5 Sectors Where Business Analysts are Leading Digital Transformation

“At least 40% of all businesses will die in the next 10 years… if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies.” John Chambers, Cisco 

In any digital transformation, the crucial first step is understanding current business operations and having a clear future vision. This falls on the business analyst, a pivotal role that supports smooth transitions into using new technologies.

While core responsibilities remain predominantly consistent across industries, variations occur based on specific projects and team dynamics.

Digital transformation extends beyond technology, demanding a shift to challenge norms and embrace modern practices. A business analyst interprets organisational data, making decisions with profound implications.

Their responsibilities encompass analysing business possibilities, data collection, recommending management methods, documentation creation, team building, and more.

This article explores how a business analyst's key responsibilities adapt to meet the digital transformation needs of five major industries.

👉RELATED READING: The Role of the Business Analyst in Digital Transformation

1. Manufacturing

The manufacturing sector has seen a significant influence from digital transformation initiatives. The results of these initiatives are improved factory safety, quality, throughput, efficiency, revenue, and sustainability.

The effects are significant, but this change is necessary to stay up with changing client needs and fierce competitors.

As in all industries, a BA's main responsibility in the manufacturing sector is to interpret a company's needs and realise its potential.

Typical responsibilities of a business analyst in manufacturing

  • Factory safety enhancement - An analyst may recognise digital solutions that improve safety, leading to fewer workplace injuries and accidents occurring.
  • Product quality enhancement - As part of their role, analysts will research and implement initiatives to boost output quality and reduce any reworking of products, leading to overall increased customer satisfaction.
  • Prototype development - Putting together prototypes that can address the concerns of key interested parties.
  • Liaise with stakeholders - Communicating with stakeholders to inform them of proposed solutions with relevant data to support these proposals.
  • Documentation creation - Developing materials that explain the functional design and provide justification to meet corporate requirements.
  • Supporting the testing team - Aiding the testing team to develop test plans and test cases.
  • Cutover planning and production validation - developing cutover plans and conducting accuracy testing to validate production units.

    A man and woman looking at a laptop screen in a warehouse

2. Tech

You might wonder what exactly are the key digital transformation objectives of large technology companies?

According to a KPMG report entitled Transforming the Transformers, which explores how tech companies are accelerating their own digital transformations, artificial intelligence is the most popular technology. 

The Internet of Things and robotic process automation (RPA) is tied for second, and cloud, drones, e-commerce platforms, and video/collaboration technologies are all tied for third.

The report explains that AI enables tech companies to analyse everything from altering client behaviour to streamlining supply chains faster and more intelligently. Servers are populated by fresh, frequently unstructured data on customers and business processes thanks to IoT devices and sensors.

Robotic Process Automation gives businesses a point of entry into digitalisation that frees workers to concentrate on more strategic tasks while boosting efficiency and productivity when business models and financial forecasts change.

In the tech sector, the analyst plays an important role in the drive to research and implement these digital transformation initiatives. They must work with different kinds of analysts (system analysts, data analysts, data scientists) to understand the technological problems and organisational difficulties their technology company is facing.

Analysts then play a key role in determining the best course of action to implement new systems.

Typical responsibilities of a business analyst in the tech sector

  • Analyse project related data - Analysts will determine the financial viability of projects by collecting and analysing relevant data.
  • Assess business requirements - Explain terminologies and guidelines, provide alternatives, and ensure that staff understand all information needed for successful task completion.
  • Create requirement specifications document - Develop a document containing requirement specifications and assist in clarifying them to key stakeholders, obtaining their approval.
  • Provide guidance to developers - Developers may consult the analyst for advice during project work.
  • Organise and lead team meetings - Take accountability for organising team meetings to discuss and resolve challenges, including hazards, technological limitations, and other issues.
  • Participate in user acceptance tests - Take part in user acceptance tests to check the readiness of software or products for release.

👉RECOMMENDED READING: 5 Reasons Why Business Analysts Should Learn Data Skills

3. Pharmaceuticals

The pharmaceutical sector is no exception to the digital and retail trends facing other industries and is continually challenged with new issues as markets become more crowded and competitive and as consumer expectations change over time. 

Guaranteeing commercial success is no longer as simple as having a strong medical clinical profile. Pharma firms now need to learn how to not only launch and sell their products, but also design and manage digital and hybrid experiences.

Typical responsibilities of an analyst in pharmaceuticals

  • Assist with digitalisation of business data and operations - Contribute to the digitalisation of business data, research, and operations.
  • Procedure management - Oversee crucial procedures such as inventory control, transporter onboarding, supplier relationship management, etc.
  • Coordinate crucial initiatives - Coordinate with various company stakeholders to rapidly and efficiently implement crucial initiatives, such as tele-health consultations, home delivery of medications, mobile apps for medication management, refill requests, and delivery tracking.
  • Ensure timely launch of projects/products - Ensure that projects or products are launched in a timely manner within the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Optimise use of technology - Utilise the latest methods and tools, including machine learning, AI, and cloud technologies, to optimise business operations in the pharmaceutical industry.

👉RELATED READING: Case study: Transforming Sustainability Data Reporting at GSK

Doctors and nurses surrounding a person on a laptop in a meeting

4. Retail

A variety of factors, many of which have been amplified by the pandemic, have been changing the retail industry in recent years.

These factors include:

  • The rise of e-commerce and omni-channel
  • Changing consumer behaviour
  • Hyper-personalisation, and;
  • Increasing supply chain complexity

Retailers can improve performance across the board with the help of a clear strategic digital transformation roadmap, but most companies haven't advanced enough digitally and are subsequently losing out on opportunities as a result.

Only a small number of retailers have created real multichannel products, exploited data at scale, and incorporated agile working practices across their entire organisation.

Typical responsibilities of a business analyst in retail

  • Analyse customer behaviour - Analysts in retail will analyse customer behaviour and retail trends to conduct reliability and validity analyses, providing insights for strategic decision making. 
  • Facilitate corporate schedules through programme development - They will aid in creating programmes that align with and support corporate schedules in the retail sector.
  • Manage sales and profit potential - Part of an analysts role is to proactively manage the sales and profit potential with the objective of maximising sales, profitability, and distribution in the retail industry.
  • Build positive relationships - Analysts will manage relationships between the retailer’s representative groups and customers, ensuring a positive working relationship and achieving top-line sales growth.
  • Create innovative client presentations - Business analysts will be required to produce and deliver innovative client presentations to seize new opportunities. These presentations will lead to building strategic commercial alliances, impact corporate strategies, and promote business expansion in the retail sector.

👉RELATED READING: The Race to Upskill the Retail Sector in Data Science

5. Finance

The transition from in-branch banking to online and digital services is vast. Integrating digital systems, new customer experience platforms, apps, and infrastructure, are some of the key components of the sector's digital transformation objectives. 

Blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, machine learning, and the acquisition, management, and analysis of customer data are some of the technologies that are currently being implemented.

With the rising prevalence of FinTech solutions, the sector is being disrupted, attracting regulators' attention, and prompting stricter regulatory standards.

To avoid potential financial consequences and reputational damage, banks and financial institutions have to keep on top of their compliance requirements. They must constantly monitor and update their operations making business analysts essential to this sector.

Analysts in finance are in charge of analysing and interpreting financial data for organisations. They collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders, including accountants, auditors, bankers, and other finance professionals to assist businesses in making sound financial decisions.

Typical responsibilities of an analyst in finance

  • Assessing operations initiatives - Assess new operations methodologies to improve services whilst ensuring the safety of customer data.
  • Financial market monitoring - Analysts will monitor financial markets and predict future market trends that could impact the business strategy of the company.
  • Financial statement analysis - Examine financial statements to identify differences from budgeted amounts or internal control problems.
  • Procedure and policy adjustments - Recommend adjustments to firm procedures or policies based on analysis conclusions.
  • Reporting - Draft reports on findings for assessment by higher management and present key insights.
  • Risk management evaluation - Evaluate the efficiency of the company's risk management procedures, including the funding of retirement plans and the extent of insurance coverage.
  • Process improvement - Provide guidance on implementing initiatives for process improvement to increase operational efficiency.
  • Financial guidance - Offer the business financial guidance on potential investments or funding requirements to achieve its financial objectives.
  • Projection and budget creation - Create projections and budgets based on predictions of future performance in the finance sector.

👉RECOMMENDED READING: The Difference Between a Business Analyst and a Data Analyst

Hand pressing button on calculator and on laptop

Access publicly funded upskilling programmes for business analysts

At Cambridge Spark, we offer a Level 4 Digital Business Analyst apprenticeship programme. Over 13 modules, learners will cover everything they need to become a Business Analyst. They will have a special focus on digital transformation, equipping them with the skills they need to identify and deploy data-driven solutions within their organisations.

Better still, all of our apprenticeship programmes are publicly funded through the UK Apprenticeship Levy meaning that there is no extra cost to your organisation. 

If you or members of your workforce are interested in any of our programmes, let us know by using the form below. Our team will be in touch with more details on how your team can get started on your digital transformation.

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