Friday, September 29, 2006

Business Analysis: Strategic or Tactical?

Does your company employ business analysts? If so, to what extent is their role strategic versus tactical?

According to Wikipedia:
A business analyst (BA) is responsible for analyzing the business needs of their clients and stakeholders to help identify business problems and propose solutions.
A common activity of business analysts is to document business processes. Business needs typically stem from inefficiencies and problems in these processes. To the extent that your business analysts solely document the processes - as opposed to eliciting and researching them, identifying the inefficiencies and problems within them, and proposing solutions - your BAs have a very tactical role.

There is nothing wrong with such a role, as long as the people performing the more strategic functions are qualified to do so. Be careful about relying on subject matter experts (SMEs). Being experts in a domain doesn't by itself qualify them to analyze business processes and problems.


Scott Sehlhorst said...

The analysis of strategic versus tactical needs a context. BAs could be making strategic decisions about how a company runs their business. But it is still just one company.

I think a good way to frame the question is by contrasting product managers as strategic while business analysts are tactical. To clarify, I reword the statement:

Product managers focus on multiple customers in a market. A business analyst focuses on multiple operations within a single customer.

Roger L. Cauvin said...

Thanks, Scott, for contributing to the discussion. You raise some important points about the differences between product management and business analysis. Please see my 10/1/2006 entry for further thoughts on the matter.