Today’s Business Analyst
The 21st century business analyst’s world is multifaceted. As a mediator, moderator, connector and ambassador, the business analyst must bring the business needs together with IT resources. Successful business analysts tend to be clear communicators, smooth facilitators, precise analyzers and team players.
Plus, the ideal analyst has the versatility of various business functions, such as operations, finance, engineering, technology or architecture. Jay Michael, a business analyst for Colfax, agrees that the business analyst role is fuzzy at many companies.
He says, “I usually describe what a BA does by telling people I am a bridge between business systems from the end user to functional implementation of technical solutions. But when you tell somebody that they look at you like ’OK, what do you really do?’”
What Does a Business Analyst Do?
As you explore the business analyst career path, you’ll need to clear up the confusion and learn about the many hats business analysts wear. From being a good communicator and data analyzer to possessing project management and technical skills, business analysts regularly use a variety of techniques.
They are the bridge that fills in the gap between each department throughout every step of development. Modern Analyst identifies several characteristics that make up the role of a business analyst as follows:
- The analyst works with the business to identify opportunities for improvement in business operations and processes
- The analyst is involved in the design or modification of business systems or IT systems
- The analyst interacts with the business stakeholders and subject matter experts in order to understand their problems and needs
- The analyst gathers, documents, and analyzes business needs and requirements
- The analyst solves business problems and, as needed, designs technical solutions
- The analyst documents the functional and, sometimes, technical design of the system
- The analyst interacts with system architects and developers to ensure the system is properly implemented
- The analyst may help test the system and create system documentation and user manuals
Organizations Need Effective Project Management for Business Growth and Sustainability
Corporate strategies often rely on project management for business growth and sustainability. As more and more companies recognize the value of effective project management, demand for skilled project managers continues to grow.
What Can Project Management Do for Business?
There are two elements at play concerning the business case for project management. The first is the question of why an organization needs project management in the first place, while the second relates to when to implement project management for business initiatives.
A Means to an End: Project Management for Business Goals
Some companies need to be sold on the benefits of implementing project management for business reasons, and this would be a general instance of making the case for project management as an in-house process. Companies that start small and subsequently experience significant growth may find it difficult to keep key stakeholders on the same page and ensure the cooperation of all departments involved. The project sponsor – or the person being held accountable for its key deliverables – should address upper management and explain the importance of project management for business success, as it provides structure and facilitates collaboration toward a common goal.
Securing Project Approval and Obtaining Project Management for Business Initiatives
Once an organization has accepted project management a means to achieve efficiency and ensure accountability, the task remains of identifying which projects will be carried out, and which of those require a dedicated project manger. Executives often expect to see the potential gain before committing resources to project management for business initiatives.
Projects go through several phases of development, and the first is known as the strategy and business case phase. This is when the individual or group that is sponsoring the project will attempt to “sell” it to upper management, by making a case that the project will yield a positive return on investment. The sponsor will usually gather the stakeholders who would play a role in bringing the proposed project to fruition and collaborate with them to create an effective presentation that indicates a high potential for the project’s ultimate success. It begins with a carefully written proposal that details the responsibilities and deliverables of all contributors. Without this, a project will rarely gain the momentum that it needs to move forward. Decision-makers must be convinced of the value of project management for business goals before they will allocate resources to a project.
Making the Case of Project Management for Business Success
Whether you’re a project sponsor looking to secure project management services or a project manager seeking to build a more compelling business case, you can gain the tools and strategies you need through a good project management training program. One option is the 100% online certificate courses offered by Villanova University, which is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the #1 university in the Master’s category/North region for nearly two decades. Villanova’s multimedia video-based training includes two multi-course certificate programs: a Master Certificate in IS/IT Project Management and a Master Certificate in Applied Project Management. In addition to preparing professionals for PMP® or CAPM® certification, these programs impart the necessary skills and knowledge to make a compelling case for project management for business growth and sustainability.