What is the importance of the BA role today?
In today’s workplace being multi-skilled, experienced and flexible in your approach is a highly desirable skill. The BA role has emerged as a result of organizations discovering the need for help in finding potential answers to business issues, and opportunities, and wanting to gain competitive advantage by the delivery of predicted business benefits. A new role with a skill set that can support business managers, and find options and solutions that may or may not include the implementation of information systems, has become a necessity.
You can see the range of the business analysis role in the diagram below:
Business Analysts need to have a good understanding of the strategy development process. The role usually involves the investigation of a business system where improvements are required and so they may be asked to resolve an issue, or to focus upon enhancing or replacing an IT system. Business analysts often work closely with IT developers and the specification of IT system requirements, so they need a detailed understanding of IT systems and how they operate.
It is an analyst’s job to consider all aspects, for example, the processes, IT systems, job roles, skills and resources that will be needed to improve the situation, develop a business case and identify and quantify the business benefits. BAs may also be required to support the implementation of the changes. This can include advising business users as they adopt new processes and procedures, or assisting in the user acceptance testing activity for an IT system.
BAs work in every sector, and the BA role can be specific or broad depending on the needs of the organization, for example, an organization can have one or many BAs who each have their own areas of expertise and work within a particular business function i.e. technical, finance, marketing, claims, Business Intelligence (BI) or Management Information (MI), Operations and so on.
Value of an In-house BA Role
One of the key values of an in-house BA is that they allow the organization to save the money they would usually have to spend on hiring in contract specialists for their work. This reduces the amount of time it takes to progress certain projects, as these roles are kept in house and sit with a BA who is embedded in the company culture and operational processes. This also reduces the need for any initial learning curve on the part of a contractor.
A good BA offers a good return on investment as they will more than pay for themselves through efficiency and time savings. They are there to help a business make informed decisions and identify problems, even ones they might not have known they had!
It is very easy for an organization to get caught up in the idea of change and for that to be driven by IT, or the requestor of a process change without taking into account the impact across the organization. A good BA will understand and be able to mitigate those impacts, and ensure that any change put in place suits everybody and supports all the areas of the organization. Being able to understand, negotiate, reason and mitigate with stakeholders is a valuable skill of the BA.
If an organization is interested in process improvement, then a team of BAs will be necessary. For example, an industry that is heavily regulated, and has regular change at a government level, often has large amounts of internal change to processes and systems. It might also be undergoing a massive transformation project if it is expanding. Each BA will bring their own unique viewpoints based on their own experience, learning from each other and tackling an incredibly broad range of issues in a highly effective way. Working in a team to support a wider change function is becoming more common, as companies recognise the value BAs bring to their organisation.
If an organization has many BAs, it is an opportunity to utilize monthly meetings to share best practice on specific topic areas in order to cross skill, or allow shadowing at key project points, or upskilling by enabling BAs to handle small projects from each other’s areas.
Supporting BAs in the Role
In order to make a bigger impact, investment in training and continuous staff improvement is key. As the economy and workforce moves further into the digital age, it has never been more important to offer staff ways to expand their knowledge and keep pace with development. The value a BA currently brings to their role will develop and create a much larger impact because of the investment of their organization.
An organizational culture that actively encourages staff to engage with each other, and work collaboratively across departments, will lead to more successful completion of projects and business benefits. Almost all projects that fail do so because of poor communication and a lack of understanding of priorities outside of a stakeholder’s own individual remit. The support of the organization to make communication a vital part of the company culture is the key to its success.
There has never been a more exciting time to move into or develop your career as a BA, With more organizations valuing the insight, collaboration, time and money saving benefits that the BA brings to their role. Organizations that fully embrace the benefits a BA brings, will undoubtedly see a return on investment and reap the rewards.
Start your own Business Analysis journey today with the Foundation Certificate in Business Analysis from ITSM Zone – learn more here.