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IIBA® is pleased to announce the upcoming launch of our new Global Thought Leadership Program.
In 2016, IIBA hosted several events to solicit community feedback on areas of future development for the business analysis discipline, practices and the profession. We also conducted a research study with KPMG to ensure a broader global perspective. The results of this work highlighted the need to expand beyond our traditional scope of business analysis to include areas of development and growth. The immediate community need was for information and support in five key areas: design thinking, agile business analysis, analytics, strategic analysis and business analysis applied in the context of digital transformation. These are the five thought leadership topic areas we are focused on, with more to come in the near future.

Although the official launch of this program will be at the IIBA India BA Convention in August, including announcing partner agreements in support of this initiative, we offer you the following preview of this work.  
The five areas for 2017 focus are:
  1. Design Thinking -  Design thinking is a creative approach to solving problems and identifying optimal solutions. It allows the BA Professional (BA) to use a proven, structured and repeatable process to address challenges, capitalize on opportunities, identify potential solutions, and to engage with the customer in a very creative way. In design thinking, the focus is not problem focused, but rather solution focused.  It is a human centered approach to innovation. We know that innovation has always been needed, but the current business environment demands an even greater level. Design thinking can often be the means to get to that transformative level of change that organizations need.
IIBA is engaging various experts from the community, academia, and expert practitioners around the world to share how this capability can be incorporated into your practice. 
Kupe Kupersmith is engaged as the facilitator or leader of this initiative, and has built a team of core contributors.  We will share the outcomes of the team’s work regularly and look forward to input from our entire community. 
  1. Agile – Agile philosophy and practices have been widely adopted and our challenge is to ensure organizations understand the importance of analysis when work is executed in an agile fashion.  At last year’s BBC conference, we presented our plans to collaborate with the Agile Alliance organization and jointly publish a much-needed update to the “Agile Extension to the BABOK®Guide” (Agile Extension). Much has changed since the initial publication of the Agile Extension and lessons learned from application of agile principles across many organizations representing a variety of industries around the globe have been analyzed to incorporate new thinking into the updated version. The updated Agile Extension underwent a comprehensive expert review process and the feedback provided has been incorporated to produce a publication that promises to increase organizational understanding of agile business analysis. This effort is almost complete with final edits underway and it will be released to our global membership in August. Initial reviews look great and we are excited about its upcoming release which will be supported with articles, webinars and presentations from IIBA, our partners and volunteers from around the world.
We’re also excited about implementing a new feedback process that will continuously solicit community feedback and a more dynamic process that will keep the Agile Extension vital and current. We will also ensure that insights from the Global Thought Leadership initiative contribute to this body of knowledge.  
Jas Phul from IIBA is leading this effort, and we will be inviting the whole community to get involved when we release the new extension.  It will also be available to corporate members in digital format as a licensed product. 
  1. Data Analytics – Data analytics has been a hot topic for a number of years and its importance is only growing.  More and more businesses rely not only on internal data, but on market place data to determine strategic and operational actions.  Data and ‘evidenced based’ findings are present across many industries, and represent a different kind of “analysis” than many BA Professionals are accustomed to, but still leverage foundational business analysis competencies. It starts with understanding business objectives and business requirements, and adds an interpretive approach to looking at data for new insights to support more effective decision making. It is about empowering business people to explore information and leverage components of business intelligence software. It is about analyzing information and working with business experts to address problems, capitalize on opportunities and ‘create better business outcomes”. It focuses business analysis from a different perspective, with additional competencies that are needed to support business people in achieving the desired outcomes.  Data analytics is about understanding business needs and interpreting analytics based results back into a business context.
IIBA has had a SIG group for a few years operating in the Data analytics space.  That group is headed by Meri Gruber and Dr. Mark Griffin. We will continue to leverage the SIG as it now operates and support that group with more effort from IIBA to support richer collaboration and added capabilities. Many thanks to Mark and Meri for their efforts in being fantastic volunteers who support this effort.  
  1. Enterprise Strategic Analysis -  At its core, business analysis is about enabling change.  The notion of this area is about several separate key words.  It is about enterprise level.  It is about analysis of strategy, and more importantly the ability to contribute to recommending strategy through the use of good analysis.  It is about enabling transformative change across the enterprise by linking and integrating the elements necessary to transcend individual projects and analyze broader levels across an enterprise.  This messaging came to us loud and clear from the results of the KPMG study and emphasized what executives want and expect from business analysis.  
This initiative will examine all of the aspects, beyond just the ‘project level’ of business analysis, and identify how BA Professionals (BA) operate at the enterprise, portfolio, and program level.  It will and also assess how to leverage our analysis competencies at this strategic level to drive better business outcomes. It is about examining what an enterprise works on, and why it should work on that. It also assures the business case and call to action are effectively framed.  It then works to operationalize the outcomes so the desired business value is achieved.
This is different from simply looking at the strategic aspects and impacts of a project. Most BA’s do that today in the way we have always operated. However, this is more about incorporating ‘management consulting’ attributes into the work we do.  It is about the skills, competencies, and tools necessary to operate at this strategic level to be effective. Working with our community, IIBA has described many of these competencies, but we believe we can and should do more to advance the profession to this level. That includes how to engage with the strategic level of the organization, to engage early in the planning stages, and to engage in later stages of work to assure the value is achieved.
This effort is being led by Michael Augello out of Australia.  It has been a passion of Michael’s for many years, and he brings the CBAP® skills he has and employs them in the ways described above. He is uniting a team of other global thought leaders around this very important and impactful initiative.
  1. Digital Business Analysis -  What is digital business analysis anyway? It is about a broad spectrum of changes in business that are transforming the very essence of how organizations deliver value. It is about changes in manufacturing with advanced automation. t is about device automation and the internet of things, where sensors and functional devices tie into an intelligent network. t is about the changes in retail where we see e-commerce going to a new level - consider how Amazon and online shopping are driving out traditional brick and mortar businesses. It is about changing the supply chain, purchasing, and even the customer experience.  It is about changes in the financial industry where new technology is enabling disruptive business models with FINTECH, robotic investment management, and new electronic currency controls with blockchain.  It is more than technology though it is about a mindset of business transformation, and a customer centric focus.  
It is about more than traditional ‘information technology’, which has driven the last 30+ years of business process automation. This new era of business blends technology into the fabric of the business model, and not just into an enabling component of the business. 
The capabilities to operate as a BA Professional (BA) in this emerging model means that our profession will need new capabilities, new competencies, new skills, new tools, and new techniques. It will draw on other professions, and more completely blend traditional roles into a new omni-skilled resource.  We see the acceleration of the hybrid role of a BA, and some of the blending coming from the high-tech industry, where the analysis role includes some elements that traditionally may be found in the ‘Product management’ role to solicit and understand requirements and to define product functions not by traditional elicitation techniques but from new market facing direct customer (not user) interaction. This is just an example of the breadth of change that is coming.  
The good news for BA’s is that at the core of it all is still the foundational competencies, and the ability to work with the business and be the conduit to use and leverage the new technology and new digital capabilities as they emerge. However, it is about leading as never before and about being capable of recommending how to change and how to transform the business to meet emerging market opportunities. 
Ashish Mehta is personally leading this initiative.  He is assembling a team from leading companies, research firms, and academic community to grow this focus area.  It is likely that an effort with this broad of a scope will decompose over time and we will launch new elements from this core initiative.  We openly invite broad participation in this from the community, and so much of this is the future of the profession. We are excited in how this will expand the scope and career opportunities of the BA profession.  
*Clearly, major changes for all of us and that includes major changes for IIBA! We see the need to look beyond our legacy but not abandon that by any means. We will build on what has made us successful today but we also need to grow and do so at a pace that ties directly to the market place. Our ability to be flexible, and to ensure we are more ‘agile’ and more supportive of change will help us steer our community through these transformative changes.  
We want to ensure that the value that every member gets from IIBA is truly enabling you to stay not just up to date, but driving you forward with a commitment to lifetime learning and professional relevancy.  
These are not the only important topics for our community but we listened to what you had to say and these are the ones that you helped identify as most critical. So, although we start with these in 2017, know that there is much more to come over the next few years. 
We invite your feedback and please feel free to direct your comments to  We look forward to hearing from you.