Business Analysis: So What Do You Do?

So What Do You Do?

You are at another cocktail party or wedding. Making your way through the festivities you meet people and introduce yourself. Inevitably you get the question, so what do you do?

Sort of – and you just decide to go with that for a while and then you decide – hey I’ll just say I help organizations improve and make changes. A new found acquaintance says –’so you are a business process manager.’ The answer, sort of.

In fact, I am a generalist Business Analyst –I review current process, data, business rules, and deaccessioning to understand the gap between the current state and the business’ desired state. Often, because of the continued move to SAS and cloud solutions, I am conducting gap analysis to determine how the software affects the current processes. I’ll document the benefits of changing the process or the software in order for the business to realize the desired gains.

The IIBA BABOK v3.0 helps to clarify the difference, or should I say the similarities, between business analysis and business process management. The IIBA recognizes the practice of BPM as a specialty. They refer to as a business analysis perspective. IIBA’s definition of the BPM perspective is;

Business Process Management (BPM) is a management discipline and a set of enabling technologies that:

  • Focuses on how the organization performs work to deliver value across multiple functional areas to customers and stakeholders
  • Aims for a view of value delivery that spans the entire organization, and
  • Views the organization through a process-centric lens.” (1)

A business analyst utilizes much of the same tools and techniques of a Business Process Manager, but may not have a Six Sigma Black Belt. I have been known to utilize a SIPOC to help the business define what is critical to the customer thereby addressing value and priority for any resulting requirements. Business Analysts work at the strategic level, in projects and in operations. Our claim to fame is the creation of business and solutions requirements that can take the form of a business case, request for proposal or business requirements document.

We collaborate with stakeholders using approaches like observation, modeling and facilitation to elicit those needs. Business Analyst will make recommendations for process changes to address key performance and productivity needs, assisting in organizational change. In fact I’d throw out that Business Process Managers are business analysts!

(1) IIBA Body of Knowledge (BABOK) pag 424

Maureen McVey

Maureen McVey

Maureen McVey Over 20 years of experience in business analysis working with public and private organizations Head of IIBA® Learning and Development from 2010 – 2014 Founding Member of the IIBA Contributor to the IIBA BABOK® Guide v3. Contributor IEEE IT BOK Contributor to the IIBA Agile Extension to the BABOK® Guide Authored peer reviewed journal on organizational change –The Forgotten Requirement – Organizational Change published February 2013 International Speaker: notably Building Business Capability (BBC) Conference Topic: Creating an Innovative Environment in your Organization
Maureen McVey

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