The ANZ Technology Implementation of the IIBA Competency Model: Reflections One Year Later

By Geoff Griffin, BA Competency Lead and Nicole Batchelor, Senior BA

ANZ provides a range of banking and financial products to around 8 million customers, ranks 25th internationally by market capitalisation, is one of 14 banks internationally with an S&P AA rating, and has a presence in over 29 countries.

The ANZ Technology Business Analyst (BA) Practices consist of over 250 Business Analysts across four geographies providing business analysis services across ANZ. Following the piloting and evaluation of three BA competency models, the IIBA® Competency Model was adopted by the ANZ Technology BA Practices in July 2010. This included development and implementation of a management framework, BA and customer orientation, BA self-assessment and validation, and the creation of individual BA development plans.

One year on, Adrian Brennan (Customer), Mario Manuelpillai (BA) and Sarah Goldring (BA Manager) reflect upon the implementation of the IIBA Competency Model and share their experience (note: Adrian was not asked questions 2 and 4).

1. What was critical in convincing you to support the implementation of a BA competency model?

  • Mario: Assessment against an industry based competency model has provided an industry benchmark of my BA skills, focused my BA development and provided a clear pathway as to how to develop as a BA.
  • Sarah: I was a bit sceptical about its fit with ANZ and wondered whether it was too general. Working to map our Business Analyst Delivery Model to A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide), I began to appreciate its value—increased credibility of the delivery model, context and industry alignment. It is both practical and relevant to ANZ.
  • Adrian: It sets the BA Practice up to provide professionals (right people with the right tools and behaviours for the job) supported by a consistent set of standards. Given the critical role of the BA, this sets initiatives up for success. It has also created an environment which attracts passionate BA professionals—happy people mean better initiative outcomes.
2. What was the most challenging aspect of the BA Competency Model implementation? How did you overcome this?
  • Mario: The courage to answer the questions honestly and finding out I wasn’t as skilled as I thought I was in some areas. I overcame these challenges with the support of a trusted manager and the BA Practice emphasised it was a development tool (not a measure of performance), and following through with a personalised BA development plan.
  • Sarah: Validating responses within the ANZ context and ensuring consistency in the expected level of proficiency amongst validators. These challenges were overcome through our BA Delivery Model being aligned to the BA Competency Model, i.e. alignment of models supported common understanding of proficiency within the ANZ context.
3. What benefits have you seen from the BA Competency Model?
  • Mario: BA competency growth as a result of focused development. Increased confidence in my BA proficiency as a result of industry benchmarking. Greater role clarity.
  • Sarah:  Common language and understanding of what constitutes a BA professional service capability.
  • Adrian: BAs who are better able to engage with their stakeholders and deliver on the BA value proposition leading to greater initiative success.
4. On a personal level, what did you gain or learn from the experience?
  • Mario: While at times confronting it has built my confidence in my BA capability, it also provided a clear development pathway and clarity in what I am seeking in my next assignment.
  • Sarah: Improved understanding of what a BA is and an appreciation of how variable this understanding was previously. Increased credibility—I am a Professional (industry standards and a competency model lends greater credibility to a profession). I have enjoyed embedding the BA Competency Model into the organisation and seeing others benefit in the same way I have.
5. What advice would you give others looking to implement a BA competency model?
  • Mario: Criteria for maximum benefits include an environment of trust; following through by developing people; providing sufficient time to complete the self-assessment.
  • Sarah: Align the competency model to your delivery model. As an organisation, decide what your competency and technique priorities are to provide focus and increase the value-add of the competency model.
  • Adrian: It is a great idea. Support it for the benefits it delivers to the business.
6. Which three words or phrases best sum up your experience of implementing the BA competency model?
  • Mario: Enlightenment, achievement, empowerment.
  • Sarah: Professional credibility, lucky (at ANZ we already had a BA delivery model in place we could align the BA Competency Model to) and “you don’t know what you don’t know”.
These reflections one year after the implementation provide a perspective on the value of implementing the IIBA BA Competency Model to the BA Practices.

The factors that have contributed to a successful implementation include:
  • Commitment to a comprehensive implementation (BA orientation and training through to support to execute BA development plans)
  • Buy-in from key stakeholders throughout the organisation
  • Alignment to the organisation’s BA Delivery Model.
The ANZ Technology BA Practices will continue to build upon these lessons as the IIBA Competency Model takes the place of a key pillar in their commitment to deliver and evolve the BA value proposition at ANZ.