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Balancing efficiency and quality can be tricky for businesses. Oftentimes when the focus is placed on producing value and quality, business processes can get significantly inefficient; wasting company resources. Therefore, business owners worldwide are constantly evolving their operations and business processes to be more streamlined and efficient in accomplishing their company goals.
The first step of this transformation to becoming a business of the future is to conduct thorough research of the current state of your company. However, it can be difficult to look at the operations and analyze everything objectively from the inside as a stakeholder.
This is where business analyst consultants come in.
What is the Role of a Business Analyst Consultant?
The primary role of a business analyst consultant is to help businesses with identify opportunities to improve their operational processes, products, services, and systems to be more efficient and capable.
Even though it sounds like a generic job description, the scope of a business analyst can differ vastly depending on the structure of the organization, project team, industry, etc. Let’s take a deeper look into how business analyst consultants bring value; whether within an IT project or a business operational role.
How Business Analysts add value to an IT Project?
The majority of BAs today fall into this category as almost all software projects have business analysts within their teams. Given IT companies are the biggest recruiters of business analysts today around the world, this comes as no surprise!
Even though not all IT projects have dedicated business analysts, the business analyst role is one role that can make or break a project. Let’s take a look at some of a business analyst’s responsibilities in IT project management.
- Gathering and documenting requirements
- Creation of user stories
- Improve existing processes and create diagrams
- Creating user journeys
- Manage communication between business stakeholders and the project team
- Coordinate user acceptance testing (UAT)
- Change management
As mentioned earlier, business analysts have a significant impact on the outcome of IT projects. They are pivotal to the success of a project. For example, the quality of the requirements gathering process decides not only the final delivery of the project but the entire execution process.
For a business, there is nothing worse than a project with incorrect or ambiguous requirements without well-defined acceptance criteria, which is the perfect recipe for a disaster. Apart from IT projects, business analysts are essential for businesses in general.
Now that we’ve talked about IT projects, let’s talk about how business analysts bring value within a BAU (Business-As-Usual) environment.
How do Business Analysts Add Value to a Business Operation?
Modern companies today hire full-time business analysts to work with business stakeholders to help improve Modern companies today hire full-time business analysts to work with business stakeholders to help improve their business operations. Although in the past, this trend was mostly exclusive to medium to large scale organizations within financial and consumer goods, today we see a lot of smaller companies hiring business analysts to their business technologist roles as well.
Companies today employ business analysts to do way more than your traditional BA responsibilities. Business analysts can either be part of the IT reporting into the CIO structure or within an operational function. Regardless of which team they’re part of, their primary role in most cases is to coordinate between internal or external IT teams and the rest of the business and to identify opportunities to improve the operations capabilities of the business.
The most significant difference seen in companies with full-time business analysts is their ‘continuous improvement’ mindset and the improved communication between IT and the rest of the business. In these companies Business analysts move from one business unit to another, helping business teams to improve and address challenges.
It doesn’t end there, here are some other important tasks performed by business analysts within operations and project management.
- Documenting the current state of your operations and preparing road maps to improve
- Performing feasibilities studies and write business cases
- Finding the right solutions and vendors for technology procurement
- Driving change management
- Analyzing data and providing recommendations to the leadership
- Improving operational processes and performing gap analysis
- Finding solutions to various business problems
- Gathering and documenting requirements
- Managing and delivering projects
Having your own business analysts within projects is an excellent idea since they would have a better understanding of your business than a business analyst from a vendor. In our experience, internal business analysts are instrumental in the implementation of change management and improved adoption of a solution.
In Australia, still, the vast majority of businesses consider business analysts as a project resource, but we believe that having the right BA consultant embedded into business units can add more value to a business in the long run!
Dasun Premadasa is the Founder and CEO of DASCX, the premiere B2B CX consulting firm for manufacturers in Australia. With over two decades of experience including four large CX and digital transformation programs at 4 different manufacturing and automotive firms in Australia, he's one of the best business technology experts for B2B customer experience.