“There should be a clear definition of best practice within the business analysis community,” said Paul Turner of Business & IS Skills, who is working on a refresh of the BCS ISEB qualifications.
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Speaking at a BCS book launch, Turner highlighted the communications difficulties between business IT users and software developers, and the demand for business analysis. ISEB qualifications had helped address this need, he said.
The book, entitled Business Analysis, is the result of collaboration between several authors, and provides workable skills and techniques, underpinned with academic theory. Turner said the book was there to plug the gaps in these qualifications, not replace them.
He said, “If a person uses the SFIA [IT skills framework] they should be covered as a business analyst, and the newer qualifications within the ISEB framework also cover business change.”
A new IT-enabled business change qualification is being piloted alongside the ISEB qualification in business analysis. These are contributing towards providing ongoing definitions to a series of professional roles and qualifications in specific disciplines.
Debra Paul, director of Assist Knowledge Development and co-editor of the book, said Business Analysis aimed to build on a specialist pool of knowledge to help support the profession. The book provides best practice techniques and should be viewed as an additional reference tool.
Craig Rollason, a senior business analyst and one of the authors, explained how business analysts were reinventing themselves by obtaining new skills and broadening their remit. He cited core skills that a business analyst should have.
● Project design – designing suitable business and technical strategies to meet the necessary criteria a business. This means doing things the right way by selecting the appropriate means of analysis, the right tools and the right resources.
● Change management – IT enables something else to create value. Business and IT change help to facilitate a business’s final outcomes and benefits. Business analysts must understand business change and how it comes about by having knowledge of an organisation’s culture, capability, and processes.
● Emotional intelligence – a “soft skill” involving managing relationships, having self awareness, empathy and political influence, as opposed to mental intelligence (IQ). Emotional intelligence involves engaging people’s hearts and minds to a project, which is inevitably the formula for business transformation.
Information on BCS membership: www.bcs.org/membership