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COTS – Challenges or the Solutions?

Raise your hand if you have ever been assigned as a business analyst (BA) to a Commercial off the shelf (COTS) application project?

Again, raise your hand if as a business analyst, you have felt like you are neither a subject matter expert on the business side nor on the application/solution side?

COTS applications/solutions are more and more commonly being adopted by global organizations since the belief is that, when there is something readily available in the market, then why recreate the wheel and build a customized solution? Here I don’t want to get into pros and cons of a Custom vs COTS application and rather outline how the COTS pathway has impacted the role of a business analyst in many ways as listed below.

Common Challenges and Potential Solutions for a COTS business analyst:

1. Challenge: Resistance to explaining current/as is business process

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2. Challenge: Center of attention is application design/configuration

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3. Challenge: High dependency on vendors/implementation partners

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4. Challenge: Lack of understanding of a business analyst role by the team

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5. Challenge: BA not involved in application/vendor selection

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In summary, the goal is not to ensure that the application is designed and set up to accommodate the current processes of an organization but rather to have a closer look at the current processes and see how these can be changed to gain the true business value.

“Don’t make the application work for you but rather see how you can work with the application”.

Divya Kishore

Business Systems Analyst for a medical device company. Certifications: CSCP CPO