The Role of the Business Analyst in Digital Transformation
When it comes to running a business, the only constant is change. Whether you're looking to expand your client base, meet the expectations of stakeholders, or compete with new players in the market, evolution is the key to success. As new digital technologies become ever more integrated into daily life, it’s clear that businesses must always be adapting in order to remain relevant, maintain a competitive advantage, and to broaden their market reach.
The term ‘digital transformation’ has become a bit of a buzzword so it’s important to first clarify what it actually entails and the steps that need to be taken to ensure that the time, money, and effort invested in it are worthwhile. Then we will discuss the critical role that business analysts play in developing and delivering successful digital transformation strategies.
So what exactly is digital transformation?
We frequently associate digital transformation with a variety of concepts and recent technological advancements such as cloud services, automation, big data, or blockchain. However, applying one or more of these ideas to your business doesn't mean that they will necessarily transform it in a meaningful way.
Aside from adopting new technologies, digital transformation means a strategic and cultural mindset shift that allows businesses to question long-held norms and standards, adopt modern methodologies, and, perhaps most importantly, become less risk averse.
Employing an effective digital transformation strategy first requires a thorough understanding of how a business currently operates as well as a coherent sense and vision of where it’s heading in the future. That’s where a business analyst comes in.
4 reasons why business analysts are key to leading digital transformation projects
1. Business analysts can clarify the need for organisational change
A business analyst’s job is to interpret an organisation’s data to inform decisions that will have far reaching implications for the business as a whole. Their main focus is to analyse data to provide the various types of information needed to implement change on an organisational level.
When it comes to implementing a digital transformation plan, just as a new company must justify its entry into the market, so must an established company justify major strategy changes. A business analyst's role here is to either confirm the company's theory about proposed changes or to use data-driven insights to suggest alternative ways for the company to accomplish its objectives.
2. Business analysts can keep everyone on the same page with a digital strategy timeline
In planning a digital transformation project, a high-level vision of the plan is essential, but without a comprehensive strategy, it will struggle to gain traction. In such cases, business analysts can assist by developing a digital strategy timeline, which includes a summary of the company objectives as well as a step-by-step plan for achieving them.
Initiatives that conflict with business strategy are one of the most serious risks of digital transformation. With a business analyst in charge of a company’s digital transformation, objectives and targets will stay on track, and the things needed for tracking progress will be in place. Business analysts are the people who bring order to chaos in this context, and they act as an important resource for other team members who need to know how something should work.
3. Business analysts can coordinate and bridge gaps between teams
Business analysts are vital in bridging the divide between the business and technical teams, especially during times of digital transformation. This role necessitates a diverse skill set, including technical expertise, excellent analytical abilities, and social intelligence.
To lead a successful digital transformation project, a business analyst must understand business owners' needs and be able to assist developers in translating those needs into workable technological solutions. To do this successfully, a business analyst must have the skills to be able to build a narrative around data to hone in on and communicate key insights with impactful visualisations.
4. Business analysts can liaise with stakeholders and promote efficient collaboration
Before setting a digital transformation project in motion, a key piece of the process that often gets overlooked is first ensuring that the people who are going to be affected with the new technology being implemented (i.e. key stakeholders) are up to speed and have buy-in on any huge changes to normal processes.
A business analyst’s role in facilitating stakeholder collaboration is pivotal because it prevents mistakes and saves time and money. When stakeholders don’t get their say in the decision-making process, resulting solutions don't integrate or work for certain people in the business. To avoid this, a good business analyst starts from a basis of user-centric design. S/he will ask detailed questions in order to identify and address any concerns of the real users, whose support is critical to the ultimate success of the project. This process captures the business requirements for digital projects in the context of the project’s lifecycle and establishes the acceptance criteria. Stakeholders are more likely to adopt a new solution with the right initial input strategy and user-centred design.
In almost every phase of the digital transformation process, numerous complicated obstacles make themselves known. Having a business analyst with the right digital skills at the helm of your digital transformation projects can help your company to succeed where others fail.
Business analysts can effectively engage relevant stakeholders, bridge the gaps between different teams, help decrease the margin for error, automate processes, minimise the dangers and human errors associated with programmes like Excel, and maintain agility and focus with the right tools.
Are you a business analyst wondering how you can develop your skills to take your company’s digital transformation projects to the next level?
Here at Cambridge Spark, we recently launched a new apprenticeship programme which is 100% funded by the Apprenticeship Levy. The Digital Business Analyst apprenticeship offers learners the opportunity to upskill for business analysis and data literacy, focusing on data-driven digital leadership, change management and more.
Using the Level 4 Business Analyst apprenticeship standard, the programme equips its learners with the skills and knowledge needed to take an organisation’s digital transformation journey to the next level with the deployment of data-informed digital solutions.
Designed for those ready and keen to boost digital fluency across their workforce by introducing digital tools, systems and approaches; our apprentices will learn how they can become key drivers in achieving their organisation’s digital transformation roadmap.
To find out more, use the form below to fill in your details and one of our Training Solutions team will get back to you with all the information you need to start your apprenticeship journey.