Common Software Tools for Business Analysts

Recently I read a LinkedIn IIBA blog post titled “Putting Together a List of BA Tools”. As I read the blog, I quickly became fascinated by the quantity of tools that BA’s around the world use to conduct their day-to-day work. Granted, the blog is not a scientific survey and there was not an equal representation across industries, but I wanted to share some of the numbers I crunched from the blog posts (data as of 02/28/2011):

  • Number of Blog Responses: 70
  • Number of Unique Industries Represented: 16
  • Number of BA Tools/Products Recommended: 47
  • Top 10 BA Tools/Products In Use (in order of frequency):
    • MS Visio
    • Enterprise Architect
    • Rational Requisite Pro
    • MS PowerPoint
    • MS Word
    • MS Excel
    • DOORS
    • Balsamiq
    • (tie) Axure, BizAgi, Blueprint Requirements Center, CaseComplete, FreeMind, HP Quality Center, iRise, Mindjet MindManager, MS Access, MS OneNote, Visual Paradigm
  • Top 10 Industries That Use the Greatest Number of BA Tools/Products:
    • Management Consulting
    • Software Development
    • IT Outsourcing
    • Financial Services
    • Healthcare
    • Government
    • Pharmaceuticals
    • Industry/Energy/Healthcare Technology
    • Insurance
    • Utilities

The quantity of software products represented by this small and unscientific survey of Business Analysts speaks volumes. It is obvious that there is little standardization, in terms of software tools, within and across industries. It is also obvious that today’s Analysts must maintain proficiency in a very large number of complicated technologies. There is a huge opportunity for thought leaders in Requirements Analysis to introduce new products that are (1) quick to learn, (2) effective across industries, and (3) integrate the best attributes and eliminate the worst attributes from the list of products above.

What software products do you use on a daily basis? Are they ideal for the job or add frustration to your day?

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