- Respondents at all levels of the organization rated the most important success factors of their projects as
- customer satisfaction: 81 percent
- on time completion: 62 percent
- on budget delivery: 52 percent
- product quality: 46 percent
- Survey results indicated that business analysis is not viewed as being impactful to business results. Only 22 percent of respondents said profit impact is an important success factor for business analysis. Just 15 percent said acquisition and retention of customers, and 4 percent said market share are important success criteria for business analysis.
- Just under 20 percent of total respondents said that they are responsible for enterprise analysis, and only 7 percent said that they spent most of their time on enterprise analysis. Among BAs, only 26.3 percent are responsible for enterprise analysis and 6.5 percent said that they spent most of their time on enterprise analysis.
- Nearly half of BA practitioners have five years or less of business analysis experience; of them, 15 percent have less than two years of experience. 21 percent have six to nine years’ experience and 30 percent have 10 years or more.
- 37 percent of organizations have increased their number of BA positions in the last two years, and 27 percent expect to increase them over the next two years.
- The key challenges faced in business analysis are communication (47 percent) and cross-functional collaboration (46 percent).
- BA certification is not widespread in organizations, with only 2.5 percent of total respondents who said they have their CBAP® certification, and 6.4 percent of BA respondents who have their CBAP® certification. 1.8 percent of total respondents and 1.0 percent of BA respondents said they have a SCRUM Master certification.
Organizations are using business analysis to win the battle, but they may not win the war
The survey shows respondents make the connection between business analysis proficiency and project success, but that a disconnect still exists in recognizing the impact of business analysis and successful projects on business value and results. This could likely be the result of individuals’ granular focus on projects without seeing the Big Picture. In addition, BAs do not always understand their impact on the organization from a financial or business perspective since they often conduct task-oriented work with stakeholders who may also lack an overall perspective.
Both business analysts and project managers need to become more involved at the enterprise level. Not surprisingly, enterprise analysis ranks lowest in proficiency among business analysis activities. Without an enterprise analysis perspective, BAs lack the connection between what they are doing and why they are doing it. So while they may be winning the project battle, they don’t have the enterprise-wide perspective to win the war.
Most believe “good” is good enough
The majority of respondents believe that their business analysis competencies are good to excellent, and that 75 percent or more of their projects over the last three years were successful. However, since real-world evidence indicates otherwise, organizations may be in need of a reality check.
Business Analysis in demand despite inexperience and immaturity of the profession
The survey shows a relatively large population of less experienced practitioners of business analysis, with nearly half reporting five years or less of experience. The still maturing nature of business analysis has numerous implications for organizations since it impacts performance, including the potential for business analysts to work from an enterprise perspective, handle challenges within their discipline and their organizations, and achieve a level of proficiency and success equated with more seasoned professionals.
Despite this, organizations recognize the critical importance of requirements management and business analysis, with survey results showing an increase in the number of business analyst positions in the last two years, and an increased number of business analyst positions projected over the next two years.
Certification, tools lacking to support the business analysis discipline in organizations
Establishing business analysis as an organizational discipline may be undermined by a lack of the supporting elements of the profession. The survey results show that business analysis certifications are held by a very small percentage of those practicing the discipline, unlike its project management counterpart, the Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification. Just as surprising may be the small percentage of SCRUM Master certifications, given the importance of Agile as an explosive development methodology. In addition, business analysis tools are not as prevalent as might be expected given their potential enhancement to the business analyst’s output, with more than one-third of respondents reporting using no dedicated tools at all.
In a competitive and economically challenging environment, there is always room for improvement—in business analysis, as well as in other areas. Organizations that allow themselves to stand still will be left behind. Raising expectations for and the proficiency of business analysis in organizations is key to helping organizations realize the full potential of the discipline and maximize BA’s business impact.
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Part 2 of “Why Good Isn’t Good Enough: The Global State of Business Analysis” will examine the survey recipients’ responses to the survey questionnaire.
Glenn R. Brûlé, CBAP, CSM, Executive Director of Global Client Solutions, ESI International, brings more than two decades of focused business analysis experience to every ESI client engagement. As one of ESI’s subject matter experts, Glenn works directly with clients to build and mature their business analysis capabilities by drawing from the broad range of learning resources ESI offers. A recognized expert in the creation and maturity of BA Centers of Excellence, Glenn has helped clients in the energy, financial services, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, insurance and automotive industries, as well as government agencies across the world.