I drew a couple of pictures to show what business analysts and senior business analysts do … and really all they do is help you understand what problem you have and how to solve it. Of course it is also good if they can help others understand what you want so they can build the solution you want rather than something that would have been great at solving someone else’s problem.
But even more senior than the senior BA is the “senior senior” BA and sadly they are pretty rare. The reason they are rare is that they do not really help you solve a problem so you don’t know you need them.
The enterprise analyst or business architect analyses your business. But here it is a bit confusing:
- IT people like to do Enterprise Architecture which sounds like an IT thing, but actually starts with defining “what is the business and what do they need”;
- HR gurus tell you that you need to hire good people and help them to become better;
- Product managers and usability researchers form a deep understanding of your (potential) customers and the link between their needs and your opportunity to help them; and
- Management Consultants come in to help you define your strategy and then recommend some next steps before jetting off to help someone else.
Each of these roles contain a core element of “BA” stuff – whether you call it business analysis or business architecture. But typically BA’s do not look at marketing strategy, financial viability of the organisation or deep customer research and understanding. They BA takes over from these people and helps you go from “understanding the market and our finances” to “let’s do a project – or at least a business case”.
I have added the tools that I like to use – but of course there are others and your local BA guru should be able to show you which ones to use.
If you don’t have a business architect then you should probably get one – they are a great addition to your crew.
Of course if you are a business architect/enterprise business analyst type person (or aspire to be one) then you should feel free to contact me at any time for some superb training, capability reviews or consulting support.