So the previous post talks about WHY in the title and after reviewing the post I did not even scratch the surface or even answer the question of Why. So this post is the follow up to Why you need a Social Business Analyst. The Business Analyst has evolved to be a very intragel part of the software development lifecycle and plays a major role (yes this is a biased opinion) in keeping the worlds of business and technology synthesized. The role has evolved to be a skilled and well positioned professional for a company, thinking about how to integrate the business’ strategy, process, technology, and implementation of a its Social Business architecture and operations.
Just check out a google search on Social Business Jobs, you will notice many of the skill sets this implementation needs, now look at what a good Business Analyst comes with, now integrate their personal and professional social profile and BOOM the Social Business Analyst.
Here is a diagram of the dynamic skill set of the Business Analyst:
Here are some criteria to answer the question Why:
1. We know how businesses work better with technology
The Social Business Analyst is well versed at understanding what the business processes are and how they are made more efficient within technology. This understanding is critical to implementing the Social Business, because about 70% of your business is run with technology. The other 30% is run by people making decisions about the information coming from those technologies. Scary, hey….not really technology has freed us up to actually have more conversations and better data for making decisions.
If you look at the Enterprise2.o & “Social Media” landscape, technology plays a huge part in your ability to execute your strategy and operations. People will say “It’s not about the technology, blah, blah, blah!” I disagree! It is about technology and technology from the perspective it helps make your Social Business run efficiently, effectively and in the most cost effective way. A Social Business analyst must know how this ever changing world of social technologies (Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, Jive, SocialText, Crimson Hexagon, Radian6, and operational technologies (SAP, PeopleSoft, Concur, Salesforce.com, SAS, POS, Sterling Commerce) must integrate to make the Social Business work.
2. Organic nature of requirements gathering
Yes, you heard me right requirements come to a project or initiative in very organic and dynamic nature. There may be methodologies methodologies step by step processes, structured traceability, but how to get and gather requirements can be rather organic. This typically is the best way to design solutions that people will actually use. When you become to robotic or “order takerish” with going to meeting, gather, document, ask questions, going to another meeting, gather, document, send email, meeting…..can you see how fast collaboration, organics, and innovation gets stifled in this process. A good Social Business Analysts does not have to think “Oh what is my next step in this methodology”, we just think this way, to easily get, analyze, model, document, use, and communicate information for the betterment of the business.
3. Document and model everything
Yes almost to a fault….but isn’t this what is going on all over consumer technologies these days. The Social Business Analyst document requirements in an organized fashion so people can actually use the information to make decisions. You will never see me produce a laundry list of requirements! We make pictures for all of our words in the form of process models, state change digrams, user interface process models, conceptual data models, and wireframes (yeah we like to mock up screens to get people talking). This helps the widest audience use information to make decisions. Managing this information in well architected, maintained, and open tools makes a project or initiative run soooooo much smoother. If you run projects devoid of these tools or run your organization like the “cobbler that never provides his\her children with no shoes” it will be a painful thorn in your side. I have seen both and thorns hurt!
4. We are precocious 5 year olds when it comes to asking questions
Why do you do that? Why is that free form text? Why is there so many hand offs? Why don’t you make that required? Why not a drop down there? Why did you change for two days ago? Why would a customer do that? What questions do you want to ask of your information? What market-share would you like to capture? What do you want to capture from the customer engagement? How many users will you have? How will you service these requests? Who will use this? What do you think?
See this is what we continually do when we receive information or produce it for people to talk about. Typically the highlighted question is the one we use when we bring information to the table to discuss. The questions we use come from a place of curiosity, fill in the blanks, connect the dots, validate the dots we have connected, and always wanting to make the business more efficient for their customers, employees, investors, and communities.
5. We love figuring out how the ecosystem works together
There are no silver bullets! We understand that to solve most business problems an ecosystem must be developed and implemented to help support the ecosystem that is the business. Being that social, enterprise2.0, and cloud technologies are maturing everyday, businesses need people that have been maturing along with them, hence the need for the Social Business Analyst. With the world of clouds, API’s, sharable on just about everything, consumer technology outpacing corp technology and most businesses needing to work internally and externally, a Social Business Analyst help gather, present, and make recommendations on a platform basis, not a silver bullet.
6. We like data and finding new conversations for improving
Yes based on using the information above you achieve good data in and good data out. We continually think about the questions a business is going to have along the way once the information is being populated. We understand the value of good data architecture, good information management, what a required field does to the process, what free form text fields vs structured data in drop downs gets you down the road.
I personally love “geeking out” with data architectes to understand how we structure the data to get it back out to make good business decisions. Once did a project in Mexico City where every data field was in english and in spanish behind the scenes so you could run reports in spanish and english. This skill set comes in very handy with working with monitoring tools of the social landscape. Having a solid understanding and the ability to speak with data and information geeks will make a Social Business Analyst vital to your team.
7. Connecting the dots quickly is our DNA
The dot connecting is really evident when you go back up and look at the Social Business Analyst cube. See the solid and dotted lines intersecting all over the place. Those are just the dots to connect the resources together. Now image all the dots that need to be connected across your organization…..now think about the dots connecting the internal to the external…..now lets go really big the dots that are connecting all your costumers. Got it mapped out? Well if not a Social Business Analyst kinda sees the language of the matrix when it comes to this. The good part, with the skills above we model, decompose the information, organize it, and “bucketize” it for easier consumption and decision making.
There is the WHY of putting this job description on the docket for 2011. The WHY on hiring a Social Business Analyst in 2011, if you are heading down the “social” path (eventually it is the path, but that is another discussion). I do believe a the Social Business Analyst plays well in the Marketing, Advertising, Communication, Digital, Customer Service Call Center, Sales, and HR sandboxes.
What are your thoughts? What is missing? What were your perceptions going into this information and now what are they? Look forward to hearing from you in the comments! I want to thank Jessi Howard for emailing some feedback on the Social Business Analyst Job Description post (see email is not dead!) and encouraging me to explain the WHY in a little more detail. Thank you Jessi!