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Strategy Spotlight: Being the Strategic Hero Means Career Opportunities for You

I spent many years implementing strategic plans. Recently, in a conversation with an executive from the resource industry, I was told strategy was a bad word, just like the word transformation.

There was now an underpinning feeling if the company had not transformed yet, it never would. I found that interesting, as transformation in the strategic business analysis world is a requirement word that also means change and implementation requirements.

Where the business wants to focus is on execution, implementation, and integration. That makes sense as there are many companies with great strategic plans but fail to implement them.

Related Article: 9 Steps to Take You From Strategic Plan to Implementation

One Fortune report suggested 9 out of 10 organizations fail to implement their strategic plans successfully. Another Tech Company report stated 50% of all Tech companies and departments don’t have a strategic plan.

It is difficult to implement if you don’t know where you want to go.

Here’s the thing; strategy, execution, implementation, and integration are all connected. If strategy is coming from the top, then someone needs to translate it into realistic, viable, actionable plans. And someone else needs to execute on it successfully. So I contacted my friend and business associate, Bill Hanniman of Hanniman Recruiting Group Inc (IT recruitment boutique successfully on top of the emerging trends for BA and PM resources) and asked what’s up.

According to Bill, “to address the implementation challenges, organizations are seeking business integration specialists, project execution specialists/analysts, project managers and program managers.”

In walks the strategic business analyst, business analyst, senior project manager and/or senior program manager and like professional rescuers (investigators, police officers, firefighters, medics, teachers, etc.) they become the unsung hero of the business world. They are the people who make a substantive yet unrecognized contribution; whose bravery is unknown or unacknowledged as they set forth to execute and implement the strategic objectives in an ever-changing corporate landscape. What do they do?

Strategic Business Analysts

Strategic business analysts identify business needs and solutions within the context of the overall direction of a company. They develop and implement critical business solutions through information gathering, synthesis, review, and testing. They secure and allocate resources, manage implementation schedules, and facilitate meetings.

Strategic business analysts are commonly part of the IT field and usually work in the financial, banking, computer, or IT industries. A strategic business analyst’s projects can involve software development and acquisition, systems development, and process management.1 

Senior/Project Manager

Project management involves setting project goals, establishing tasks and a timeline for completion by assigned parties, evaluating progress and making adjustments as needed to ensure that clients, internal or external, achieve their desired results. Project managers often work in the computer systems or information technology industries, although they can find employment in almost any industry. They coordinate project activities, budgets, personnel and work with other departments to meet deadlines and project goals within set resources and under firm deadlines.2

Business Integration Specialists

A systems integrator is a person or company that specializes in bringing together component subsystems into a whole and ensuring that those subsystems function together, a practice known as system integration. Systems integrators may work in many fields, but the term is generally used in the information technology (IT) field, the defense industry, or in media.3 

After discussing these roles and responsibilities in what I call a ‘did you know session,’ I asked Bill what happened to change management as it relates to the corporate organization and these careers. He told me, “culture change management is also an essential component that needs to be embedded from the project launch and all resources (technical and functional) need to understand what this means and how their role plays a part of it all. The last 5% is what executives often talk about. That’s where the actual ROI is achieved.”

Achieving that last 5% return on investment has always been a challenge, whether you are talking about today or project from 20 years ago. I don’t believe that has changed much. But as a professional, if you know your path is one of execution, implementation, and integration then you can focus on helping the business realize their goals and objectives.

Final Thoughts

All of these positions swirl around one another in some interchangeable role and responsibility dance. The fact is they are all about the execution, implementation, and integration timeline where realizing ROI is the key measurement of success, especially on large enterprise initiatives like SAP or some other large scale project. Those who succeed get to live another day and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

There is a buzz of opportunities in some organizations where teams are being gathered to execute on the strategic agenda. This requires a cross-section of expertise that lends itself well to the professional with business analysis, project management, and system integration experience. I hope this blog provided you some “did you know” insight.

Do your best,
Invest in the success of others,
Make your journey count.


1 “Career Definition for Strategic Business Analysts.” N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.
2 “Project Manager Job Description.” N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.
3 “Systems Integrator.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.

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