Since 2010, private and public sectors, multinational organizations and even startups have recognized a critical need to reduce the gap between business units (BU) and IT to improve production. Enter the demand for business analysts.
A business analyst designs processes and methodologies to satisfy the needs of customers and stakeholders for the goal of developing useful, desirable, accessible, credible, findable, usable, and valuable products.
According to Forrester Research, a US global technology industry leader, lack of communication between the BU and IT accounts for 66 percent of project failure. Lack of defined business requirements accounts for 50 percent of project failure. The Professional Development Center at the University of Texas identifies three levels of BU-IT integration: slingshot level, rowboat level and bridge level.
The weakest end of the spectrum can be compared to a slingshot with one way communication and lack of understanding of stakeholders’ needs. There is little or no collaboration between BU and IT. A business might find a solution but not one which satisfies customer and stakeholders’ needs. The business could find itself spending significant time and resources on rework because they cannot resolve problems the first time around.
At the rowboat level, a few keen people in the company paddle along making slow and limited progress. Without clear communication and collaboration between the entire BU and IT team, strategic alignment and focus of stakeholders’ needs remain unclear, also resulting in wasteful time and resources. The bridge represents the stronger end of the spectrum in which the BU and IT share communication, collaboration and a common vision resulting in solutions which meet the enterprise’s needs. To achieve the bridge level of integration the business analyst identifies stakeholders’ needs by bridging the gap between the BU and IT. He develops a framework for requirements: location, data, technology, organization, business processes, and applications. Next, he develops requirements to meet the customer and stakeholders’ needs. Once identified, he develops solutions to problem area.
According to the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), business analysis is one of the fastest growing occupations in the world as companies recognize the critical need for decreasing the gap between the BU and IT to satisfy customers and stakeholders.