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Unlocking the Power of Business Analysis with AI

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and may not reflect the perspectives of IIBA.
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“A business analyst who knows how to leverage AI will replace a business analyst who doesn’t” — Vince Mirabelli

In a world where business analysis shines as a beacon of strategic insight and problem-solving, professionals in this field are true game changers. Armed with domain knowledge, critical thinking skills, and a knack for uncovering hidden opportunities, they’re the driving force behind informed decision-making and organizational success.

Now imagine if we could amplify those strengths—enhancing their ability to extract insights, streamline processes, and drive innovation further than it’s ever been. Well, that’s no longer the realm of science fiction (though it would be pretty cool to see business analysts wearing capes).

That’s because artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to revolutionize the way we approach business analysis.

By harnessing the power of AI tools, business analysis professionals can supercharge their capabilities, elevating their impact and ushering in a new era of strategic excellence. In the latest Business Analysis Live episode, Susan and Scott were joined by Vince Mirabelli to explore how AI can enhance their work, and why prompt engineering is the key to unlocking its full potential.

In case you missed it, here are five takeaways from the popular podcast.

AI... as in Assistant Intern

Business analysis professionals often juggle multiple responsibilities—eliciting requirements, analyzing data, and ensuring stakeholder alignment, to mention a few. AI can automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks, freeing up valuable time to engage more with stakeholders.

While AI can generate some useful information, the results need to be reviewed and verified. “Think of it like having an intern work for you," Scott says. "You assign the intern less complex work, but you know you must check their work to ensure it’s correct."

An Ideal Match

Business analysis professionals wear many hats. They’re detectives who uncover hidden requirements, translators who connect business and tech, or storytellers who communicate complex ideas—just to name a few.

By providing data-driven insights, AI complements all these roles. But it’s the analyst’s domain knowledge and critical thinking that add a much-needed human touch. Their ability to understand nuanced business needs and interpret AI outputs ensures that organizations make informed decisions and drive impactful outcomes.

Gatekeepers of Quality

To harness AI effectively, business analysis professionals must develop specific skills such as crafting effective prompts and interpreting outputs.

Think of AI interactions as interviews. Specific, context-rich prompts yield better results. Avoid vague queries akin to Google searches. Instead, provide detailed information to guide AI tools. After all, they’re only as good as what we feed them.

Answers are generated by AI, but business analysis professionals still need to validate them. Be the gatekeeper of quality by understanding the nuances, limitations, and biases of AI systems.

The Art of Asking

Imagine writing requirements without specifics—it would be chaos! It’s the same when asking AI to perform any given task. Vague prompts lead to suboptimal AI responses. Let’s break down prompt engineering:

As with most things in life, context matters. When interacting with AI, context is king. Describe the problem, relevant data, and desired outcome. For instance, instead of asking, “What’s the weather?” specify, “Provide the weekend forecast for Istanbul, Turkey.”

And don’t forget the details, which ultimately drive accuracy. Like a well-crafted requirement, a detailed prompt yields better results. For example, if you seek shoe recommendations, don’t settle for “shoes.” Specify the occasion, budget, and style preferences.

AI isn’t autonomous. Rather, it’s a tool that humans control (for now, at least), and business analysis professionals remain in the driver’s seat. While AI confidently answers, it’s your job to assess, validate, and make informed decisions based on what it generates.

Bias and Ethics

AI learns from data, and data can be biased. That means business analysis professionals must be vigilant by recognizing bias when it surfaces and making ethical considerations when using AI.

Remember that AI inherits biases from training data. Whether intentional or inadvertent, it’s your responsibility to correct for it. AI decisions impact lives, so always act with fairness, transparency, and accountability. Business analysis professionals are the ethical compass guiding AI’s course.

Vince's Wisdom

Remember Vince, our podcast guest? He emphasized that business analysis professionals maintain control of the steering wheel. And it’s the perfect metaphor to describe our relationship with this awe-inspiring technology.

While AI is a powerful co-pilot, you’re still the captain. As a business analysis professional, use AI to navigate but keep your hands firmly on the controls. With your expertise guiding the way, AI becomes a valuable tool in your arsenal, helping you steer your organization toward success.

Closing Thoughts

Far from a threat, AI is a great collaborator. By mastering prompt engineering, understanding biases, and maintaining ethical vigilance, you can unlock its superpowers. So let’s embrace AI, learn its language, and soar to new heights!

Eager to go deeper? Check out the full conversation and don't forget to mark your calendar for our upcoming biweekly livestream. Whether you're seeking clarity, sharing insights, or simply craving more thought-provoking dialogue, we're here to keep the conversation alive and thriving.

Explore fresh and candid conversations on a wide array of business analysis topics with the Business Analysis Live podcast.

About the Authors
Susan Moore

Susan A. Moore, Community Engagement Manager, IIBA

Scott Bennett

Scott Bennett, Manager, Business Analysis, IIBA

We host Business Analysis Live to discuss business analysis topics and answer questions from our live audience.  We have a backlog of upcoming topics and we’re happy to take suggestions. Add a comment to one of our videos to suggest a topic you would like us to cover in an upcoming episode!


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