We all know the saying “customer is king”. It’s a motto that was popularised within the retail industry, but today holds water for pretty much any industry you can think of.
With this move to a customer-centric world, developing any new product or service without a clear understanding of your customer’s needs is like serving the perfect steak at your dinner party but then realising that your guests are all vegetarian.
Great business analysts understand the importance of the customer within the broader context of any change. In many ways, they become the voice of the customer, thereby playing a vital role in ensuring that customer value is achieved. Unfortunately, this can be a very challenging undertaking, especially when the pressures of getting things done as quickly and cheaply as possible come into play.
To ensure that you’re not missing the mark from a value perspective, take note of the following analysis obstacles that need to be overcome:
Obstacle # 1: Defining who the customer is
Look beyond the obvious. Customers can be both internal and external as well as directly or indirectly linked to your service or production chain. Start with a list of direct consumers, then flesh this out by looking at their consumers, and so forth. Once you have a comprehensive list, the next step is to get an understanding of each party’s needs and how they may be inter-connected.
Obstacle # 2: Constantly evolving customer needs
In today’s fast-paced world, customer needs are constantly evolving as technology continues to advance and competitors continue to push the boundaries of what is possible. If you don’t want to get left behind, you need to have your finger on the pulse. Ongoing market & customer research should be at the top of the priority pile, ensuring that you’re able to track how customer needs are changing and then adjust accordingly.
Obstacle # 3: Listening for the unsaid
Good analysis stems from not just implementing what someone says they want, but from pulling that idea apart and understanding all of the supporting factors that have led to this request. In most instances, there’s more than one way to satisfy a need, and it’s the BAs role to attack an issue from all angles to get to the best solution possible. Imagine being able to take someone’s request and then not just delivering to their expectations, but creating something even better than they had imagined… #priceless
Obstacle # 4: Adapting to new requirements gathering techniques
Gone are the days where the BA is simply seen as a documenter of what people want. You know, that person that joins the project early, produces a whole bunch of documents and then leaves. Requirements gathering has become a far more interactive and iterative process, with analysts playing more of a consultative role throughout the lifespan of a product or service. BAs today need to bring their own ideas to the table, they need to challenge the status quo & they need to encourage new ways of thinking.
When it comes to delivering value to customers, experience goes a long way. If you feel you may benefit from supplementing your BA competency, Get in touch