Before I get flamed for this read on, this came from a statement out of the PegaWorld BPM event through surveys by Forrester Research. It seems that the main reasons company’s interviewed stated were that the Business Analysts;
- had little to no technical background,
- came from a business major in University with little technical interest,
- couldn’t get their head around process thinking, and are seen as “wannabe” Process Analysts
When digging a little deeper I found something rather interesting. It seems the definition of Business Analyst varies as greatly as Process Analyst and BPM does across sectors and job titles. However if you do a search through the job boards you’ll find the definition of a BA is a generalist kind of person, criteria varies from requirements gathering and management, process mapping, UML, Use Case design, even data modelling. I’ve seen very few adverts that require very little technical knowledge, at some point you’re going to have to face-off to IT and understand what they’re twittering on about. There are two things which spring to mind about this:
- there is a geographical divide in what a BA actually does across countries
- the level of maturity of the organisations that were interviewed in the survey
And is this the fault of the BA ? – No. If an organisation doesn’t know how to apply it’s resources properly then you can’t blame the person in the role if they’re unaware of what their role really should entail. There’s enough information on the web about it, many associations like the IIBA willing to help. Ignorance is no excuse here.
Traditional BAs that I’ve met fulfil hybrid roles, someone who can sit comfortably between the business and IT ranks and translate both languages, which encompasses requirements gathering and process mapping…..
Hang on, did I say mapping ? Or Modelling ? Because it seems there’s a bit of confusion over these terms here too. A Process Analyst where I come from doesn’t necessary sit in a BA function and has no interest in requirements gathering, so is firmly a business related discipline. To my mind Six Sigmatites are not interested in setting up of the automation of processes with a BPMS and yet the definition of a Process Analyst according to the messages I heard coming from PegaWorld were exactly the opposite; that a Process Analyst should be someone capable of modelling and creating automated workflows with a BPM tool and have a technical background.
So, now we’re back to how role definitions segregate responsibilities and skills unnecessarily and that, in reality, definition seems to be an inherent problem no matter what market you’re in.
Plus the BPM sector is now hell bent on pushing the “Business Technologist” title into the mix and talk of “blended roles”…something which actually describes what a real BA would do….sit in the middle of both business and IT and walk the walk in both.