3 Things Everyone Should Know About Business Analysts
So, you're looking to explore the world of business analysis and have heard various narratives about the role. Do they analyze businesses? Are they the young sibling of software developers? Maybe they’re mysterious water cooler conversationalists? I used to wonder the same.
Here are three things that you should know about the world of business analysts.
1. Context is everything
Fundamentally, business analysis is the practice of delivering value through change. But change is constant, and value is subjective, so how do you measure the impact or relevancy of business analysis that’s actively being performed?
It all relies on context.
Context is the foundational piece that makes all types of business analysis operate. If you wanted to improve the performance of your vehicle, let’s say, from a gas mileage standpoint, think about all the contextual factors that may come into play. Age of the vehicle? Current mileage? Or maybe even the climate your vehicle is exposed to? These and many other factors can influence the type of change you can implement to deliver value. Every decision that a business analyst makes is impacted by contextual factors surrounding the situation.
2. They’re not only present in the tech industry
There’s a misconception that business analysts are tech nerds or solely reside in the technology sector. Now granted, I used to think the same. I came from a software developer background, and business analysts were key in influencing what I would do on my next project. They had this aura of knowing how to speak business lingo I couldn’t, while still effectively collaborating with my technical world that business folk didn’t understand. Their fundamental role was continuously solving problems (value), through innovative solutions, like new applications I developed (change) that would satisfy customer needs.
But let’s bring it back to a personal level. Business analysts are advocates for having holistic and strategic minds, primarily for their ability to analyze context and create innovative solutions. So it can’t be that far off if you had to perform business analysis for a friend asking you for guidance on moving to a new country. You would have to understand why they want to make the change (context). Is it a desire for adventure? Career development opportunities? Or is Canadian weather a little too chilly for their liking?
After figuring out all the contextual factors going into the decision, you might go into a deeper set of questions to determine their preferences. Do they like the outdoors? Hot weather? A diverse culture? These answers could lead to an array of options that could provide the friend enough guidance to ultimately make a decision that serves them the best (value).
3. They’re often right in front of you, without the title
The most common question I get asked as an instructor is, “I’ve never been a BA (Business Analyst); can I really land a BA role?” My answer is nearly the same every time. I normally answer their questions, with a few questions of my own.
“Have you ever solved a problem?”
“Have you ever implemented any change, either personally or professionally?”
99% of the time, the answer is some derivative of a surprised, puzzled “Yes.”
The core of business analysis is often related to problem-solving for a need, challenge, or requirement from people. Once these needs, challenges, or requirements are understood, the beauty of business analysis is how you get from that over into a solution.
Between that journey, you’ll encounter new information, innovative ideas, conflicting views, Chat GPT’s opinions, maybe even Siri’s, or an article on Page 3 of Google Search results that gives you everything you need to propose a sound decision. Naturally, some people are just good at understanding the situation and can segway into holistic solution building based on their prior experience, training, or even social influence.
Nonetheless, the journey is beautiful, and you don’t need a fancy title to showcase the skills required to deliver valuable change. The ceiling for your communication skills, business knowledge, and analytical ability is non-existent because these will continuously evolve as our competencies, technologies, and innovative thinking infinitely grows.
About the Author
Christian Hoquis BBA, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSP-SM, CSP-PO, IIBA-AAC is an instructor for the new McMaster University Continuing Education Business Analysis Program.
Chris has been an Information Technology professional for over 20 years, with roles spanning across Software Development and Systems Analysis, to Business Analysis, Process Improvement and Project Management. He’s been teaching post-graduate level courses for over 6 years in Business, Business Analysis, Project Management, Technology, and a variety of soft skill development classes. He is the founder of Rally the Locals, a new business dedicated to driving growth for local businesses, through storytelling, promotions, and a custom web platform. He is relentlessly committed to showcasing the impact of businesses in the community and creating meaningful connections with people to promote local economic scale. Outside the office and classroom, Chris has been an advocate for positive mental health through university initiatives across Canada, is a TEDx Speaker (Discover your Resilience with Relentless Empathy), is an avid amateur boxer and runner, and enjoys spending his down time learning Spanish.Business, Career, Latest News, Tips Corner, What's New