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Business Analyst as a Service (BAaaS) – and by extension, Data Analytics as a Service (DAaaS)

Picture a Project Manager, a full team and a Business Analyst ... on every project.

Budgets are tight so often it's the latter that either gets sacrificed, usually merged into someone else's role.

Many Project Managers have in the past, had parts of their job description that look more 'BA' than 'PM', and have had to try to cover both roles. However, we need to recognize that Business Analyst (BA) is a vital discipline in its own right. Business and technology demands have changed the landscape and it is constantly evolving. Increased security threats, GDPR legislation, greater emphasis on return on investment, tighter budgets, less flexibility around delivery dates, all mean an effective BA has become an essential rather than a luxury.

Organizations are constantly in need of business analysis (BA) skills. BAs can help with business transformation initiatives where information technology plays a major role as driver or enabler.

Business Analysis as a Service (BAaaS) is driven by three trends.

1. Strategic Role of Business Analysis

Business analysis is becoming more of a strategic role in organizations. BA capabilities have become vital in organizations with complex business processes and broad portfolio of IT applications. BAs can make use of technology to improve business performance, rather than just being involved in traditional software development and infrastructure management activities. Rather than being translators, BAs can act as architects of the business.

2. Service Orientation Gaining Importance

Service orientation is important in both the internal and external ways of thinking about value creation, organizational arrangements, and business-IT alignment. On one hand, enterprises continuously strive to offer their services in a manner which aligns with satisfying their customer's needs, while on the other hand the internal organizational structures are also evolving in the form of loosely coupled "soup of services" (as compared to traditional 'department' oriented structures) to increase responsiveness, better performance management and increased accountability.

3. Sourcing Challenges

The third notable trend is in the area of (global) sourcing. Project managers/BA managers are faced with a choice of either pursuing the traditional model of high cost contractor-based sourcing of skills, or developing permanent staff. The latter implies losing flexibility of quickly ramping up and ramping down teams on an ad hoc, need-driven basis. This issue is exacerbated in the case of BAs since most of the BA work happens in-house unlike Design & Development which can be largely outsourced.

The three trends will contribute immensely to an increase in shared advisory/shared services group for the BA community. Trends already suggest an increase in service orientation amongst the BA communities in some large organizations. This group has good subject matter and technology expertise to be able to provide services around Requirements Engineering, Process Management, Data Management, Product Evaluation, Business Case Preparation, Business Architecture and many more.

BAaaS is not a new concept. Why is it relevant now?

1. Security - Business process and technical know-how are among the skills that make a great Business Analyst, and combined and deployed within your portfolio, these skills will help to mitigate some of these security risks.

2. BAs Create Value - Deployed effectively, a BA will find the most cost-effective solution to your problems and challenges — outsourced BAs especially have a wider awareness and experience of cost-reducing options.

3. BAs Facilitate Upscaling - BAs can provide a framework in which to upscale to meet demand within the parameters of your budget.

4. BAs Can Sniff Out Extra Business Benefits – BAs actively search out opportunities for aligning IT solutions with business strategy and in doing so help the IT project team realize greater potential benefits.

5. BAs Have Flexible, Transferrable Skills - Business Analyst role seems to attract talent with transferable skills and more varied project experience.

6. BAs Reduce Having to Start Over! - Unnecessary change, having to rework portions of the project, or even start tasks over can all be reduced by having someone effective in the BA role.

Engaging a consulting partner, who comes onboard with basic practices, processes and guidelines, can accelerate the development as well as the maturing of such a function. There are many instances where organizations have set up a joint shared services model with their vendors to achieve flexibility, scale and demand of business with good service level performance at a lower total cost. Such partnerships also help to free up in-house BAs, allowing them to focus more on innovation and value creation for the business.

A well-developed model for the BA as a Service that addresses the value proposition, the strategic alignment, the organizational configuration and the financial scheme (revenue, investment, KPI) can work as a catalyst for innovation, enhancing workforce effectiveness and reducing enterprise costs.

BAaaS could provide you with the hero that your portfolio needs at a cost it can afford. Talk to us now about this.

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