If you missed parts 1, 2 & 3 of our “Linking to trends” series, you can read all about the key technology shifts for 2017 over here, the focus of product over projects here, and the continued use of agile and lean here. This week we’re looking at our final trend prediction for 2017: The changing role of the BA.
Traditionally, the role of the Business Analyst (BA) has centred around requirements management, typically governed by specific analysis methodologies. Key skills include the ability to interpret, summarise and document business requirements in a way that would drive the fulfilment of the project lifecycle while also ensuring that there is a golden thread between technology and people as businesses look to streamline their processes. BAs are the glue that ensures alignment between what the delivery team is delivering and what the business units would like to achieve.
They do this by asking the following core questions:
Understanding a business to this degree allows the BA to develop a deep organisational knowledge of businesses and complex industries. This knowledge often leads to longstanding careers in organisations that may progress into project and programme management as the BA moves along their career path.
However, we are seeing that with the trend towards more technology-focused solutions, more empowered and informed customers, a need to become more lean and agile, and a stronger emphasis on multi-skilled team members means the title “Business Analyst” is becoming less formal as emerging processes look at alternative approaches for gathering the intel they need.
That said, the skills a BA brings to the table can’t be ignored. Therefore, it’s not about removing the role of the BA completely, but rather looking at how their skillset can be tweaked to better service fast-paced, technological environments where customer needs are more difficult to articulate.
To align with Design Thinking and Lean Start-up approaches, the following customer-focused questions need to be thrown into the mix:
Fundamentally, business analysis is becoming less of a documenting & requirements management skill as used in traditional change initiatives, and more of a problem solving & customer-focused skill which ensures business value across all types of change initiatives.
But what does this mean for the traditional BA?
It will become more important than ever before to design holistic business solutions that truly tap into the mind of the customer. Delivery teams will continue to need business analysis skills to ensure the balance between people, process & technology, but they will also be looking for that “something extra” to elevate their delivery capability. With this in mind, BA practitioners may need to consider more specialised roles. Business architects and product owners will become more popular choices.
At Analyze, this shift is something we’re excited about. It opens new opportunities for growth and innovation while also pushing analysis, as a key competency, to keep evolving. To find out more about our thoughts on the topic, please get in touch.