Admin to Analyst: What is Business Analysis?

A Business Analyst (BA) is someone who analyzes the existing or ideal organization and design of systems, including businesses, departments, and organizations. BAs also assess business models and their integration with technology.

– http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_analyst

I have been asked to participate in the upcoming “Admin To Analyst: Salesforce Business Analysts Talk Transitioning Roles” at Dreamforce 2016.  I am excited to be included with these other AWESOME presenters.

The session description speaks about Admins who have transitioned to Business Analyst role.  And check out the panelists… I mean, seriously, these are Salesforce All-Stars who Consult and Lead others in this ecosystem.  (There are two MVPs on this panel… holy cow!)   Honestly, I hope I don’t come off as having #ImposterSyndrome in this Panel.   I can only imagine this reaction to my name on the panel list:

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So who am I?   I am just a Business Systems Analyst for almost 20 years, and have been improving my BA skills, techniques and competencies ever since.  What are BA Competencies?    The International Institute of Business Analysis (yes, that is a thing) has authored the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK), which contains descriptions of generally accepted practices in the field of business analysis.  This Guide indicates that core competencies of a Business Analyst are grouped into six categories:

  • Analytical Thinking and Problem Solving, which include:
    • Creative Thinking,
    • Decision Making,
    • Learning,
    • Problem Solving,
    • Systems Thinking,
    • Conceptual Thinking, and
    • Visual Thinking.
  • Behavioural Characteristics, which include
    • Ethics,
    • Personal Accountability,
    • Trustworthiness,
    • Organization and Time Management, and
    • Adaptability
  • Business Knowledge, which include
    • Business Acumen,
    • Industry Knowledge,
    • Organization Knowledge,
    • Solution Knowledge, and
    • Methodology Knowledge
  • Communication Skills, which include
    • Verbal Communication,
    • Non-Verbal Communication,
    • Written Communication, and
    • Listening
  • Interaction Skills, which include
    • Facilitation,
    • Leadership and Influencing,
    • Teamwork,
    • Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, and
    • Teaching
  • Tools and Technology, which include
    • Office Productivity Tools and Technology,
    • Business Analysis Tools and Technology, and
    • Communication Tools and Technology

Each one of these competencies areas requires more in depth conversation (and that may come over time, if you wish)

What I see in the list overall are things that not only are true for good Business Analysts, but these are true for good Salesforce Admins!

 

What does being a Business Analyst mean?

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The IIBA BABOK says that Business Analysis is this:

Business analysis is the practice of enabling change in an enterprise by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders. Business analysis enables an enterprise to articulate needs and the rationale for change, and to design and describe solutions that can deliver value.  

The BABOK also provides information about that role – WHO does this work?

A business analyst is any person who performs business analysis tasks, no matter their job title or organizational role. Business analysts are responsible for discovering, synthesizing, and analyzing information from a variety of sources within an enterprise, including tools, processes, documentation, and stakeholders.

The business analyst is responsible for eliciting the actual needs of stakeholders—which frequently involves investigating and clarifying their expressed desires—in order to determine underlying issues and causes.
Business analysts play a role in aligning the designed and delivered solutions with the needs of stakeholders. The activities that business analysts perform include:

  • understanding enterprise problems and goals,
  • analyzing needs and solutions,
  • devising strategies,
  • driving change, and
  • facilitating stakeholder collaboration.

What does this mean to me?  What it says to me is that Business Analysis is for ANYONE who has critical thinking skills, understand how to communicate with business and has a desire to grow their technical skills.   Is there a path for Admins to become Analysts?  YES!

 

What does Salesforce say about Business Analysts?

Interestingly enough, Salesforce has a web page that discusses Salesforce Career Paths and lists Salesforce Business Analyst as one of these career paths.  If you google “Salesforce Business Analyst”, you will find many employers looking for good analysts. The descriptions of BA positions usually include some of the following:

“The Business Analyst provides a balance of functional and technical expertise and supports facilitation of analysis and design.  The Analyst implements the design using Salesforce declarative configuration and supporting the functional requirements for any further development required outside of declarative configuration.

The Analyst presents complex information equally well to a C-level audience or a developer community, and has hands on experience implementing Safesforce.com functionality and can act as a knowledgeable liaison between technical teams and business stakeholders during the implementation phase.

Analysts can also support internal practice development efforts as needed, providing input on industry based expertise and idea generation.”

 

In future writings, I will dive deeper into more specific areas regarding Business Analysis.  I will also be starting a “Toolkit” of sorts of things I read, tools and templates I use, and other places for knowledge and growth.

Thanks for reading so far and I hope to see you at Dreamforce in October!

Stuart Edeal

 

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