Business analysis is an important aspect of any business today. According to past studies, approximately 60 percent of all errors in system development projects originate during the phase of requirements engineering. These errors, however, are often discovered only in later project phases or once the system has been deployed because incorrect or incomplete requirements can be interpreted by developers in such a fashion that they are subjectively sound or (subconsciously) complete.

One of the main parts of the business analysis process of which the success of the business analysis depends on is Elicitation. In the old days, business analysts used to gather or collect or capture requirements, but all that changed in 2009. Now we elicit requirements and other business analysis information, and the term elicit was defined in the BABOK Guide as meaning “to call forth, or draw out”.

So, is Elicitation really important? YES, totally!

Elicitation is one of the main phases that forms a good business analysis. If it is done correctly, your analysis and specification for your requirement will be perfect. If this phase is done with defects, that could lead to undetected requirements, and therefore defected analysis. Missing requirements often remain undetected during design and realization because developers trust the requirements engineers to deliver high-quality work. Developers implement whatever the requirements document says or what they believe it to be saying. These defects in the requirements leads to high cost and efforts up to 20 times higher if this fix is done during the requirements engineering.

Elicitation is composed of several tasks:

*Preparation for Elicitation: BAs should start preparing for this process which involves ensuring that the stakeholders have the information they need to provide and that they understand the nature of the activities they are going to perform.

*Conduct Elicitation: describes the work performed to understand stakeholder needs and identify potential solutions that may meet those needs. This may involve direct interaction with stakeholders, doing research, or running experiments.

*Confirm Elicitation Results: involves ensuring that stakeholders have a shared understanding of the outcomes of elicitation, that elicited information is recorded appropriately, and that the business analyst has the information sought from an elicitation activity. This task also involves comparing the information received with other information to look for inconsistencies or gaps.

*Communicate Business Analysis Information: provides stakeholders with the information they need, at the time they need it. The information is presented in a useful form, using the right terminology and concepts.

*Manage Stakeholder Collaboration: describes working with stakeholders to engage them in the overall business analysis process and to ensure that the business analyst can deliver the outcomes needed.

Elicitation can be complex. It can also be simple. And because of it depends mainly on people factor, there are always ways to improve your elicitation skills.

Growth through innovation/creativity:Rather than be constrained by ideas for new products, services and new markets coming from just a few people, a Thinking Corporation can tap into the employees.

Increased profits:The corporation will experience an increase in profits due to savings in operating costs as well as sales from new products, services and ventures.

Higher business values:The link between profits and business value means that the moment a corporation creates a new sustainable level of profit, the business value is adjusted accordingly.

Lower staff turnover:This, combined with the culture that must exist for innovation and creativity to flourish, means that new employees will be attracted to the organization.