3 Trends That Will Define the Future of the Business Analyst Role
Do the business analyst and systems analyst have a place in tomorrow’s digital-first business world?
The economy is changing rapidly, as most business professionals are well aware, and those changes are significantly affecting the workplace, the design of the modern organization, and the workforce.
On top of that, according to many analysts and research firms, the pace of change is accelerating.
For business analysts and systems analysts, despite automation, these trends may prove promising.
Below, we’ll explore a few of the underlying forces that will shape tomorrow’s business world and we’ll also see how these could impact the roles of business and systems analysts. First, it is important to note the key differences between these two jobs, since they can be easily confused.
Key distinctions between business and systems analysts
Business analysis generally focuses on one of two sides of the business, broad system design or technical specification.
When it comes to job roles, terminology can often be confusing, and occasionally different job descriptions will use job titles interchangeably.
Here are a few definitions that can clarify the differences between different types of business analysts:
- Business analysts focus on designing and developing business systems and processes on a large scale, without defining the specific system requirements
- Systems analysts develop and implement specific systems, often IT systems, as well as their technical requirements
- Functional analysts are analysts who tend to focus on a single business area, such as HR analysts or technical digital adoption specialists
In short, these roles focus either on business process design or on technical specification.
A digital adoption technician, for instance, would focus on the technical side of implementing digital adoption solutions, while a strategic digital adoption professional would focus more on designing large-scale digital adoption programs.
The distinction between these two types of roles naturally matters for those seeking a position as an analyst – and fortunately for job seekers, both roles will likely be in high demand for tomorrow’s fast-paced business world. This perhaps explains the increasing popularity of certain industries, such as the digital adoption market.
To understand why let’s examine some of the biggest trends that will reshape the world in the coming months and years.
3 trends defining the future of the business analyst role
Today’s changing economy is being propelled forwards by several megatrends, such as:
Technology-driven innovation has been disrupting the economy and the business landscape for years, and it will continue to do so for some time to come.
Technologies such as the internet and mobile have radically reshaped the way we live and work. In the years ahead, emerging technologies such as AI, blockchain, and IoT will further alter the business world.
Digital transformation of the marketplace has only just begun.
To keep up in the digital future, businesses will need to adapt by focusing on priorities such as:
- Building digital-first business models
- Continually adopting new technologies
- Staying agile and nimble
- Using technology to innovate and create new forms of value
These are just a few examples of the many changes that companies will need to undertake to stay competitive – which suggests, among other things, that professions revolving around digital change will continue to rise in profitability.
COVID-19 has accelerated change in many, if not most, industries.
Analysts predict that the pandemic will result in permanent changes to the way we live and work.
A few of the more common predictions include:
- The global adoption of remote work will influence the workplace of the future, resulting in more hybrid offices and flexible work environments
- Customer sentiment and behavior will shift, driving more people to stay health-conscious and spend more time at home
- The economy will remain volatile for the foreseeable future, which will present both challenges and opportunities for companies willing to innovate
As with the technology trends covered earlier, the business changes being propelled by the COVID-19 pandemic suggest we will see an increased need for professionals who guide organizations through change.
Not all changes are as dramatic and rapid as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Time itself causes a number of changes, such as the natural process of culture change – and culture, in turn, plays an important role in business and economics.
- Gartner predicts that social developments and shifts in attitude will increasingly affect people’s motivations, their job choices, and, ultimately, business
- Other research corroborates this prediction, suggesting that culture affects the economy
- Culture and organizational performance are interdependent as well, so large-scale cultural shifts can also drive change at the local level of the business
At first glance, these predictions may suggest that the business analyst will play a larger role in organizational culture changes than the systems analyst. Yet Gartner and others have indicated that technical roles, such as the CIO, will become culture change leaders in the years ahead.
The three trends we looked at above are certainly not the only ones affecting the direction of the business world, but they are some of the largest.
They give a clear indication that organizational change will remain a constant.
For both business analysts and systems analysts, this is good news – after all, changes to business systems require design as well as technical implementation.