The importance of being… a business analyst

Guest post from John Lewis, Business Analyst with the Business Change and Implementation Team

I recently attended the Business Analysis Conference Europe 2013, as one of over 300 attendees from 24 countries. The conference was a forum where business analysts could meet, discuss and debate the competencies needed and the challenges organisations face now and in the future. The aim of this blog post is to give you an insight into why I attended and what I took from it.

As a bit of background, I have been working as a business analyst within the Digital Publishing division for the past year. I started in the team working as an assistant to a business analyst and over time gained experience and was able to take on a lead business analyst role. Prior to working for the ONS I had no knowledge or experience of business analysis and attending the conference opened my eyes to its widespread benefits and use as a vital role within organisations in almost all sectors and industries.

In a nutshell, the role of a business analyst is to understand the business, identify business problems and then to look for and/or develop a solution to meet the business needs. In my role within Digital Publishing I have mainly been involved in projects to improve the website and the associated publishing processes. The main reason for me attending the conference was not only to increase my knowledge, but to get a better understanding of business analysis in a wider perspective in addition to the first hand experience I have from ONS.

The conference consisted of a day of workshops, aimed at improving and teaching new business analysis skills and then two days of seminar sessions. There was a wide choice of seminars over the two days, ranging from providing information on using specific analytics software to case studies of successful and unsuccessful projects and the reasons that contributed to their success/failure. I felt that these sessions were invaluable in terms of increasing my knowledge and awareness of business analysis skills, techniques and common practice. I will no be able to implement some of the techniques and skills I learned on future projects To end the conference there was a keynote speech from Max McKeown, a writer, consultant and researcher specialising in innovation, strategy, leadership and culture. I found this presentation really insightful and I would suggest that anybody, in any field, could learn a lot from reading some of his books or from watching his Youtube videos.

Overall I found the conference a great learning experience and in addition it also allowed me to connect with business analysts in similar organisations (specifically the National Assembly for Wales and the Home Office) to help build a community where we can all share our experiences and learn from each other in this ever changing digital age.

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