I've been very interested lately about doing my business analysis work out in the cloud. My biggest reason is that I like the idea of being able to access my notes, diagrams, and documents from anywhere. I'm already a huge fan of Evernote and Google Docs, but there are so much more that so few know about, so this is my quick guide to Business Analysis Tools out in the cloud.
I'd like you to all also keep in mind that I'm excluding requirements management software in general because many of those require hefty licensing and aren't really meant for a solo job. They are enterprise wide tools (some of which are amazing), but not feasible for a lone business analyst trying to simplify his life.
Elicitation = Note Taking
For me, elicitaiton involves a lot of note taking and Evernote is fantastic because you can access all your stuff from a browser, which is great, but you can also download apps for your mobile devices as well as desktops. Evernote is designed for note taking, so it has a lot of great features like if you create a new note during a meeting on your calendar, it automatically titles it the same as the meeting (I've only tried this on the mobile apps). It has an Outlook plugin too and I love "Clearly" which is a chrome plugin that allows you to view articles without all the other frames and ads and clip them like that (cleaned up), directly to your Evernote notebooks. Also, Its FREE!
Requirements Analysis: Modeling and Diagramming
LucidCharts, Gliffy, and Creatly
If you go to either of the websites for the above tools, you will quickly see that they are VERY similar. The all have everything you would need for business analysis modeling including wireframing, process modelling, data flow diagrams, data models, you name it. The only things that stuck out to me was that LucidCharts has a more interactive wireframing capability (with different states), and Creatly has infographic capabilites, which are cool, but are usually more for marketing. In any case, all of them would be great for a business analysis consultant who doesn't want to be tied to a single machine. All of these have limited free versions, and are also all less than $10 per month for the full individual version
Requirements Management: Communication and Collaboration
I like Google Docs because you can easily share and collaborate online and you can work on the same document at the same time as someone else. It has all the things you need out of an office suite: Word processing, Spreadsheets, and Presentations. Google also has a drawing tool, but tools that aren't meant for diagraming can sometimes be more of a pain than anything else, so I still recomend the above tools for diagramming.
Got Any Other Great Tools?
I'd love to hear about them and check them out and I'm sure our fellow BAs would too! Comment below or add your comments to this related post on Facebook.