Technology Does Not Solve Problems
People do! People may use technology to solve the problem, but people who understand the issues, make the decisions, and implement the solution ultimately solve the problem. Business analysis is the general term for how people analyze business problems to develop business solutions.
Business Analysis Is a Business Process, Not Just an IT Function
If your IT group is responsible for business analysis, you have a potential conflict of interest. The people who are involved with information Technology have a built-in bias toward using that technology to improve the business. They often are not aware of their bias and as a result tend to overlook potentially better, cheaper methods for solving business problems.
Let’s play a quick numbers game. The US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks those tasked with performing business analysis in the IT sense as “Computer Systems Analysts”. This government agency reports 544,400 Computer Systems Analysts in the US in 2010 with a projected growth of 22%. That implies there should be 809,700 now (in 2012). The same source reports 718,800 “Management Analysts” (aka: Management Consultants – those tasked with performing business analysis from the business perspective). This category also had a projected growth of 22% giving us 1,069,900 currently (again, 2012).
The duties described for these two professions are what the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®) defines as those for which Business Analysts are responsible. That means about 1,788,700 people in the United States are doing “business analysis” work in 2012. Given an estimated workforce of 154,880,000, 1.1% of the overall workforce is involved in some form of business analysis.
The Question Remains
How well are those 1.1% prepared for their job? Lacking a statistical base, we can only rely on empirical evidence suggesting that the vast majority has no formal training in the discipline of Business Analysis. Business analysis has become a clearly defined profession with a significant number of powerful techniques to support it. Getting those within your organization who perform this critical function trained in business analysis could just be the best investment you can make to help your organization achieve its business objectives.