Alastair Majury Dunblane
A Business Analyst in Action
Sales are down; profit projections are an issue: it's time to cut costs. Obvious targets are non-customer facing sections: how big is our government, HR, finance, advertising? How much are we paying IT and our suppliers? Every department will justify its own existence, how crucial it's to the company, while pointing fingers at other departments and their spending - how much did that new office price?
Any company that has a Business Analyst unit is going to be asked about its value and contribution to your business. The bigger the team, the more difficult it is to justify. Equally if the staff is too little, how can it include significant value? The answer lies in the perception of the team, its achievements thus far, and the current initiatives and strategic developments that rely on it.
So long as the device may demonstrate significant (not marginal) benefits to the organization, not just in yearly savings and price reductions but in organizing company-wide synergy in strategic thinking, planning and projects, the arguments are powerful.
Business analysis units frequently have a very much reach inside a company, since the knowledge of the business, its services and products and its strategic planning are essential parts of the business analysis function. A supervisor with a business analysis background is usually better positioned to comprehend the effect of his department within the strategic objectives and the inherent value of the team as part of the overall business plan. Business analysts will also normally have a much better fundamental understanding for business dynamics, an important requirement for senior supervisors.
Can a company survive without a company analysis unit? Well, many do, and they still continue to operate in exactly the same way as they always have done. The capability to identify areas for change, systems and processes that need refinement or new strategies that require development to take advantage of market opportunities all become more difficult. Any changes are usually unstructured, localised and inwardly focused, frequently ignoring the wider effect on the business and its customers. The results over times are often increased prices, confusion with all the business, overly intricate and disparate systems along with a dependency on a few key men and women. In a tough market, this isn't a wonderful situation to be in.
By educating staff and managers in the function and value to the business of Business Analysts (or in-house consultants) some demand or prerequisites may be created. Apparent proof of BAs adding value provides a good grounding and cross-department awareness and provides better potential for the company to perform. For people in these roles the capability to attain top jobs is evident.
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