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How a BACOE can be a springboard for the Business Analysis Global Community of Practice

By Heather Mylan-Mains, President Central Iowa Chapter IIBA

It’s an exciting time to be a Business Analyst. Some of us have been called a business analyst for years. Others may just be learning that the work we do has an organization and a career path known as business analysis. No matter what our title may be, the skill sets and attributes of our work, as defined in A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide), unite us in the global community of business analysis.

There has been a drive in organizations to establish Business Analysis Centers of Excellence (BACOE). Organizations of all sizes are collaborating to centralize business analysts together. Our world can seem very small as individual business analysts, with our heads down, working on our projects. This centralization creates synergy at a micro level. There is energy in collaborating that creates opportunities to share knowledge, skills and expertise with each other related to our organizations. Does this knowledge stop at our micro organizational level? Is information in our own BACOEs so specific that it applies only internally? No! This energy can be collected and shared at a macro level as well.

Imagine a series of springboards that lead to the pool of the Global Business Analysis Community. Imagine individual business analysts forming a BACOE that meet together in local International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) chapters, strengthening the community to include members of many BACOEs. These local IIBA® chapters can springboard to collaborate in geographic regional communities, sharing information with other chapters. These regional communities feed into the IIBA organization which feeds into the Global Business Analysis Community pool!


What does it mean to be part of a Global Business Analysis Community? It means none of us is as smart as all of us! The impact we make in our BACOE is echoed by thousands of other business analysts around the world. Our profession is gaining credibility through the BABOK® Guide as we work to globally standardize and define what a business analysis professional represents.

It may seem as if our BACOE is so unique that it’s not possible to learn from—or incorporate feedback from—other communities. It’s true that companies have different cultures, products, processes, and strategies, but they have similar problems. As members of a global community we can share similar stories from successes and failures in the organizations in which we work.

As we work together as individual business analysts we gain more credibility for our profession through reaching out into our global community. There are many chapters that offer mentoring programs that pair a more experienced business analyst with a less experienced business analyst in a formal mentoring program. This is not limited to just our local areas. The way that business is conducted is changing and physical location is not required to learn from members in the global community. Social media outlets such as Twitter allow sharing across the global community and learning from business analysts all over the world at lightning speed. Best practices, new ideas, and opportunities are available instantly as we individually share with all our #baot tweeps!

As Kathleen Barret shared at Building Business Capability (BBC) 2012 and in a recent IIBA webinar, we can each educate our organizations about what business analysis is, specifically that it is a disciplined approach for introducing and managing change to the business. This career is not hidden in our companies in dedicated BACOEs; it is gaining recognition across the globe. It’s time to dive in and be a part of the global conversation. We are all part of this community.