Before reviewing the impact of this phenomenon on Business Analysis, let’s review what is involved in the transition from the “Information Age” to the “Experience Age”.
It is said that the transition from the "Information Age" to the “Experience Age” is being driven by a combination of technological advancements in artificial intelligence, chatbots, social messaging, the Internet of Things (IoT) advancements and mobile connectivity. Also, having an impact are the changing dynamics of online interactions being driven by changes to electronic devices -- virtual reality, wearables. Also, the rise of in-the-moment data sharing capabilities such as Snapchat and Instagram have shifted use of data towards real time data sharing using experience driven interfaces that highlight interaction.
Along with these technological advancements, the proposal that society has become saturated with information and therefore is becoming selective about where, what and how it consumes information is thought to also be a force in the movement from information consumers to the creator of experiences, transitioning us into the "Experience Age".
In the "Information Age" the idea of communication was to make information accessible. In the "Experience Age" the primary focus is creating an experience. Society is transitioning from wanting information to seeking experiences relating to the information. When we are chatting with friends and family on IAM or Facebook, it’s not the information we want, it’s an emotional connection. The "Experience Age" is moving us toward connecting people with the experience rather than just focusing on the informational facts.
To declare the end of the "Information Age" sounds like a bold declaration, however, the dramatic evolution of technology that continues to dramatically change our lives, cannot be denied as evidence that information on its own is no longer as valuable as the next experience that caters to our likes and desires which the information can be used to create and deliver.
The “Experience Age” is one in which people want to experience everything. It is felt that experience is comparable to getting the most out of life. People want to be immersed in the story of the experience creating the feeling of living vs. just serving as a by-stander. Therefore, providing a valuable customer experience has become a necessary requirement for any business wanting to thrive in todays’ business world. Companies must design and deliver a total package of capability, value and memorable time of use where the memory itself becomes the product --- an experience. Gone are the days where a business can survive solely on the product or service offered.
How is the Business Analyst (BA) involved in creating the interactive experience of this new age vs the role filled in the “Information Age”?
As stated in the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK)….. 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.
In the Experience Age, The Business Analyst (BA) will continue the practice of enabling change through the definition of need and solution recommendation. As well the target of this effort will be value to the stakeholders. What “will” change is that:
- Business Analysts must transition their perspective and others in the company, to the rationale for change being a total customer experience and being able to articulate the change and design solution so that a valued experience is delivered vs. simply an informational product or service.
- The BA perspective must shift from looking at business processes from the standpoint of creating higher efficiency and/or quality to the perspective of whether the processes can support the experience to be delivered. Processes should also be looked at with an understanding of a distributed and multidisciplinary environment (i.e. mobile) vs. the context of the environment in which it is formed.
- BA’s will be required to have an extensive understanding of their customers’ desires. The BA focus should shift from the often-current operating context of a system and weighing the business initiatives against the technical constraints; to a product development focus aimed at the customers desired experience; eliminating any mental constraints on pushing the boundaries of innovative thinking about product development. BA’s will need to know who their customers are, what motivates them, what their preferences and interests are, and how they want to be perceived. The customer experience must be thought of as a business priority and therefore requires that this be at the center of thinking in conducting business.
- BA’s should build into their approach, ways of providing more opportunities for customer interaction and engagement across the product lifecycle. Product design will require true collaboration --- from product concept, design, manufacturing, through final packaging and marketing. Alignment is required across the entire organization on the experience they are tasked with delivering.
- BAs will be expected to lead the effort to create the desired customer experience as well as maximize business value. The valued customer experience being the delivery goal. The success of business value delivery will now be determined by how well the customer journey and user experience has been translated to offer real and/or even perceived value through the experience’. Therefore, the business analyst will need to challenge solution designs that are not geared towards a user-friendly customer experience in lieu of business value. This will require confidence and negotiation skills – something the business analyst will need to possess.
In summation, the “experience age” requires the delivery of an experience. Features and Functionality in a product can no longer be the center of design focus for the company or BA. The product, processes and any related services must be designed within the context of customer experience. The goal of innovation becomes how to create and deliver experiences that connect with the customer. BA peers lets go create some great experiences!