Unlocking Value: Improving Cost Savings as a Business Analyst

Kenneth Gray

1. Deep Dive into Data

Data holds the key to understanding where savings can be made. By analysing company data, BAs can identify patterns, trends, and anomalies that might point to inefficiencies or areas of waste. Using tools such as Jira (data analytics) and Power BI (visualisation software), a BA can present a compelling case for change, backed by hard numbers.


2. Improve processes

Once inefficiencies are analysed and identified, the next step is to improve processes. BAs can use generic improvement strategies such as simplifying or eliminating redundant tasks, removing tasks that cause bottlenecks or combining strategies with the more formal Six Sigma to improve the quality and speed of output using data and statistical measurements. Process improvements not only cuts costs but can also enhance customer satisfaction and employee morale.


3. Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholders, from the top of the organisation chart to the bottom, hold insights into where costs can be saved. Using strategies such as a Power/Interest grid, a BA can engage with the appropriate stakeholder and gain invaluable insights. By conducting interviews, observations, workshops or focus groups, BAs can glean a deeper understanding of areas ripe for cost-saving measures.


4. Technology Adoption

Investing in technology might seem contradictory when aiming to save costs, but the long-term benefits can be substantial. From automation tools like Jira that automates any task or workflow to advanced analytics like Microsoft Azure that offer predictive insights, technology can be a game-changer. BAs, by staying abreast of the latest tech trends, can recommend solutions that offer high ROI.

On the flip side, BA’s can also offset against radical and expensive technological solutions by presenting the concerns of adopting the new technology and thus treating the solution as an avoided cost.


5. Training and Upskilling

A well-trained workforce is more efficient and makes fewer mistakes. During Gap analysis, BAs can identify areas where teams might benefit from additional training or skills enhancement. While there's an initial cost for training, the longer-term savings from improved efficiency and reduced errors can be significant.


6. Enterprise Analysis

By analysing the highest-level activities that deliver a product or service to a customer, BA’s are able to understand where they can bring real value to an organisation. A SIPOC or value chain analysis might lead to renegotiating contracts, consolidating suppliers, or even bringing certain services in-house if it proves more cost-effective.


7. Risk & Impact Management

While it's essential to be proactive in seeking cost-saving opportunities, BAs must also keep an eye on potential impacts and risks of such opportunities. By conducting an impact assessment, the BA can assess what impact the cost saving measures will have across the organisation – from the organisations structure, recruitment policy, supplier relations and working practices.    

The risk assessment would analyse what potential risks are associated with the cost saving opportunities presented, BAs can ensure that the quest for savings doesn't inadvertently introduce new costs or challenges.


8. Performance Metrics

Once a cost-cutting strategy has been chosen, BAs should establish metrics to monitor and measure performance. A balanced score card (BSC)assesses the goals and objectives of an organisation against its strategic performance. Using a BSC, BA’s can measure the organisations financial performance, how effective internal processes are, the level of investment by the organisation and customers reaction to their cost cutting strategies. This ensures that cost-saving measures are delivering the expected benefits and allows for course corrections if needed.


In Conclusion

Improving cost savings is more than just slashing budgets or trimming expenses. It's about understanding the intricacies of the organisation, leveraging data, and seeking solutions that deliver lasting value. As BAs, we have a unique vantage point and the skills to drive these initiatives. By keeping the business's objectives at the forefront, embracing technology, and engaging with stakeholders, Business Analysts can unlock substantial cost-saving opportunities, driving profitability and ensuring the organisation's sustainable growth.