Burger Consulting Group has been recommending the addition of a Business Analyst to many client organizations for the last five years or so. The clients who have added this role have shared very positive feedback so far; “I wish we had done this a few years ago” is not an uncommon refrain. The role of Business Analyst has been around for many years, more commonly in other industries or in much larger construction organizations. Today, BCG has a Business Analyst working productively within a $50M a year specialty contractor and has been very successful.
There are a few factors that have led to this development. Companies are evaluating, selecting and implementing far more solutions today than they were ten and 15 years ago. IT is already overwhelmed with security, cloud migrations and other enterprise-level initiatives like storage, so they are unable to dedicate the necessary time to work with teams in the organization. And most organizations now have more tech-savvy workers with higher expectations from technology and the ability to go further with little support and direction.
You can find a position description on our website that might help you find an ideal candidate for a Business Analyst. Interestingly, some of the more successful people come from within the organization. Think about a Project Manager or Project Administrator who is tech-savvy but not necessarily a programmer; someone that may be looking for a new challenge and a way to have a more significant impact on the company. Someone who knows the organization, processes and existing systems but is not necessarily attached to those processes. They could easily report-in to the CFO or COO or a high-level operations manager, and they should have dotted-line reporting back to IT.
The role is to work with different teams to develop processes, implement solutions, train employees and work with IT and the solution vendor as needed. Most organizations do not currently have someone to do this, so many of the important functions necessary for a successful implementation or change management campaign fall through the cracks. This person could work with a team on developing training material, scoping out an integration, testing an upgrade or troubleshooting a system issue. They should not be a help desk though. They should be more people and process oriented than technical, with a drive towards getting results and moving around obstacles.
Companies that deploy a Business Analyst effectively get far more value from their existing technology. They are more successful with initial deployments in terms of getting people on board and are better able to get additional value from advanced features in existing solutions. Business Analysts do not typically have much real “authority” but are able to deploy soft power very effectively.