As a working IT professional one of the biggest challenges that you face, more than likely, is helping those on the business side understand exactly what your current IT capabilities are. Sometimes you may find yourself having to explain to stakeholders why a shiny new piece of technology may not be the cure to all organizational ills.
Let’s face it, many folks look at the IT staff as an independent fiefdom that has magic wands made of binary code. You often hear phrases like: “Can’t you just add this simple reporting function?” or “I just need these two systems to talk to each other” and “It is simply a matter of (insert request here).” So, how exactly can you effectively communicate IT limitations and constraints to your business stakeholders? The answer can be as simple as getting some business analysis training.
What does business analysis training have to do with making IT operations and business operations sync up? Glad you asked. Business analysts are, in many organizations, the conduit between what the business needs and the systems and applications that will enable the enterprise to get to their desired state. Skilled business analysts have an ability to effectively manage stakeholder input in requirements development, they understand whether certain potential solutions will work within the current environment, how to assess the potential value of different proposed solutions. Wouldn’t it be great if you had those skills in your toolbox as well?
The truth is, the more that tech professionals can understand business needs, market trends and strategic goals, the more value they can add to the organization. We don’t always want to be the person that says “What you are asking for isn’t possible.” Instead, we want to be the person who truly understands the needs of the business so that we can recommend a realistic alternative.
As an IT professional, it may be tempting to say something along the lines of, “But that is the business analyst’s job, not mine.” No one is telling you to do the BA’s job for them. What is being recommended here is to develop an additional skill set outside of the IT hard skills. No manager ever said “We don’t really want our IT staff to have an understanding of the business.”
Tech Republic declares that in 2015, project management and soft skills are among the most important skills that IT professionals can possess. It’s no longer enough for IT professionals to build and sustain a career on hard skills alone. IT professionals already manage projects, but developing stronger business acumen makes IT professionals more of an asset. When we put on our business analyst hats we can look at things from a different perspective and make ourselves more valuable to our organizations.
Learn more about growth opportunities for technologists.