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How Do Business Analysts Become Business Leaders?

How Do Business Analysts Become Business Leaders?

Business analysts are vital to any successful IT project, but many of them feel their careers have turned into a cul-de-saq. So what do they do nect?

With that in mind, Salunga outlined several skillset areas that BAs should work on as they prepare their career paths.

Business analysts should broaden their cross-functional experience.

Business analysts looking to expand their career horizons must seek challenges outside of their functional heritage, Salunga states.

"Sourcing-process BAs, for example, should certainly continue to deepen their functional expertise, but they should also develop knowledge on the retail distribution processes and the manufacturing processes," he writes. "This cross-functional inquisitiveness will empower a BA to make more holistic recommendations and identifies to management the BA's interest in and potential for taking on broader responsibilities."

Business analysts should become familiar with process and IT management methodologies.

"Lean Six Sigma has become a relatively well-known and highly adopted business management philosophy, while CMMI, ITIL and other methodologies have gained significant traction within IT," writes Salunga. "Traditional business analysts should seek to understand and utilise Lean Six Sigma tools and methods to improve processes and enable broad-scale business innovation. Business technology analysts will also need deep knowledge of CMMI, ITIL and other methodologies to improve IT performance and align IT with the business."

Business analysts should increase technological knowledge and skills.

Salunga contends that both business-oriented and IT-oriented career paths will require "a higher degree of technology fluency," particularly with BPM technologies and SOA. In addition, business-oriented BAs must develop process modelling skills using Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) and become adept at using process analysis tools.

"Business technology analysts will need to deepen their BPM and business rules technology expertise," he writes, "and be able to turn business process models created by their business-oriented counterparts into executable logic."

Business analysts should strengthen their soft skills.

Business analysts already consider their soft skills more important to their success than analytical and technical expertise, Salunga writes. "With the tightening of budgets, BAs on both career paths must hone their organisational change management, conflict resolution and leadership skills as they work to sell their recommendations and lead ever-changing teams and initiatives."

Salunga concludes that there will not be one distinct path to business leadership for BAs, but they will have to adapt and expand their skillsets to succeed.

"The blurring of the lines between business and IT," he writes, "presents business-oriented business analysts with two career paths to leadership: a traditional but expanded business-oriented path or the business technology path. Both paths share common skill areas such as familiarity with process management frameworks, methodologies and tools, but they require different depths of expertise in each of these areas."

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