Competencies of a business analyst in the creation of innovative solutions
R&D departments of numerous organizations are struggling to provide innovative products and services which should become a source of competitive advantage. Teams who are creating such solutions often include a business analyst whose task is to gather requirements from stakeholders.
In innovative projects business analyst should take under consideration market trends and probable scenarios of changes in consumers behavior. Competencies of a business analyst who works in innovations go beyond the scope of competences assigned to this role in the well-known book – “A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge” (BABOK Guide).
When we talk about business analyst who works in an innovative space, there are four areas of competences that business analyst should have.
The first issue is about tools. It is not a new thing but let`s say it once again - it is good to know how to use Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN). It is so important to communicate in clearly way with your business and technical partners. Many people confuse business analyst with system analyst and I don`t want to say that business analyst should have the same skills as system analyst has. But BPMN is a great tool to talk with business – you really don`t need to go into details and you may stay on high level. But visual way of thinking is good option to find blank spaces and inaccuracies. So yes, if you prepare yourself to work as a business analyst in innovative solution, BPMN is a helpful tool.
The second area is about the nature of innovation. Thinking about the future is crucial here. It is good to know how to support business with creating vision of the product and scenarios of possible future events. It is good idea to know a little bit about corporate foresight. In innovation management corporate foresight may be used to identify needs of new customers, the role of emerging technologies and to scan environment of R&D’ projects. If you plan to work as a business analyst in innovative projects, get familiar with foresight to be a forward-thinking strategist.
The third element, connected with the previous one, is a knowledge about new ideas on the market. Nowadays when an Artificial Intelligence is a hot topic, we must remember about data which stands behind AI. It is not easy to decide which data company should collect, as well as it is not easy to collect, clean and use data properly. A business analyst should know which tools may be helpful. I don`t mean she or he must be a data analyst, but it is good to understand how data analysts work and which tools support data management. Why data is so important for innovative solution? Because data is crucial in products and services based on Artificial Intelligence.
How business analyst may influence on success of innovative solution? He or she should support them to remember about end- user during design and test phase. In 2016 Oracle in cooperation with Coleman Parkes Research have researched how brands implement solutions to improve experience of end-user in the area of marketing, sales and services. In the report “Can virtual experiences replace the reality? The future role for humans in delivering customer experience” form 2016, researches indicated that investing in technology always should have strategic approach. It means, teams who work on innovative projects should design with customer at mind. To achieve this business analyst should be familiar with good practices created by people from startups. Especially “lean startup” method, created by Eric Ries, may be really helpful to create product or service based on customer needs.
An innovative solution’s analyst should have the ability to co-create a long-term vision and product’s (or service’s) development strategy (which can be supported by foresight research), should be able to use good practices developed by startups (they have extensive experience in launching innovative solutions). It is also good to be able to communicate clearly and unambiguously, using notation for mapping business strategy or business processes. Finally, she or he should be familiar with market innovations, especially in the field of Big Data, machine learning and artificial intelligence. It will help him to recommend forward-looking, innovative solutions.