One of the most strategic roles of the Business Analyst (BA) is that of a Management Consultant. This role is not drawn out by the IIBA® in the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK®), but it would fall in the Enterprise Analysis knowledge area. Perhaps this role will be given its due recognition in the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge Guide version 3.0 now being developed.
The Business Analyst, Enterprise Analyst (EA) or Enterprise Architect (EA) as they are sometimes called in this role, is often engaged in enterprise wide or market research activities that gives the person great insight into the organization and the market(s) in which it operates. Such activities as feasibility studies, market research, product analysis, SWOT analysis, Capability Gap analysis, analyzing business issues and opportunities, root cause analysis, defining business needs, developing business cases and documenting business processes gives the analyst a deeper understanding of the business and the environment in which it operates that sometimes even the senior management of the organization does not have. This is not saying that business analysts are smarter than business management, it is saying that analysts get deeper into the details of the analysis, which can derive greater understanding of these details about the business.
The creation of internal IT Consulting groups is becoming a common place in companies; in particular a few organizations here in Cincinnati and Dayton in which I have consulted. These groups are often created to perform business analysis activities on the enterprise level; to consult the business on the capabilities and limitations of technology and to consult enterprise application development teams on business needs and requirements. Whether BAs, or the IT Consulting Group, is consulting executive management or business lines management; this is consulting business management to take advantage of business opportunities and diminish business weaknesses and issues.
The creation of an internal IT Consulting Group shows great emphasis to business analysis within the organization. Even if your organization is not large enough to justify a formal IT Consulting Group, giving emphasis to business analysis as management consultants helps the business management make more informed decisions, helps the organization better accomplish its strategic goals and initiatives and enables better change management.
How does your company utilize business analysis for strategic value?