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The Role of Business Analysis Driving Business Agility

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History in the business world has shown that having the ability to shift quickly when markets change is vital for survival. Companies that fail to do so, and fail to innovate, are often doomed to failure. An example of this is COVID-19, which caused an unparalleled acceleration of digitization and e-commerce, drastically altering the cultural and business landscape.

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According to IIBA's most recent research, organizations that can sense and react to change with speed and accuracy experience greater success than their peers. They are more efficient at adapting to change, create fewer barriers to employees succeeding, and are better at scaling changes regardless of size. 

What are the differences between businesses that succeed and those that fail? 

Examining the 8 characteristics of an Adaptive Organization as outlined in IIBA's Being Nimble report can provide some clarity. These include: 

  1. Clarity of purpose and mission: Leadership widely disseminates and builds deep understanding of purpose that is translated into simple rules of operation, a framework of values, and goals for the organization which are crafted in such a way that these can be used daily by all levels of the organization. 
  2. Decentralized leadership and decision making: Governance is designed to support higher velocity decisions through methods of self-assignment and self-accountability supported by independent decision-making authority pushed to lower levels in the organization. 
  3. Culture of employee enablement and empowerment: Learning and collaboration is widely shared, advances the value of humility, and deliberately crafts a high trust environment which provides the tools needed to do the job (enablement) encourages individual members to both share their best ideas and implement their ideas (empowerment). 
  4. Customer and market value stream focused: Listening posts are engineered into an organization to gather facts to accelerate understanding, and functions exist that excel at articulating what is valuable and measure value delivery to customer and market. 
  5. Prioritize through an outcome-oriented funding model: Resources of the organization are allocated dynamically to smaller elements of value within a larger program of change as supported by the organization’s ability to: 1) conduct effective enterprise analysis which orchestrates change to this funding model; 2) define larger outcomes as a sequence of small outcomes; 3) fund these smaller outcomes independently from the larger outcome based on the needs of interdependent stakeholders. 
  6. Use dynamic talent allocation: Skills allocated to support change are added or subtracted as these capabilities are needed within the organization in a flexible team structure with specialist internal or external resources providing key skills to enable specific outcomes. 
  7. Balance of rigor and flexibility in processes: Processes within the organization are constructed to: 1) minimize the number of discrete processes and variations; 2) value care over rigidity;3) ensure the stakeholder experience in the process is carefully orchestrated and efficient when involved with a main process or essential variant. 
  8. Development of a strong core of technology, data architecture, and standards: Systems and business data analytics have an increasing velocity of change as a result of having fewer systems, a stronger core architecture and stable standards, and the focus of technology investment on stakeholder innovation and value realization. 
“The research is definitive that business analysis capacity is essential to creating and operationalizing innovation, delivering superior customer value, achieving operational efficiency, and exceeding the speed of change demanded by market conditions.” 

The research is clear that business analysis is an important factor in driving business agility. Let’s consider these stats from IIBA’s Being Nimble report:

  • A total of 75% of organizations that lack nimble capacity also lag or are merely on par with their peers. However, 68% of organizations with high nimble capacity are best-in-class or exceed their peers in sensing and responding to change. 
  • Barriers to employees doing their best work occur on average 418% more frequently in organizations with “low capacity to be nimble” versus those that have “high capacity.”  
  • While it is possible for organizations that are not nimble to achieve good performance, it is improbable. It’s twice as likely that an organization will lag peers if it has a low level of capacity to sense and respond to change. 

 The research demonstrates a strong correlation between those organizations utilizing business analysis capabilities in leadership roles and achieving superior results compared to their peers. To ensure success, businesses must cultivate a business analysis mindset and provide adequate support and resources to build and enhance business analysis capabilities across the entire organization - not just the business analyst or business analysis team. This will give individuals the knowledge and skills to identify areas of value, understand how the organization operates, and make more informed decisions within their business context.


Download the full Being Nimble report, here’s what you will learn:

  - The characteristics of a nimble organization and a set of 8 practices that help organizations outperform peers  
- How to measure the capability of business analysis in supporting a nimble organization  
- The role of business analysis capabilities in creating best-in-class organizations  
- The value and measurable outcomes of being nimble 

IIBA’s corporate membership helps build business analysis capability in your organization. Learn more here




About The Author:
Sema Sali

Sema Sali is a business analysis ambassador at IIBA, leveraging the intercept of marketing with business analysis to increase awareness of the value and criticality of business analysis to the success of organizations in today’s complex and disruptive world. She contributes to the growth of IIBA’s ecosystem through marketing efforts of IIBA’s Organizational Programs for Corporate, Academic and Endorsed Education Providers.


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