual involvement from businesspeople on business analysis and business development projects is usually a large challenge. Capturing and retaining the attention of those key people, who know what the business is really about, always competes with a busy day full of priority decisions. Businesspeople operate in very dynamic situations and need very flexible approaches to things that require their attention.

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In all business-development initiatives, there needs to be a common model to describe the business concepts that fit within a particular context. That model must be visual in order to make sense intuitively; to make sense out of complex contexts is at the core of business analysis.

Change is obviously an end-goal of business development. You can’t change what you don’t understand; therefore, understanding is very important for business development. The ultimate sign of success comes when the business takes ownership of the “what if” scenarios produced by business analysts. What an analyst does should make a lot of sense, and should be easily communicated to busy businesspeople.

Learning Psychology

Concept mapping is a visual tool, commonly used in the educational sector for elicitation and communication of knowledge from elementary school all the way through university-level education. It has also proven an adept tool for both business experts and business analysts; there are a number of ways to map something intuitively.

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Concept mapping deals with people, language, and meaning, rather than engineering. It requires that the analyst learn from the businesspeople what the business is doing and where it wants to go. The analyst will also need to host brainstorming workshops, map the language of the business, and make sure he or she understands the meanings of every specialized term employed by the business in the course of its workflow.

Because what the business is doing—its “as-is” situation—is often not well-defined, everything may need to be reworked in order to eliminate redundancies and interdepartmental fragmentation. Before the business can achieve those grand goals, however, it needs the analyst to listen and learn about where it wants to go.

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