The Business Analyst Skillset in the New World
The Business Analyst (BA)is a key role bridging the domains of business and technical world. In midst of Outsourcing/Offshoring, this pivotal role is still preferred to reside onsite. Having been in the staffing industry for over 20 years, I am often asked this question – what skills should I acquire and develop to be a successful Business Analyst? Let me try to answer this from the recruiting perspective:
Traditional BA skills
Traditional BA skills are very much in play – communication skills being the most important trait. One needs to be a great communicator. As Andrea Morra, Director, Prudential Retirement, who heads a team who performs business analysis puts it, “Someone who can see the big picture, and then is able to break it down into the smaller components. Someone who can inspire people around them by painting the big picture in a relatable way”.
As for technical skills-Data Modeling skills and SQL are a MUST have. A rudimentary understanding of programming helps to grasp the fundamentals. Being able to draw up Use Cases and Wire-frames are the standard skills you must have. But as the Business Analyst role is evolving and they are playing a major role in a company’s transformation, we have seen the following hottest skills for Business Analysts.
As more and more organizations are going towards Agile methodology, time for Business Analyst to adapt to the change and imbibe the spirit of the agile methodology. They need to understand their strengths and play accordingly. For example, if they are playing the role of a Project Manager BA, they need to learn “ manage” or a BA on a core development team has to be technically savvy to act as a bridge between business and developers.
Data related technologies
Every company on this planet is talking about data and how they seek meaningful information out of it. If you like data and can play the role in data representation, you may see some good job opportunities. But you still need to learn tools such as Microstrategy, Tableau etc. and be more technical savvy from the data perspective (Sourcing, Cleansing etc.)
With the deployment of cloud computing, organizations are undergoing a lot of changes which include business process re-engineering and dependence on Cloud provider. Here the Business Analyst needs to make use of their soft skills and interact with vendors from time to time. Negotiation skills, vendor management, Business Process reengineering skills are a must for these kinds of scenarios.
Besides these skills, one of the most important skills is “continuous improvement and innovative skills”, as Andrea Morra puts it. “Business Analysts must build creativity and have problem-solving skills”. These are just a few examples of skills needed for Business Analyst jobs.