Many times, I have been pondering over what makes business analyst different from other professionals in the same ecosystem, how much BA is valuable for given business system environment and what could be their value proposition. Does a degree / qualifications/ certifications make business analyst valuable? Perhaps these could be BA’s silent features but they may not be worth enough that people (client/employers) can buy them or desire to hire their service. If that is the case, they would have been hired just based on their CV and LinkedIn profile and there wouldn’t have been need of interview / conversations. In my experience, interviewer is not just looking for your work experience or qualification/certification but something bigger. When you answer their questions, in back of their mind they go through different emotions/ thoughts such as ‘hmm this guy is really smart’ , ‘looks he/she has good hands on experience’, ‘wow he is best suitable for this job’ … ‘yes this is the guy I need for this job’ and so on . Such emotions/thoughts create value out of you and then chances are very high that you are offered a position. On the contrary there could be opposite emotions or no emotions at all in back of their mind which you may not be able to read and the end result is you receive a polite decline email ( such as ‘ we find you over qualified for this job ‘ or we wanted to have you but there is only one position and we found another person a bit more suitable for this job’ and so on.
Like we say beauty lies in the eye of beholder , we can say same thing for value. So value is not something you can define for yourself but others need to feel, recognise and find in you. It would be good to explore further what exactly value is and how better we could understand it. The Oxford dictionary says “1. The regard that something is held to deserve; the importance worth or usefulness of something. 2. The material or monetary worth of something. “. The value of something can’t be confined just to a monetary worth, it could be just one expect and other expect is what ‘meaning’ or ‘regard’ or ‘usefulness’ someone attach to it. People try to see ‘what is in it for me?’, so their real needs and perceptions matter and they will attach more value irrespective of monetary cost if it serves their needs and alleviate their pain points. Hence two persons could envisage different value for the same thing.
For example, how much value someone living in London could attach to a free water bottle? Perhaps many may not queue up for a free water bottle. But imagine same thing in places/countries where people have to walk miles to fetch a bucket of water, there could be very long queue over there trying to get a free bottle of water. In their eyes, value of the water is priceless.
It is hard to attach or confine ‘value’ to just one or two attributes or elements so we need elaborate it in term of proposition. Kaplan and Norton ( guru of BBS Balance Score Card) had outlined following attributes for a purposeful and successful value proposition of any product or service.
Now try to evaluate anything you bought recently against above attributes and think which of the above attributes you have considered and then give the weightage on scale of 0-10 while considering these attributes in making your decision and then you will be able to see how valuable a particular item is for you and to understand what element/attribute is more valuable. I recently bought a 3 days training package (Benefit Planning and Realisation) from training provider AssistKD in London. key for decision making was that it served towards my goal of accomplishing Advance diploma in Business Analysis. My consideration around value attributes were something like as follows.
|A business analyst training course ‘Benefit Planning and Realisation’|
|Value Attributes||Did you consider this before decision?||Weightage (0-10) in decision making|
|Functionality||Yes. One of key certification for the Advance Diploma in Business analysis||
|Price||Yes. Expensive, given that I had to sponsor myself and had to take 3 days off from consulting job.||
|Quality||Yes. In past experience, I found quality was good and have successfully passed certification examinations.||
|Choice||Yes. But there was no other option (like online course or correspondence course)||
|Availability||Yes. I looked their training calendar in advance and chose the timeslot as per my convenience.||
|Image||Yes. They do have good image as specialist in BA training and the fact that they sponsor UK BA Award and a number of BA events including the Europe conference for many years , also helped in creating their positive image.||
|Relationship||Yes. I did few other courses in the past successfully.
Now let’s think a business analyst a product/service which someone going to buy then what these attributes would mean from customer/client perspective.
|Functionality||What Business Analyst does? Does he help resolving organisation pain points? Does he help building strategy, business objective, business case and business requirements? Can he define/design Business Model/ Business Process and so on.
Whether their core competencies (such as business knowledge, specialism, behavioural skills, personal qualities, tools, techniques and technology) aligns with organisation’s change strategy or the BAU strategy.
|Price||Cost of BA employment, daily rate|
|Quality||How good /well a BA produce deliverables or task/activities. How efficient in meeting deadline/timelines. Work experience and past performances.|
|Choice||Is the BA flexible with customer/client need/demand and helping producing deliverables or carrying out task/activities as per specific needs of the customer/client/employer?|
|Availability||Notice period, time flexibility.|
|Image||Established and recognised practitioner, image at current employer, any adverse opinion or information on social media? Have you burned the bridges where possibly negative feedback could create negative image?|
|Relationship||Past relationship with client/ vendor / supplier.
With hard work, learning and experiences, it is certainly possible to create an excellent BA value proposition however to sustain it is really challenging due to new way of working, cultural change, new technologies, business domain change and so on. Re-skilling, keep learning, networking and broadening business domains will help sustaining the value proposition.
hope you find my blog useful and please do share any comment/feedback.
Ravi Kumar, an independent business analysis practitioner based in UK with over 20 years of experience consulting for many organisations in Europe and globe. Ravi is Certified Business Analyst Professional (CBAP) and has International Diploma in Business Analysis, BCS,UK.