Key Trends in Business Analysis to Leverage for Exponential Business Growth Cloud has emerged as the most prudent solution to enhance organizational agility and efficiency

By Nikhil Barshikar

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It's a fast-moving world we live in today, and more so, in terms of the pace at which more and more new technologies are emerging across business environments. Be it due to the constantly evolving social trends or changing customer expectations, organisations are increasingly realizing the need to respond quickly to customer demands. Organizations that do not innovate and adapt to changes in the market face the risk of losing their market share. Today, Business Analysis as a new technology domain is changing at an exemplary pace. Thus, in order to remain relevant, Business Analysts must adjust the index of their learning barometer to survive and prosper. Here, then, are some of the key trends that are disrupting business processes, and have the capacity to ensure a steady growth trajectory for businesses in the today's technology-driven business environment:

Proliferation of New-Age Technologies and Processes

The business environment is slowly gravitating towards new-age technologies like Machine Learning, cloud computing, application portfolio optimization and DevOps. As a result, business analysts will also need to not only acquaint themselves with these technologies, but also be sufficiently adept at them in order to be able to advise their respective organizations on potential applicable solutions. Another technology trend that's making big waves is the Internet of Things (IoT). Considering how the number of interconnected devices and their associated sensors are set to exceed even the number of humans on the planet, this technology will lead to a tremendous amount of data being generated over the next couple of years. For any kind of meaningful derivatives to be drawn from this wealth of data, businesses will need to extensively leverage Big Data tools and practices. BAs who understand Big Data concepts and how to mine data for business insights are already and will continue to be, in high demand.

The Need for "Agile' Business Analysts

Business Analysts who are yet to adopt Agile-like lean practices will face challenges down the road to find a place for themselves, considering the mounting pressure to "be agile" and provide what customers demand – faster time to market with robust delivery. In the current scenario, analysts are increasingly expected to take an ownership and custodian level position in projects to not only perform analysis but also to create additional value by performing multiple roles like product owner and scrum master. In addition, they must also approach projects with a focus on business value, as well as functional and technical feasibility supplemented with the user experience. In some organizations, business analysts are participating vigorously in Agile projects, working in collaboration with product owners, while others are joining development teams and performing functions like testing and change management. Hence, business analysts may consider making a tactical shift away from being a liaison between stakeholders, to focusing more on playing a transformative role in change, communication, and collaboration management.

Many large organizations have already adopted Agile, albeit in a "tweaked and customized' manner. However, in order to help such organizations adopt Agile across the enterprise, analysts will require skills not pertaining to Agile, but also gain comprehensive knowledge of the application workflow states, and find ways to collaborate with stakeholders to reach a consensus on future Agile workflow states. This will enable them to positively influence projects, resolve any possible conflicts, and think creatively.

The Impact of Digital Transformation

Business analysts should waste no time on capitalizing on two trends emerging in the digital hemisphere – Cloud Computing and mobile applications. These two technology trends will continue to affect the business analysis, with respect to heavy-duty functional and non-functional requirements including security, accessibility, recoverability, usability, and user experience.

  • Cloud Computing

Today, when organisations are ruthlessly driving down costs while dealing with the increasing demand for quick delivery of more information, Cloud has emerged as the most prudent solution to enhance organizational agility and efficiency. In this rapidly changing environment, business analysts are becoming catalysts of change, helping to guide the transformation that is underway. The deployment of cloud computing has massive constructive implications for business organizations. Hence, business analysts must assume a critical role in helping manage that change. There are many tasks related to cloud computing that a business analyst may take on. A few examples include managing technical requirements, re-engineering business processes to "customize' the cloud solution, negotiating Service Level Agreements with cloud providers for better benefits, and monitoring performance of cloud environments to ensure the business runs 24x7, without any hiccups.

  • Mobile Applications

Perceptive business analysts who are quick to identify the merits of mobile applications will be better able to define the requirements of harnessing its benefits to meet business goals, define potential problems, and re-invent business processes.

Data and Analytics

The various skills needed to leverage and apply business intelligence/data into the organization's processes include data analysis, data architecture, data presentation and predictive analysis. The most probable role out of these that is relevant to a BA is data presentation. This requires a BA to use state-of-the-art tools like Tableau and other related applications to provide insights about what business data

UI/UX Design

Making User Interfaces (UI) more appealing and equipping them with robust abilities to enable enhanced user experiences (UX) encompasses a discipline that applies specific techniques, methods, and processes to maximize user satisfaction when interacting with technology. UX design is especially hot property in the current times as new technologies are constantly evolving and changing the way people interact with computers. In addition, Virtual and Augmented Reality will increasingly demand new ways of giving commands and interfacing with computers. At its core, UX design is another way of figuring out a business need. It, therefore, has a lot in common with business analysis. It is, then, not too difficult for a BA to gain UX design expertise if s/he wishes. Moreover, there are business analysis functions that complement UX design including requirements, usability testing, and ultimately ensure customer satisfaction.

Nikhil Barshikar

Founder and Managing Director, Imarticus Learning

His fifteen year career spans a variety of roles within Investment Banking, all of which culminated in the founding of Imarticus Learning, a leading player in Investment Banking & Data Analytics education. He began his career in the Corporate Finance division of the erstwhile Lehman Brothers at New York, following which he moved to Mumbai to set up Lehman's India operations. He has successfully managed large Operations, Technology, and Project teams at Nomura. His in-depth Investment Banking experience, ranging from strategic design to risk-free transition while handling large people driven organizations, has given him an excellent appraisal of the dilemmas faced by Financial Services and Analytics Consulting firms. This enables him to develop tailor-made strategies and solutions.

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