How to Become a Business Process Analyst

By Maureen McVey, CBAP
imageIn A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide) published by International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) business process is defined as “…a set of defined ad-hoc or sequenced collaborative activities performed in a repeatable fashion by an organization.” 
Process is inherent in every organization regardless of the type. How an organization conducts its affairs to achieve the goals and objectives of its stakeholders is accomplished through the processes of that organization—manual, automated, or more likely, a combination. Business Process Management (BPM) determines how these processes are governed, created, modified, or cancelled. Technology supports organizational processes and enables efficiency; it cannot exist without process as the foundation.
If you are a business systems analyst you utilize workflow and domain modeling to understand the organization and its operations. Often your focus is on improving the process through technology. So you have a good foundation in process management.
If you are a systems analyst, workflow/process informs how the system will behave less than an understanding of the overall processes. The closer you are to the technology side of the business the more you will need to learn about business process management.
The IIBA® Career Road Map, describes the business process analyst as follows: “A business process analyst specializes in bringing change to organizations through the analysis, design and implementation of the business processes that keep organizations running and the management of changes to those processes. Business process analysts have deep competencies in identifying the current state of processes, eliciting useful and harmful attributes of them, documenting models of the processes and facilitating stakeholder groups to consensus regarding new business process designs. 
“He or she is skilled in identifying impacts and linkages to the business strategies, organization and its people, data and systems, business policies and business rules, as well as the physical assets of the business. Business process analysts use techniques that enable successful implementation of business process changes in order to solve problems or exploit opportunities. These analysts assess the impact of business process changes within people, systems, operations and management, and advocate new business capabilities to ensure performance improvement. This analyst may also specialize in and use business process modeling, analysis and design tools and business process management automation technologies.”
To move into this position and progress to the senior process analyst positions such as a business architect you would need to:
  • Learn about Organizational Change methods and practices such as Prosci and read the book Everything You Want to Know About Organisational Change by Darren Arcangel and Brian Johnson, found in the IIBA Online Library.
  • Learn how to conduct an Organizational Readiness Assessment. You can find a sample assessment in the book Facilitating to Lead by Ingrid Bens in the IIBA Online Library.
  • Take a course on process improvement like Six Sigma.  
  • Study Key performance Indicators, which tell you what to do to increase performance. Read Key Performance Indicators (KPI): Developing, Implementing, and Using Winning KPIs by David Parmenter. In this book, the author talks about other measures such as results indicators and performance Indicators.
  • Learn about Benchmarking, the process of comparing one's business processes and performance metrics to industry best practices from other industries.
  • Understand business rules analysis which is critical for process transformation. Sometimes the change to a business rule can improve results. Ronald Ross and Gladys Lam provide tutorials and track sessions at the annual Building Business Capability (BBC) Conference
  • Conduct requirements workshops using techniques that explore processes such as Kaizen.
The list above is not exhaustive. It will, however, get you on the path to building your skills in business process management. 
To find out more about the Business Process Analyst role, go to