Earlier this month I had the privilege of presenting at the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) conference in Winnipeg on the topic of Business/IT Alignment. I wanted to focus the presentation on a topic that was relevant to business analysts, so the title was: Strategic Business Analysis: An Essential Skill for Business/IT Alignment. As I prepared the presentation and reviewed the key points from the Business Analysis Book of Knowledge (BABOK), I was struck – again – at how limited our interpretation of business analysis is within the work environment and how comprehensive the application of business analysis could be based on BABOK. So often, we view BA simply as a required sub-activity within another project, rather than an activity that has value in its own right. To be fair, even the assumed association as a part of project work is something to rejoice over, given that only a few years ago most organizations viewed business analysis work as ‘optional’. We probably all remember when the clients just assumed that the business knowledge required for the project work would just be discovered or extracted somewhere along the line by the project team. Project managers (usually because they ended up responsible for this activity) were likely the first to realize that this ‘discovery’ process required a different set of skills from the technical expertise of the project team, and from the management and coordination skills of the PM. Most project teams now automatically include at least one BA role to work with the business, and have seen project success improve as a result. Even this, however, is a limited role and only scratching the surface of the true value that a BA can provide to an organization. Business Analysis is more than just providing requirements to a technical team, or advising on implementation changes to the business users. It is more than just an input to attain a project outcome. Properly understood, business analysis can become a strategic activity to improve not only project success, but provide decision support to management and executives in strategic and operational planning. To do this, ‘Business Analysis’ does not need to change or mature – it is ready to take this on now, with a mature best practice model, internationally recognized standards and professional certification. Business attitudes, however, need to mature to recognize the value that sound business analysis can contribute – not just within the limited operational scope of a project, but also at a corporate level to support enterprise business decisions.
View/Download IIBA Presentation: Adnams BITA IIBA Nov 3