Today, a large proportion of organisations are technology-led which means they need to keep constantly evolving to maintain market interest. This is where the role of the CIO has grown and now roles such as the CDO have emerged.

Although an organisation is technology-led, it is important that the customer remains at the heart of the business strategy. To ignore this can not only be costly but also potentially detrimental to the organisation. Business analysis acts as an internal consultancy role that has the responsibility for investigating business systems, identifying options for improving business and bridging the needs of the business with the use of IT.

Effective business analysis ensures that business needs are paramount when new technology systems are introduced. By applying good business analysis, greater levels of customer satisfaction can be achieved and an organisation’s operations can become flexible responding to change as required.

While most organisations use the term ‘business analysis’ and employ business analysts (BAs), there continues to be a lack of clarity about what this really means and this often creates more questions than answers. SFIA (Skills Framework for the Information Age) describe the business analysis skills as:

The methodical investigation, analysis, review and documentation of all or part of a business in terms of business functions and processes, the information used and the data on which the information is based. The definition of requirements for improving any aspect of the processes and systems and the quantification of potential business benefits. The creation of viable specifications and acceptance criteria in preparation for the construction of information and communication systems.

The role ‘business analyst’ is one of the best jobs for fast growth, with over two million LinkedIn profiles having business analysis in the job title. Good business analysts can make the difference between a poor and a great investment in business and IT improvements. They can also help to resolve issues without jumping to premature conclusions.

For the CIO, employing strong business analysts and making them an integral part of the team will ensure IT leads transformation; aligning business objectives with the right strategy and tactics. The qualities that are necessary to be a successful business analyst are communication, relationship building, and influencing skills similar to those that are beneficial in the CIO’s own role.

Being able to translate the technical language into layman’s terms is a skill that can never be underestimated; especially for any CIO wanting to make the transition to the CEO position.