Jacqueline: Hello. Welcome to our STEAM Information Podcast. This is the first in a series called #steamA2Z. We’re going to go through the whole alphabet and associate various letters with science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
The first one I want to focus our attention on is A. A is for analysis. Some of you may be chuckling in the background thinking, “Ok, she picked analysis because she’s a business analyst and has worked in that field for quite some time.” Yes, I might be a little biased, but it’s a good time to go back and just get down to some basic definitions.
What is analysis? What do I do as it relates to business analysis? I also like analysis because it applies to science. It applies to engineering. It applies to math and even to arts. The analysis portion of these subjects is all about understanding the problem, getting to the root cause and finding the right solution.
One of the things we’ve been doing in all of our podcasts is giving you a reference. So, after you hear our 5-10 minute blurb, there’s an opportunity for you to do a little homework, a little research, a deep-dive to find out more information and to explore it more. My reference for today’s podcast is www.IIBA.org. The IIBA stands for the International Institute of Business Analysis. This is the internationally recognized organization that helps define the role of a business analyst. I’ll even say that analysis, it not only touches every component of STEAM, but it also touches other business areas: financial analysts (you see them on CNN), travel analysts, economists. They all come in different forms and fashion, but again, IIBA.org is the area that helps define it and has great resources for learning and development, certifications and recognitions and career planning. They have local organizations, monthly meetings and virtual resources on the website. Visit and check out news and information.
Let me give you a bit of a definition, according to the IIBA. “Business Analysis is the practice of enabling change in an organizational context, by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders. The set of tasks and techniques that are used to perform business analysis are defined in A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge known as the BABOK.
“So, what is a business analyst? The job title for business analysis practitioners include not only business analyst, but also business systems analyst, systems analyst, requirements engineer, process analyst, product manager, product owner, enterprise analyst, business architect, management consultant, business intelligence analyst, data scientist, and more. Many other jobs such as management, project management, product management, software development, quality assurance and interaction design rely heavily on analysis skills for success.
“The business analyst is an agent of change. Business analysis is a disciplined approach for introducing and managing change to organizations, whether they are for-profit, governments, or non-profit.”
Clearly there are a lot of different opportunities—job opportunities, career opportunities, and even starting your own business as an adviser or consultant for analysis and analysts. It’s not only a skill set and a keyword to have on your resume, no matter what you title or industry is, but if it’s something you have a passion, knack, or talent for, then it’s also worth pursuing those certifications and carrying that job title in your profile and on your resume.
Let me just continue a little bit more on the IIBA’s definition of the analysis role. “Business analysis is used to identify and articulate the need for change in how organizations work, and to facilitate that change. As business analysts, we identify and define the solutions that will maximize the value delivered by an organization to its stakeholders. Business analysts work across all levels of an organization and may be involved in everything from defining strategy, to creating the enterprise architecture, to taking a leadership role by defining the goals and requirements for programs and projects or supporting continuous improvement in its technology and processes.
“We (meaning business analysts) have the specialized knowledge to act as a guide and lead the business through unknown or unmapped territory, to get it to its desired destination. The value of business analysis is in realization of benefits, avoidance of cost, identification of new opportunities, understanding of required capabilities and modeling the organization. Through the effective use of business analysis, we can ensure an organization realizes these benefits, ultimately improving the way they do business.”
Let me do some final distilling and put my spin on it. First of all, business analysts help companies make money, save money, and find new revenue streams. Showing your value is important. It’s important, in many cases, to show how you help an organization. Also, just helping them keep the lights on. Whatever it takes. We call it the cost of doing business, or maybe it’s compliance. Business analysts help in this area as well.
You’ll also notice that the IIBA’s definition talks about leadership. Many times, when we talk about a project we’re thinking about project managers. The business analyst and the project manager often work hand in hand. When you have a business analyst and project management team, the project manager can look at the high level and big picture while the business analyst can do some of the deep-dives, keep their eyes on the front lines, and help pass onto the project manager roadblocks or potential risks to the project so that they can resolve those.
Please visit IIBA.org. That was just a broad brush of what business analysis is. They have a lot more. Some great articles: the evolution of the profession, the foundation for business success, how to become a business analyst, advancing your career. The Business Analyst Career Roadmap is excellent for business analysts and for those who are just poking around and exploring. You’ll be amazed with how many different tracks and directions you can go.
And you don’t have to have a business analysts degree. With the right transition plan, you’ll be surprised how much having either subject matter expertise or domain knowledge will help you launch a career in business analysis. Also, more about understanding business process analysis, something I talk about with six sigma, and understanding the S in business systems analysis, especially if you’re on the tecchy side. If you come from the technical side and want to keep some of your technical skills, consider business systems analysis, which helps to define the technical aspects and technical specifications of the solution.
June 29 I spoke at an IIBA meeting in Atlanta. I spoke on a panel, and we were specifically talking about career progression for agile business analysts. Keep that in mind. Hopefully you found those nuggets and that resource helpful. Stay tuned! This is part of our #steamA2Z series. That was A for analysis. Next, find out about B.