A business analyst (BA) is one of the most important cogs in the machine that is project management, which is why it is vital that they continually work to stay up to date with the latest developments in software within business intelligence (BI) software.
Why is software important?
A huge part of the business analyst role is analysing the data that is provided by the eventual user of the software being provided. The amount of data provided is usually substantial and the business analyst is expected to convert this data into the business requirements document (BRD), which is then given to the development team that will be creating the product.
Managing this data means using a variety of different business intelligence processes, such as organisational charts and relationship diagrams, all of which can be effectively created and managed using high-quality software. A good BA must consistently stay on top of the latest software developments so that they can continue to take advantage of cutting edge technology. This will enable them to consistently perform to their optimum levels.
What trends and changes occur?
On-going developments in business intelligence software take on several different forms. Looking at 2013, for example, some of the following changes have already appeared:
- There was an evolution within interfaces. This was an interesting change, as the standard BI interface is now largely considered fairly bread-and-butter within most medium to large companies; however, the 2012 Successful BI Survey rated dashboards as being the top priority for expansion. Several key features, such as in-memory processing, users being able to mash data together to create their own dashboards and the capacity to link insight to action, have all become more common.
- Self-sufficiency has become more important, with many companies looking to explore new sets of data without relying so heavily on IT support. ‘Visual-data-discovery’ has become a buzzword for self-service BI within the last year or so.
- Big data has become more and more apparent. InformationWeek described it as “reminiscent of the Gold Rush era”, in that it offers great potential to those who get it right. Big data connectors within existing BI tools are likely to become more common.
Business intelligence is an area that by its nature will continue to evolve and change. It is the responsibility of any forward thinking business analyst to stay at the forefront of these developments.