Let’s put you on the hot spot. You are forced to agree or disagree with the following statement, and defend your answer. What would you say?
The most valuable asset of a business analyst is a digital mind.
Here’s how I answer: I agree. How about you?
My reasoning: I almost certainly don’t agree with the statement in the way you think I might. It’s not the business analyst who needs a digital mind. It’s our machines that need the digital minds.
As we increasingly disintermediate customers and company workers, we will no longer have our workers in the loop to convey and apply operational business knowledge at the point of interaction to make things right. Machines will have to do that work. And those machines must be equipped with the knowledge to do so.
The key to launching us successfully into the digital age is setting up deep knowledge reservoirs in the company. Obviously, they will be digital.
The first and most basic step toward treating knowledge as a first-class citizen is true business rules. Business rules represent explicit operational knowledge. By the way, because of the need for compliance and traceability, business rules (think obligations) will never go away.
There are, of course, other ways in which knowledge can be applied to processes, ones where traceability and compliance aren’t so important – for example, machine learning and neural nets. Those technologies can also be used to build digital minds for your organization.
As a professional, how do you future-proof yourself? The secret is to make yourself indispensable both to the business and to machines in the business with digital minds.
Given that insight, what is the most valuable asset of the business analyst in the long term? It’s not agile, it’s not empowerment, it’s not even critical thinking. It’s the ability to communicate deeply and creatively using concise terminology about the problem space. If you’re still speaking in codes and data fields – in ITSpeak – I’m afraid you’re not on the critical path.
Mark Your Calendar: The annual Building Business Capability (BBC) conference is November 6-10, 2017 at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Orlando, FL. The BBC is the place to be for professional excellence!