The International Institute of Business Analysis, through its BABOK Guide V3, defines business analysis as ‘the practise of enabling change in an enterprise by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders’. The institute further defines a business analyst as a person who performs business analysis, no matter their job title or organizational role. Business analysts are agents of change.
Breaking Down the BA’s Role
A business analyst primarily acts as the bridge between the technical teams and the business or functional teams. In the software development world, for example, business users may request developers for a solution and expect it to be delivered (as requested). It may be an unrealistic, unachievable, expensive and inefficient solution, but developers may not be in a position to identify this or communicate it to relevant stakeholders. At the end of it all, the intended project will fail! With a business analyst in the middle, however, the following can be achieved:
The BA in the Digital Transformation Era
According to Pierre Nanterme, the former Chairman and CEO of Accenture, ‘Digital is the main reason over half of the companies on the Fortune 500 have disappeared since 2000’. This can be mostly attributed to the lack of predicting, or even adapting to changes in technology enablers.
Companies are pushing for the achievement of business solutions through various aspects of digital transformation, including Robotics Process Automation (RPA), Internet of Things (IoT), Block Chain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Advanced Analytics, among other emerging technologies. Knowing the best mix or choice for an organization may be challenging, and it is up to the business analyst to understand business requirements and the best reasonable solution that will add value to the stakeholders. This is while keeping in mind that Value, according to ITIL4, is based on the perception of the recipient, and involves perceived benefits, usefulness and importance of that which is delivered.
Therefore, if you are on a digital transformation journey (and you should be), you need that business analyst. They should play the role of guiding the business in understanding their as-is state, to-be desires, the gap in between, and the best and most efficient way of closing that gap. As introduced, they should enable change (transformation) by defining needs and recommending solutions that add value to stakeholders, no matter their job title or organizational role.