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What Does a Software Engineer Think About the Main Trends in Modern Business Analysis?

How has business analysis transformed in recent years and what are the leading trends in 2023? Dhananjay Janarthanan, EPAM Senior Software Engineer, shares his thoughts on this topic.

Introduction

The role of a business analyst has undergone a major transformation. Business analysis used to be understood as more of a number-crunching and report-writing profession. Now, the success of a wide range of businesses is significantly impacted by this dynamic and still evolving field.

I am a software engineer, but I regularly cooperate with BAs within a developer team. So, I would like to share my “view from the side.” In this article, I dive into the world of modern business analysis and explore how it has been transformed by the ever-changing business environment.

More about the profession

The main principles of modern business analysis

Originally, business analysis was considered to be a domain largely focused on data analysis and reporting. Today, business analysts have a wide range of responsibilities, but all of them are focused on the main goal — helping clients find efficient and effective solutions to address business needs.

I describe the modern approach to business analysis as following certain core principles, or trends:

  • Data-driven decisions. Data still plays a key role in modern business analysis. These days, business analysts as well as data analysts have far more options, enabling them to present data in simple and engaging ways. Various analytics and data visualization tools help discover insights that can avoid costly errors or missteps, and they can also be useful for strategic decision-making. With the increasing popularity and availability of AI tools, specialists can leverage the power of predictive and prescriptive analytics to provide helpful recommendations to their organizations. In addition, companies can now benefit from analytical and visualization tools such as Tableau, Power BI, etc.

  • Agile and lean principles. Nowadays, businesses require quick and adaptable approaches to address the needs of a rapidly transforming market. That’s why the traditional waterfall project management methodology is being replaced by agile and lean principles. Business analysts deal with these methodologies daily, enabling cooperation between teams and clients, and ensuring that business value is delivered. Many organizations invest in tools such as Jira or Asana to implement agile principles into their everyday work.

  • User-centric design. User experience (UX) has become a crucial focus of businesses across many different industries. Business analysts collaborate with UX designers and developers to ensure that products and services meet user expectations and are easy and convenient to use. This involves BAs performing user research, creating user personas, and drafting user journeys to improve the overall customer experience.

  • Innovation and digital transformation. The digital world forces companies to undergo digital transformation. Digital transformation can be described as a complex process of using various digital technologies to improve business processes and customer experience. Business analysts play an important role in identifying opportunities for innovation and matching digital strategies with business needs. They function as mediators between tech and business units, taking care to ensure that technology investments result in real business value. For example, to implement a centralized data warehouse, a business analysts could look at a range of products from open-source versions of ETL frameworks such as Pentaho, to cloud technologies such as Snowflake, depending on the use case and budget constraints.

  • Cybersecurity and risk management. Because of the growing dependence on technology, cybersecurity and risk management have become increasingly thorny issues. Business analysts are expected to assess and mitigate risks related to tech projects. They work together with cybersecurity experts to protect sensitive data and implement compliance consistent with regulations such as GDPR and HIPAA (depending on the region). Many companies have dedicated teams for cybersecurity and risk mitigation, the members of which have relevant industry-approved certifications.

  • Stakeholder engagement. Effective communication with stakeholders and clients is one of the most important business analyst tasks. BAs should “translate” technical requirements into business language, and vice versa. Clear and effective communication is important for ensuring that everyone is aligned with project objectives. BAs use various communication channels or tools for this purpose, such as traditional emails, Slack, MS Teams, etc.

  • Continuous learning and adaptation. To stay current, every specialist in any field should continue to learn new things. Business analysts are no exception. They should keep up with the latest industry trends, new technologies, and BA best practices. Professional certifications, such as CBAP, are becoming more valuable to demonstrate expertise and commitment to the field.

Conclusion

Modern business analysis is a dynamic and fast-paced domain that contributes significantly to the success of every organization. Business analysts help drive innovation, optimize business processes, and keep businesses competitive and growing.

As technologies continue to evolve, and businesses face new and varied challenges, the role of a business analyst will continue to change and become even more important. If you're considering a career in business analysis, expect your path to be exciting, complicated, and definitely not boring.