What is the Role of a Business Analyst in Digital Transformation?

What is the Role of a Business Analyst in Digital Transformation?

If your organisation is considering digital transformation, you might reasonably ask whether you need a business analyst (BA) to help you achieve it.

After all, surely no one understands your company better than the people working in it, including its leadership team?

But it’s not as straightforward as that. Digital transformation represents a significant shift and a profound change. Adapting to this change requires a different viewpoint altogether, and an effective way of gaining this is by seeking external help.

This is a key aspect of the BA’s role in digital transformation: they bring a fresh perspective to the situation.

Alongside perspective, the BA supplies expertise and insight. As an independent, outside party, they come with no preconceived notions.

This is hugely valuable in assessing what’s required, and how to achieve it.

The BA’s role is also a very practical one. They act as a facilitator of change, ensuring that this process follows a clear roadmap.

As an agile BA, I’ve experienced a wide variety of situations involving different change projects. No two businesses are alike, but the principles that direct my work are the same.

In this blog, I’m going to take you through the BA’s role in digital transformation. First, though, I want to explain briefly what digital transformation is.


What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation involves technology, but it isn’t just about technology. Essentially, it’s to do with applying technology to bring about change. This change comes from integrating technology into all areas of a business.

The resulting change is fundamental, and this is the whole point.

The first step for the BA to take is to understand why this change should take place.

There can be various reasons for it, such as wanting to increase competitiveness or productivity, or to improve the customer experience.

The BA should be able to confirm the need for change.

Does the organisation’s rationale for digital transformation stack up? Is it the right way for them to achieve their goals, or should they look at alternatives?

If the BA can confirm that digital transformation will meet the organisation’s objectives, there then needs to be a roadmap for this change to take place.


Creating a Roadmap for Digital Transformation

With an overview of the business or organisation, and an independent perspective, the BA creates a strategic roadmap for digital transformation.

This strategic roadmap will include the business’s goals and a step-by-step plan for achieving them.

The BA becomes the chief organiser and facilitator of the project. They are also a valuable resource for other team workers, when they need practical support and advice.


The Business Analyst as Facilitator

Acting as the facilitator for digital transformation, the BA plans, guides and supports the team working on the project.

The BA keeps the project focused on its goals and objectives, provides clarity wherever people need it, and helps ensure that everyone involved buys in to the project and participates in the work.

Meeting objectives requires that there are defined boundaries for the scope of work.

Therefore, the BA is also the gatekeeper for the project, ensuring there is no mission creep, and that the team is protected from any outside interference.

The BA will employ various specialist knowledge, tools and methods to support the project’s progress, and structure the workflow within it.

It is important that all the activity to do with digital transformation sits within a framework that creates an ongoing sense of order.

Without this framework, and the BA’s guiding hand, there is the risk that project will drift off course, lose sight of its priorities, or neglect critical business requirements.


Bringing Teams Together

Teams in organisations can become quite tribal, and there can be a gulf in understanding between different groups of employees, such as technical, business and marketing teams.

Another key facet in the BA’s role is to bridge any gaps where necessary.

To do this, the BA needs a broad set of skills to support their comprehensive overview of the business and the digital transformation project.

Communication is key here. The BA should be able to translate the business needs of a CEO into a clearly-defined set of objectives towards which developers can direct their technological solutions.

The BA must act as a translator: interpreting the needs of the CEO, the requirements of the business, as well as the digital transformation strategy itself, to create a set of clearly-defined objectives. Developers can then develop their technological solutions to meet these objectives.

In this context, the BA becomes the meeting point between technology and human behaviour. The role requires a good business and technical understanding, and a systematic approach, but, critically, it is also about building and maintaining strong relationships.

Even where there are tensions or complications, the BA must maintain this sense of balance, and help everyone involved stay focused on the project’s objectives.


The Benefits of a Business Analyst

Digital transformation requires more than the input of software engineers, if it is to be successful and lasting.

It also requires the guiding hand and practical experience of someone who’s an expert in business analysis and strategy.

These are some of the key ways a BA brings value to a project:

  • They facilitate change, planning, guiding and managing the project
  • The BA finds cost-effective solutions, correctly identifying different requirements
  • They drive innovation, acting as agents for change, combining technical insight with transformational thinking
  • The BA improves efficiency, ensuring streamlined teamwork and clear communications
  • They supply added business intelligence with a wealth of independent experience and knowledge
  • Having a BA guide your digital transformation helps reduce the risk of failure, as they will work to keep the project’s scope well-defined and make sure everyone involved meets the necessary requirements for change.


But the BA role is not limited to these aspects of business support and guidance. It is truly multi-faceted and highly adaptable.

For more details about my experience as a BA, what my role involves, and how I can support your digital transformation, please contact me.