The New Business Analyst: Citizen Developer and Rising Star

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The New Business Analyst: Citizen Developer and Rising Star

/ September 19, 2014

You’ve probably felt the change coming slowly for a while – but have you embraced your new reality? Historically, the business analyst has been a task-oriented role focused on requirements, documentation, and project review. And while these tasks are immensely important to the business, I keep seeing reports that the business community is demanding more. According to the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), there is a new definition and set of expectations for the path ahead.

According to the IIBA: We identify and define the solutions that will maximize the value delivered by an organization to its stakeholders.

This definition focuses more on the art and management of change. It seems that the business analyst will act as an agent that ushers the business into a new era of innovation.

In fact, the IIBA promotes: Business analysts may be involved in everything from defining strategy, to creating the enterprise architecture, to taking a leadership role by defining the goals and requirements for programs and projects or supporting continuous improvement in its technology and processes.

The business analyst is quickly moving into the realm of strategy, focused on matching new technologies to growth opportunities. And while this may appear overwhelming, the BA is uniquely qualified to hold this position. With specialized knowledge across business, IT and operations functions, the BA can act as part innovator and part developer.

What’s led the move from task-oriented to results-oriented?

Consumer demands have increased exponentially and businesses are struggling to keep up. Ease of engagement, speed of service, and personalization now play critical roles in the race for sales, satisfaction, and general business efficiency.

Ultimately, every business must think and act like a software business. Because, in the end, you need the right applications to support business innovation. But it’s also about having the right people to build those applications. Unfortunately, the gap between business needs and IT’s ability to deliver continues to grow.

IT is facing a mountain of debt: Gartner predicts that IT debt, “the cost of dealing with delayed and deferred maintenance of the application portfolio,” will be a one trillion dollar problem.

Approval rates are very low: According to a survey by McKinsey & Company, only 13 percent of business executives say their IT organizations are introducing new technologies faster or more effectively than competitors.

But despite IT constraints, the business is pushing forward, looking to other departments to take a greater interest in technology and innovation. Ultimately, every employee should now consider him- or herself to be part app developer. The rise of citizen developers addresses this transformation.

The citizen developer represents the business users who are empowered to build applications through the use of low-code development platforms. These platforms allow users to design, develop, deploy, and manage applications through the use of visual workflows and model-driven tools, in an environment that’s still governed by IT. And with more user-friendly platforms available to make application development faster and more intuitive, it’s easy for others to get involved.

Enter the business analyst, a group of individuals with the domain expertise and technical acumen that makes them an ideal candidate for the citizen developer title.

Business Analysts As Citizen Developers

The business analyst has the information at his or her finger tips, can understand the technical processes, and has a business level view of the greater needs for success. Per the new IIBA definition, they have the information to identify business gaps, drive innovation, and through the use of low-code development tools, help create the applications that support business change.

Every business has a backlog of projects that need to be reviewed and brought to market. Whether to innovate, streamline, or replace, the traditional app delivery model is broken and businesses need a way to fix it now. The business analyst is well positioned to help drive this change. But it’s up to the individuals to get things moving at their respective businesses.

Many of your peers have already embraced this new title. If they can make this change, why can’t you? It’s all about understanding business priorities and finding the right technology that you can rely on for help. Take a lesson from Savan Vyas, Business Engineer at LV= Insurance. In this blog post, Savan outlines the pre-requisites for delivering a production-ready app in one sprint.

Change is in the air, but I’d say that the business analyst is in a prime spot to reap the benefits. Are you ready for a change? Wake up to the endless possibilities. You’re now empowered to act on your insights and ideas for change, but only if you embrace this new world. The next move is up to you. Start building your own apps.

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