Throughout the past decade, there have been major social, environmental, and technological shifts that have occurred and influenced organizations to make changes to their products, structure, processes, and teams – either voluntarily or through necessity. 

Change in business – as in life – is constant. Whether evolution is occurring as a result of an internal initiative or goal, or as a result of external risks or threats in the supply chain or from the competition. Companies are re-evaluating the way that they run their operations in just about every aspect. To drive significant change in any area, they’re recruiting the expertise of Business Analysts.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the major global and national shifts that have caused organizations to dig deep and change the way they do things, proving that BA’s are a more valuable resource than ever before. But first, let’s take a quick look at how the BA role is growing. 

Growth and Specialization in Business Analysis

Over the past two decades, the Business Analyst profession has grown and evolved at a rapid pace. While the job titles of positions held by BA’s have begun to diversify, the profession itself has grown by 14% annually, according to CNN, with specialty roles, like Data Analyst for example, growing by 30%+ annually. This rate of growth is occurring at a much faster rate than in other professions. 

We’ve also begun to see more specialty areas taking shape. The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) likens this to the type of evolution that’s occurred within the field of medicine, explaining that back in the 1800s there were general surgeons and physicians. But as medicine evolved, more specialized practitioners began to form, focusing on areas of the body and even specific diseases or illnesses. 

Much like that evolution, we’re increasingly witnessing the formation of BA specializations, such as the emerging Process Analyst role. As organizations continue to seek greater efficiency and automation in their processes, they’re employing this specialty niche role to help guide them to success through this transformation.

Another example of an increasingly in-demand specialty role for BA’s is the Software Analyst role. Software applications companies – including Software as a Service (SaaS) companies like Salesforce, JIRA, Shopify, Microsoft, and others – are in need of specialized talent that fully understands the applications they are creating and how to configure these apps to meet the business needs of their customers. With the SaaS market growing approximately 18% annually, the demand for this specialized role will continue to grow with it.

These specialized skills and the ability to focus on driving value for organizations has driven a great demand for Business Analysts, especially given the rapid pace of business, technological advancements that have occurred, and other global shifts that are taking place. 

Why Business Analysts Are in High Demand

There are some big events – sociocultural, environmental, technological, you name it –  that have occurred within the past decade that have driven the increased need for Business Analysts in organizations. Let’s take a look at a few of those drivers now:

The COVID-19 Pandemic & Supply Chain Issues

As a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies around the world have been affected by staff shortages and supply chain issues. They’ve also had to absorb extra costs for health and safety measures at the height of the pandemic. Companies have suffered labor shortages with workers being off sick and others re-evaluating their career choices and leaving to pursue other career options.

All of this has forced organizations into a ‘money-saving mode’, and Business Analysts have been called in to help with everything from risk assessment to assessing processes and supply chains to finding efficiencies, contingencies, and filling gaps. 

Advancing Technology & Artificial Intelligence

For the past decade, automation and artificial intelligence has been on the rise. We now have smart appliances, smart homes, cars that are self-driving, and robots that will vacuum your home. Companies are leaning increasingly on automation and digitization, implementing more self-checkout kiosks, amping up their online e-commerce, and even testing out automated drone delivery. 

Business Analysts are being employed by companies to understand how they can leverage technology in their products, production, and operations because BA’s are critical for understanding the desired end result and facilitating the change to make it happen. As technology and consumer preferences continue to evolve, BA’s will continue to be crucial in helping organizations identify opportunities for more value.

Climate Change & Environmental Initiatives

With extreme climate events like deadly floods, raging wildfires, and severe droughts occurring more frequently, companies are under increasing pressure to examine the impact that their products, production, and supply chain have on the environment. 

Business Analysts are playing a big part in helping companies understand how they can reduce their carbon footprint while still delivering products and services that their consumers will enjoy. Effective business analysis will help organizations determine areas of their business to focus on to improve their ecological footprint. 

Bringing long-term value to organizations and addressing significant issues like these are just two of the reasons why Business Analysts are so crucial. These global issues also continue to nurture specialization within the BA profession by providing us with specific issues and areas of focus. It will be interesting to see the continued advancement that BA’s drive and the specializations that form in the coming years. 

– Written by Jeremy Aschenbrenner, The BA Guide