Inter-View Report 2015

Ushering in a new age for Business Analysis

Joe Newbert connects the dots on the role of the Business Analyst in a changing climate

By Rebecca Maserow

Now in it’s second year, Inter-View, a Business Change Management Group initiative, reveals a picture of the future of Business Analysis, providing statistics on business leadership and project success. The Report offers game changing insights into the Business Analysis industry, especially with regard to traditional and digital transformation of businesses in a local context.

Project failure is the norm

“Project failure is the industry standard,” states Joe Newbert to a hushed room at the BASSA 2015 conference. Inter-View shows that “delivery is not enabling business operations and consequently not delivering the benefit promised, despite the extra time and money invested.” However, he’s more than confident that an accurate understanding of Business Analysis through community involvement will change that.

To counter project failure, Saratoga, with BCMG, provides a holistic organisational assessment of processes, methodologies and behaviours, putting them in the best position to advise on forward thinking tactics. Uncovering the core ingredients to a client’s business strategy is tricky – they could be any of a multitude of things; financial statements, operational costs, staff retention, IT strategy and investment, technology asset maintenance, keeping up with industry trends, the list goes on. A holistic view of the challenges, actions, and outcomes, is essential for a successful business change strategy.

BA’s see the big picture

Joe Newbert suggests that pure Business Analysis connects all the dots, pulling together Strategy Analysis, Business Analysis and IT Systems Analysis. Tactically, Business Analysis “enables the holistic operations; it investigates situations to improve the ‘business system’ by asking the probing questions around the business processes, people, resources and the organisational model that supports it all.”

The multifaceted and holistic Business Analyst can thrive only in a strong, well constructed organisation. Shared knowledge promotes continuous learning and team growth. At Saratoga, their Business Analysis Advisory offering is built on the collective knowledge of the entire company. Consultants are able to tap into the pool of Saratoga wisdom to advise on various aspects of business. They are able to implement forward-thinking measures through this shared knowledge of cutting edge technologies and practices.

Due to the variegated nature and broad spectrum that BAs traverse, it’s frequently left to the Business Analyst to find clarity and direction for each project.

A recent McKinsey article highlights the importance of the digital mindset of the Business Analyst – it “institutionalises cross-functional collaboration, flattens hierarchies, and builds environments to encourage the generation of new ideas.” There is a need for flexibility of mindset in Business Analysis as the industry matures. Regular assessment and continual evolution may best be achieved through projects like Inter-View and events like BASSA which strengthen the BA community.

Bringing together business, people and technology

“35% of project failures can be linked to dysfunctional business and IT relationship’s”. Inter-View found that amongst Executive Management and Business stakeholders 83% and 80% confirmed that the Business Analysis role adds value to business operations and that increasing investment in business analysis would de-risk projects.

What is Saratoga’s process? A three-step journey, assess – plan – action, the Saratoga Business Advisory process kicks off with a competency health-check which provides organisations with all-round perspective of the business’ current climate.

Saratoga’s proprietary tool offers insight into organisational structures and legacy technology to inform modernisation decisions for impact-driven change. Using this data, the client and consultant together, map out a workable 12 month action plan to implement improvements in a practical and phased manner. An organisational jumpstart assembles the roles and responsibilities and Key Performance Indicators are identified for targeted objectives and tracking. All stakeholders are pulled into the planning process, ensuring alignment across business and enablement teams.

Inter-View finds requirements misunderstanding contributes to 23% of project failures. Mohamed Bray, Engagement and Practice Manager at Saratoga, strongly encourages individuals to make themselves dispensable. While seemingly counterintuitive, this practice demands that within teams knowledge sharing and trust build stronger teams and produce far more solid outcomes. Mohamed extends this approach to client relationships – “enabling, empowering and teaching your client how to deliver and own the solution once it’s completed. Teams move on from the project, but never from the client because the value we bring exceeds the boundaries of the project just delivered.”

Building a foundation of innovation

Technology investment enablement can occur at either the bleeding edge or at the heart of a business. This may lie in developing new technology, embracing current trends and tools, or by re-engineering existing legacy technology. The active ingredient for any such initiative is innovation. Saratoga’s proprietary tools inform decisions and put clients at the forefront of technology innovation.

Saratoga’s Business Analysis Advisory offering is built on years of experience and collective knowledge. Supporting initiatives such as Inter-View allows Saratoga to contribute to and nurture this vital community.

BCMG’s Joe Newbert, who is also engaged as a Principal Consultant at Saratoga, has managed over 50 teams across four continents and has gained a solid reputation for benefits delivery, advising companies on best business analysis practice, underpinned by accredited contemporary training and coaching. He has successfully delivered as part of the IIBA Professional Development Committee (Global Task Team), which was responsible for the development of the IIBA Competency Model. Through BCMG, supported by Saratoga and the IIBA, Joe founded Inter-View, an annual portrait of the local Business Analysis community.


July 2015, McKinsey. What ‘digital’ really means
September 2015, McKinsey. Cracking the Digital Code
Inter-View Portrait of Business Analysis 2015

What's shiny and new at SaratogaMaking the previously impossible possible