Business Analysts (BAs) have become increasingly important in the modern business landscape as companies recognise the value of investing in their expertise.
With their ability to analyse data, identify problems and opportunities, and create solutions that address business needs, I agree with our CTO, Andrew Walker, when he said that BAs are the fulcrum for successful projects and overall organisational growth. Our time in the market underpinned by the 50 BAs we have interviewed in the last few months would suggest that’s not a general perception.
In fact, a report by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) revealed that organisations with a high level of BA engagement had a 71% project success rate, compared to a 52% success rate for organisations with low BA engagement.
The value of top-notch BAs cannot be overstated. Research has shown that BAs can deliver 10 times their investment, while top BAs can deliver 100 times. These figures highlight the importance of investing in skilled BAs to drive business outcomes and succeed.
The Current State of Business Analysts
BAs offer a deep well of perspective at an enterprise level, but they are often seen merely as the liaison between IT and the business. This definition can be applied to those who lead them as well.
This perception can be limiting, and BAs miss the opportunity for elevation. They are great professionals and incredible human beings, but they don’t necessarily wish to dominate conversations or demand acknowledgment for their contributions.
One of the problems is that they often find themselves caught up in developing pockets of functionality on software instead of focusing on business outcomes. Traditional hierarchies also reinforce this conundrum by labeling BAs as project resources rather than resources to drive outcomes and use their business perspective for product/service resonance.
What the Future Could Hold for Business Analysts: Opportunities for Elevation
Our conversations with clients and candidates reveal several paths for BAs and leaders of the practice. There is a path whereby they can occupy a unique space in the future, particularly those who understand the role of Fusion development and technologies like Microsoft. BAs possess incredible skills such as structured thinking, outcomes-focused approach, and an enterprise view of what’s going on in the business.
Citizen development has gained momentum, but often these applications can be built in isolation. Modern software builds are gaining popularity too, but IT can create roadblocks and want to build the applications in a traditional way, which doesn’t get to the outcome.
When BAs get to a certain level of leadership where they want to propagate analysis skills across the business, they end up doing more project management. While some should move into project management because they’re good at it, others should remain a professional business analyst.
One of the paths available for BAs is to be the key link between strategy and the project manager. Traditionally, BAs are slotted after the project manager. BAs could map out the logical proof of value aspects of a project because of their analysis skills. They could help IT define what they should be doing instead of just translating business requirements into IT requirements as a liaison.
They are in a unique position to understand product and the strategy of the business. I believe they should flow into being the interface between strategy and execution and learning how to articulate that proposition. This is not something I see done very often and very well. They need to expose themselves to product and strategy mapping, as well as future platforms and technology.
Finding Their Voice
Aside from focusing on creating a structured framework to solve unstructured problems and identifying desired outcomes, today’s BAs need to learn the skills to elevate their conversations in a way that’s true to their demeanor. They need to flex their intellectual capability and academic prowess, learn how to articulate that, and find their voice.
More than finding their own voice, it’s also important for BAs to find themselves a coterie — a community consisting of a curated group of people — where they can quickly cut through the BS, trust that everyone in the room is navigating the same changes as them, and therefore they can lean on each other.
We’re thrilled to provide opportunities for them.
- On 18 May, we’ve put together a webinar for business analysts to help them accelerate their BA careers. Sign up here.
- On 31 May 2023, we’re organising our second BA Leadership Mixer. It’s a social event geared towards developing and amplifying this collective voice so they can advocate for themselves and make a positive impact. Email [email protected] or [email protected] for your exclusive invitation.