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Author: Sharon Bennett

The Experience Age has Arrived

What does the phenomenon of the transition from the “Digital” to the “Experience Age” mean for Business Analysis?

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!

SWOT of Business Analysis

Out of curiosity about the future of a career path that I have been on for more than 2 decades, I have decided to create a SWOT outline of business analysis.

Related Article: 5 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started as a Business Analyst

SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats—and is a structured planning method that evaluates those four elements:

  • Strengths: characteristics of the entity that give it an advantage
  • Weaknesses: characteristics that place the entity at a disadvantage
  • Opportunities: elements that the entity could exploit to its advantage
  • Threats: elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the entity

In creating the SWOT outline, the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) BABOK definition of Business Analysis will be used:

According to the BABOK Guide v3, “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 a change, and to design and describe solutions that can deliver value. “

Let’s get started!


The IIBA has done a great job of promoting and supporting the business analysis profession. It has given it a voice globally. It also supports the recognition of the profession and works to maintain standards for its practice and certification. It has also provided a model for the formation of regional IIBA communities and Business Analysis Community of Practice entities (i.e. BA CoPs) within companies.

Many career options/ paths are often available to business analysts. The nature of business analysis often involves working with the business to identify business needs, problems, and opportunities while also working with Information Technology teams to define, design and implement solutions. Also, they often have to interact with multiple levels of an organization; strategically, tactically and operationally. Therefore, they gain experience in supporting and contributing to corporate direction, the organization’s enterprise architecture, stakeholder needs and business processes. This wealth of access that business analysts have within companies often place them into a position of having a career path choice in the business and/or Information Technology (IT) realm.


Even with the formation of the IIBA and the life of the business analysis profession spanning decades, there is still confusion in the business community around the profession of business analysis, even in regards to the basic question of; “What it is?” I consider this lack of knowledge and confusion to be a weakness because in many companies it leads to business analysis not being promoted as a career path but instead business analysts are being encouraged to take other career paths available in the company as a form of promotion. As stated above as a strength, BAs often have many career path options in the realm of business and/or IT, but for those who want to make business analysis a long time career, promotion can be difficult. I will say that things seem to be improving on this front. I think that knowledge is being gained by the uprise of BA CoP (Business Analysis Community of Practice) entities. They give focus to the BA profession within companies and often with this focus comes recognition of the profession as a career path and its value provided to the company.


Today, more than ever project teams have to deal with customers that are more than likely extremely knowledgeable about technology and their business processes and how they interact. They are also more demanding, wanting more authority and freedom in the decision-making process. This has led to shifts in business models, support provision needs, requirement elicitation methods and solution recommendations. Business analysts have the opportunity to drive accelerated change management in dynamic markets, filling a more strategic role in regards to enterprise architecture, demonstrating value and helping project teams quickly adjust to changing client and market dynamics.

Project organizations also have to ensure project deliverables are validated against both project requirements and the strategic requirements of the business at the business unit and/or corporate levels. This is to ensure a link exists between strategy and execution. The business analyst can be of great value in working with customers and project teams to keep them aligned in regards to business value to be delivered and how.


Because threats are elements in the environment that “could” cause trouble for the entity, in this case, business analysis, I am listing agile as a threat. This is “not” in the sense of it eliminating the business analyst functions from the team. The IIBA has added an agile extension to the BABOK guide which provides an outline of how practices, tools, and techniques can be used by business analysts working in agile environments, and I will concur that there is definitely a need for business analysis functions on agile teams. I will say that agile environments often institute changes to the BA functions and/or how they are accomplished. In some cases, the BA functions may be distributed among other members/roles of the agile team. In some cases, the BA could be asked to fill the role of a product owner or coach. Even though the product owner and coach roles may utilize some of the BA core competencies defined in the BABOK, often these roles require more focus on vision/roadmap definition, return-on-investment (ROI), pricing/licensing for the product, which gravitates more toward the use of management competencies rather than BA competencies.

Diagram 1:

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