What type of BA do you want to be?

 

The Business Analysis profession is a very broad role and in my opinion, one of the very few roles that spans across organizational strata, from Strategic through tactical and to operations.

As a Business Analyst you could work closely with strategic level stakeholders trying to decipher the goals of the change initiative and very quickly engage in conversations with technical stakeholders about the different system interfaces required and the data flows across multiple systems.

It is important to be clear about the type of Business Analyst you want to be as you begin your BA journey.

Technical/IT Business Analyst

You may have seen some roles online with the title IT Business Analyst; I personally do not support the idea that there is such a role as an IT Business Analyst. I believe it goes against the fundamental purpose of the role of a Business Analyst, however, we are where we are. Organizations sometimes have Business Analysts within IT departments and these Business Analysts work primarily on IT projects and mainly work on requirements engineering within these projects.

As an IT Business Analyst, there is an expectation that you have some technical or IT skills, especially data related skills such as; Structured Query Language (SQL) data mapping and modelling, sometimes even a basic understanding of programming languages. There is sometimes also an expectation that you are skilled at low code development using tools like Pega, K2, Appian etc   

If you are detail oriented and good with data and numbers, this may be a good place to be. As a technical/IT Business Analyst, you will be close to the development teams. This will enable you develop an appreciation for how business requirements will be translated into workable solutions.

On the other hand, there is a risk that you may be far removed from the business and you may struggle to understand the business needs and the drivers for business decisions.

 

 

Strategic Business Analyst

A business analyst should understand business problems and should be able to identify options for improving the business or solving those business problems.

The Strategic Business Analyst takes a high level view of the problems and the various options and is analytical in their approach to solve that problem. There is a wide range of skills required to be effective at this role.

I knew a Business Analyst that was once brought in by an organization to gather requirements to enable testing, after their solution was built. The solution was a greenfield software product that was built in collaboration with 3 different suppliers. The Business Analyst took the business on a journey of business readiness that took on a holistic approach. The first thing the Business Analyst did was to identify the internal and external factors that may affect the business in relation to their new product. He identified a number of factors and ranked them in a way that compelled the senior stakeholders in the business to address their risks before going live with this product. The BA held a number of interviews, ran a few workshops, analysed a number of documents they already had and produced a business readiness report that ranked their risks across a number of areas within the business. His report covered areas such as Governance, People, Processes, Data and IT Solution. The BA went on to make a number of recommendations that would improve the business in preparation for Going Live with their new product. The Business Analyst saved the organization a considerable amount in reputational damage, loss of revenue, increased costs all stacking up to about 20% of their revenue.

A strategic Business Analyst is skilled at identifying the main problems a business faces and facilitates the process of improving the business situation.

One of the most important skills a Strategic business analyst possesses is the ability to gain the ears and respect of the decision makers in a business and the financial acumen to be able to quantify the problems and make sound recommendations that will help their business achieve their goals, regardless of what those goals may be.

A strategic Business Analyst is not constrained to a project already initiated, but may provide data and insights to enable the business initiate projects.

The Dynamic Business Analyst

I believe that a skilled and experienced Business Analyst should be dynamic enough to be both a Strategic Business Analyst and a Technical/IT Business Analyst