#Google Analytic Tracker


May 26, 2010

Who are the Business Analysts (Part 1/3)

About a month ago I was given an opportunity to attend the BA World conference in Calgary.  BA, which stands for business analyst, describes those professional who analyze the business. This was a two days conference, and the ticket was around $800 CND. This is rather an expensive conference relatives to my past conferences.

So, why did I paid to attend this conference which has almost nothing to do with programming? Well, I didn’t pay. I was lucky to win a draw for a free ticket in one of the CAMUG (Calgary Agile Methodology User Group) seminars. I would like to thank CAMUG organized the monthly seminar, and gave out free tickets to the conference.

Welcome to the BA World

I had never attending a non technical conference, so this is a totally new experience for me. The majority of my time deals with technical matters.  I kept reminding myself to stay away from being too technical when talking to the people in this conference.

I particularly remembered two things from the keynote that seems to be a recurring challenges for the BA in this two days conferences:

  1. BA has not been receiving the recognition that he/she should have deserved.
  2. BA as a discipline is not well defined, and the BAs need to promote themselves better in the business world.

These two problems puzzled me in the beginning.  However, soon I understood the reason behind it as the conference progresses.

Here are my reasons:
First, BA is relatively a new discipline, and yet people in the business world has been practicing BA. It just that it was not well defined the role of a BA in a company. In another, BA is a very general term describes people who analysis business.  Second, it appears that many company’s employees act somewhat like BA.  In another sense, there is not a need for a specific BA role if everyone in the company does a bit of BA so that company can archive its goal.

As a result, to better define BA as a profession, an organization called IIBA was created.

Role of a BA

In general,  BAs help the company grows.  For example, they do this by providing specific objectives for the company to achieve.  They might help implements polices, business processes to ensure the company stays in focus.

Specifically, BA may do some of the followings:

  • Collect business requirements
  • Linking the people to come to a business solution
  • Implement a new business process or policy
  • Finding new business opportunities
  • Finding opportunites to save company money

Values of a BA

The following diagram shows the values of a BA in an organization


Types of BA

Generalist – This is basically the standard BA. This person oversees the general aspect of a business. A example would be a management consultant.

Specialist – This person has focus on a specific aspect in a business. For example: Data Analyst, Methodology BA, Process Analyst.

Hybrid – This person carries multiple roles in a company. For example, BA/PM, BA/QA, BA/Developer.

My Thoughts

BA as a professional appears to be very general. It almost like if you are doing business, but can’t find a proper title in a company, you will be categorized as a BA.  That’s properly one of the reasons why BA is not that well define.  However, because the profession appears to be very general, it seems hard to measure the performance of a BA.  This has become one of the most interesting questions in the conference – how do I measure the BA performance.

1 comment:

Zijian said...

Sounds like a general manager but without executive power, or just a marketing manager, or an internal business consultant.