My sister once asked me, "What exactly do you do at work?"
I tried to explain it as simply as possible and I actually thought she understood until she asked me again about a month later. She hasn't asked again and I'm hoping that's because she finally understood what I do and not because she simply gave up. The IIBA® Business Analysis Competency Model Version 3.0 categorizes a Business Process Analyst as a specialist BA role and describes the job role as one that involves:
Identifying the current state of processes; eliciting their useful and harmful attributes; documenting models of the processes; and facilitating stakeholder groups to consensus regarding new business process designs... Process changes are essential to solving problems or exploiting opportunities, and the analyst may specialize in the use of business process modelling tools and automation technologies.
I like to describe my job as one that involves improving business processes. To put it simply, a Business Process Analyst is responsible for understanding the workings of organization-wide processes to improve and maintain them.
According to Michael Hammer, “If it doesn’t make 3 people angry, it’s not a process”. Organizations are often faced with processes that are unnecessarily convoluted, slow, and inefficient, to say the least. It is the job of a Business Process Analyst to identify these troublesome processes, optimize and possibly automate them, to make life easier for clients and customers.
So, what do I do on a typical day?
- I interview process participants to understand exactly how their processes work. It is possible to interview two people and get different descriptions of the same process. My job is to clear the confusion by eliciting information on how the processes actually work before documenting their definition and attributes.
- I document process information using visual diagrams in the form of business process models (using the Business Process Management Notation or the Flowchart Notation).
- I analyse process models as they are (As-is), compare them to the future and improved designs (To-be) and determine the necessary changes for arriving at the improved state.
- I design business processes (To-be) and manage any subsequent changes to them.
- I identify, document and analyse business rules that govern the implementation of business processes.
- I write Business Process Management System (BPMS) specifications to be used by the developers for process automation
- I test and execute processes using the BPMS to ensure that the right results are achieved
- I examine processes holistically to understand the impact of changing them on people, strategy, existing software applications and general business operations.
- I collate feedback on process performance. The collected data forms the basis of future process improvement projects
- I monitor and measure the effectiveness of processes to ensure consistent value delivery.
I hope this gives a fair idea of what a Business Process Analyst role is about. Read more on The Business Process Analyst Job Description.
I'd love to hear from other Business Process Analysts out there.
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