James Robertson

James RobertsonAuthor of ‘Discovering the essence of the problem’.

Business analysis responsibilities are changing. Gone are the days when the business analyst was simply a stenographer, faithfully recording whatever the business people said they wanted and faithfully translating whatever they wanted into requirements.

Now we are seeing the role take on additional meaning as the business analyst becomes more of an internal business consultant, advising on business processes, and how best to improve those processes.

Innovation is one of those things that every organisation says is a good thing, but very few actually practice it. Here is where the business analyst, in his/her unique position within the organisation, is able to lead innovation workshops as a way of improving the business practices. After all, if there is no innovation within a project, then it is likely that the project is delivering very little value. Simply taking a legacy COBOL system and rewriting it in Java does not add value to the organisation. But an innovative business process can add considerable business value.

There are some fundamental truths in our industry, and one of them is that we must understand what it is that we are wanting our projects to achieve. And that what we want to achieve is not to implement some software, but to improve our client’s business. This is where business analysis is heading, and may it arrive there sooner rather than later.

James Robertson of the Atlantic Systems Guild is a consultant, teacher, project leader and co-author of Mastering the Requirements Process