Effective business analysis offers enormous value to a business, from better decision-making to a smoother implementation of initiatives. Given the significant changes taking place throughout the business world, it is barely amazing that the role of the business analyst (BA) is also changing in response to the digital business essential. Today the BA elicits requirements through a mixture of customer research, design thinking and trip mapping. They also operate, not as a gatherer of elements through process modeling merely, but as a realtor of change.
What all this means for organizations is that there is now an ever-growing sense of urgency around the necessity to train a fresh cadre of “digital” business analysts to support the requirements of business-technology agendas. What skills does a business analyst need today? In a nutshell, business analysts must be comprehensively skilled in both hard and soft skills across three primary competency domains.
These are hard skills that include activities such as defining business, solution, and stakeholder requirements, performing a number of analytical assessments of potential solutions, evaluating risk, and documenting results predicated on the chosen solution. Without all organizations require that business analysts are certified, and not all business analysts eventually decide that certification is necessary for their career, these primary skills are critical competencies for success as a business analyst. New technologies provide opportunities and challenges businesses could never have imagined a decade ago.
The business analyst is key to helping the business to capitalize on these opportunities and address their issues by educating, evaluating, analyzing, and making strategic recommendations about the business impacts of digital technologies. To achieve that mission, BAs must stay on top of emerging technologies and digital experience platforms. However, they must do that while helping the organization to take full benefit of existing technologies also, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things.
In addition, they have to learn new procedures and techniques such as design thinking, customer journey mapping, and visible prototyping. That’s in addition to becoming proficient in dealing with new methodologies such as agile, lean product management and DevOps. Keeping up requires a commitment to continuous learning and the versatility and resilience to drive transformation amidst continuous change.
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It’s enough to make your mind spin. Cross-functional groups cannot effectively function, and business processes cannot be changed, without mastering skills such as driving creativity, embracing agility, effective communication, team building, tactical thinking, and fostering cooperation, to mention a few. The BA can be an integral element of these project teams, often in a management position, and these primary business skills are critical competencies for BAs to execute their roles effectively.
What can organizations do to help business analysts stay relevant? The key is a commitment to continuous learning, and Skillsoft offers an extensive portfolio to build up these critical hard skills, digital competencies, and general business skills. For all those seeking in-depth specialized BA training, we offer resources that align with IIBA’s Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK) and its own Certified Business Analysis Professional certification.