Top Ten Trends in Business Analysis
Monday, January 13, 2014
Posted by: ESI International
(Editor's Note: The following is a press release from ESI International, a project management training company. It contains information AITP feels is important to many our members, as we are the association of information technology business professionals.)
Releases Top 10 Trends in Business Analysis
The BA role takes on
broader responsibility in 2014
VA – January 13, 2014 - ESI International, the
world's leading project management training company, today announced the
release of its top 10 trends in business
analysis for 2014. This year’s trends discuss the evolving roles
that business analysts take on and underscore the need for varied skill sets to
ensure that they are prepared for what’s coming next.
analysts find themselves taking on multiple roles in organizations, as business
leaders recognize the importance of requirements management,” said Mark
Bashrum, VP of Marketing and Strategic Intelligence at ESI International.
"Enterprising BAs see this trend and are carving out career paths beyond the
typical BA roles.”
top 10 trends for business analysis include:
1. Business analysts and systems analysts will need to develop
interchangeable skill sets.
the baby-boomer retirement in full swing, the need to load-balance between
business analysts and systems analysts is increasing. More and more, we see BAs
being asked to perform systems analysts functions and vice-versa. The
implication is two-fold: systems analysts need to develop better soft skills to
be effective in eliciting requirements, and BAs need to develop better
technical competencies in order to be a successful "liaison” between business
2. Many will realize that being "Agile” is a competency, not a
Having an Agile skill set means being
effective and efficient in getting the "right” requirements in quantity,
quality, and representation. More BAs are embracing "Agile” as a different and
often better approach to managing a project as well as analyzing, gathering,
validating, and communicating requirements. But Agile is a mindset and a
framework, not a bunch of checklists and templates. The successful "Agile” BA
will understand it’s all about the culture of Agile, not the methods.
3. The role of the BA and PM will continue to overlap in small to
The cold, hard
reality is that small and medium-size organizations need to load balance,
especially as it relates to BAs and project managers (PMs). In these
environments, where resources are scarce, BAs need to gather requirements and
put them into production. Likewise, PMs need to adopt a "just do it”
approach, sharpening their skills on elicitation techniques and developing
SMART requirements — those that are specific, measurable, agreed-upon,
realistic, and time-bound.
4. BAs will get in on the action early and often.
Bringing in BAs early can yield significant benefits,
particularly for mission-critical projects. This is because BAs are able to
provide context to the project and because they become more vested and "take the
journey” as core members of the project team, not an extension to it. Projects
will benefit from more continuity and from more opportunities to influence,
persuade, and lead stakeholders from the very beginning. This is particularly
true when using an Integrated Project Team (IPT) approach. More and more, IPTs
are proving their worth, and getting the BA in early can help ensure that the
project gets off on the right foot.
5. Requirements management gets sophisticated.
Organizations are moving away from creating huge, monolithic
business requirements documents — you know, the kind that make a THUD when they
hit the conference table. It’s bad news for contractors, because the louder the
THUD the higher the price! But technology is changing all that. Documents are
being managed and shared through Web-based portals like SharePoint that allow
for easier access, review and feedback. More importantly, these Web-based
portals allow requirements to be collected and managed interactively for better
traceability and quality control. And because the technology is scalable, small
and medium-size companies can enjoy the benefits as well.
6. Business analysis continues to emerge as a profession with a
career path in larger organizations.
much the same way that project management wasn’t a unique job 10 or 15 years
ago, BAs face similar struggles today. However, a growing number of
organizations are recognizing business analysis as a career path with defined
tracks — junior, senior BA, enterprise analyst, enterprise architect, etc.
Perhaps more importantly, BAs are finding other trajectories within the
business management ranks because they are finally being recognized and
rewarded for their knowledge of the business.
7. More and more, project sponsors will learn about BA.
According to our research, senior stakeholders such as sponsors,
decision-makers, and executives are more likely than ever to take a BA course.
Why? We think it is because they realize that solid requirements are the
foundation for a successful project. This is great news for BAs because a more
educated sponsor can only result in a higher level of support and a deeper
level of compassion for the requirements process.
8. BAs become cool.
organizations and systems become more complex and more highly integrated, the
need to get the requirements right the first time becomes more
important. Trends in mobile computing, big data, and security all put the BAs
front and center — there’s never been a better time to be a BA!
9. Enterprise architecture comes back to life. Was it ever really
Having highly paid enterprise architects on
staff didn’t sit well with management in the global recession. They made too
much money, and their focus was too long term. Consequently, many of them were
"shown the door” as the business turned to more tactical concerns. In many
cases, though, that short-sighted strategy has come back to roost. Now more
than ever, organizations need people who know big data analytics, data
architecture, and data management. BAs looking for advancement may well find
their payday in the enterprise architecture role.
10. There are plenty of cloudy days ahead, and those clouds are
filled with apps.
Cloud computing is here to stay, and with an
increasing number of cloud-based applications so are BAs who understand how to
do the tough job of requirements analysis for native cloud applications. The
naysayers were wrong, so climb aboard and watch your career float to the
started in 2013 continues through into this new year,” said Bashrum. "BAs are
front and center, and their ability to deliver business value through
requirements will continue to give them prominence and recognition within the
top 10 trends in business analysis is put together annually by ESI senior
executives and subject matter experts.
conjunction with the release of the trends, ESI has released a top 10 trends in business
analysis video. The video offers a discussion of the trends,
including original insight and information about the trends and their impact on
# # #
ESI International is a global project-focused training
company, helping people around the world improve the way they manage projects,
contracts, requirements and vendors through innovative training in project management, business analysis and contract management.
In addition to ESI’s more than 100 courses delivered in more than a dozen
languages at hundreds of locations worldwide, ESI offers several certificate
programs through our educational partner, The George Washington University in
Washington, D.C. Founded in 1981, ESI’s worldwide headquarters are in
Arlington, Va., USA. To date, ESI’s programs have benefited more than 1.35
million professionals worldwide. For more information visit www.esi-intl.com.