Finding the business analyst that

Each time John Weathington thinks about business analysts, he says he’s reminded of Goldilocks’s quandary when she broke into the home of the three bears.

Some analysts are just too scientific, others are too economic and some are just right, according to the president and CEO of management consultancy firm Excellent Management Systems Inc. His San Francisco, Calif.-based firm count among its clients Fortune 500 companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems, PayPal, Sun Microsystems and Visa.

While Weathington rarely mentions business analysts when he advises clients on things such as team structures for big data strategies, he said this does not weaken the importance of the task business analysts perform.

However, he said, organizations need to be cautious when selecting their business analyst.

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In a recent post on the online IT publication TechRepublic.com, he said decision makers should be on the lookout for these three types of business analysts:

Too scientific – Some analysts are just too analytic. They may be former data scientists looking for a change of pace. Their LinkedIn profile will likely show that they have advanced degrees in physics, math of something similar and then an MBA program or business-focused activity later in their career.

While they may have great problem solving skills, Weathington said, some analysts from this background may fall short in people skills such as effective communication. He recommends that when hiring such professionals, organizations consider pairing them with an experienced business analyst who could fill in the gap and mentor the aspiring business analyst.

Too economic – Some people may be too economic or business minded and this may be problematic for some organizations as well. A business analyst that can’t communicate with data scientists will cause confusion and frustration and will likely result in sparsely documented requirements that raises more questions than answers
To mitigate the situation, Weathington recommends that companies pick a season business analyst the mentor such a candidate.

Just right, but not quite – Organizations should look out for business analysts who have a good mix of both scientific and business skills. However, according to Weathington, the challenge is determining the right mix of talents and experience that will work best for your company.

Most leaders opt to go the 50/50 route, and this he said could the worst move they could make.

Analysts in this category don’t have enough business savvy to work with the product division and don’t have enough analytics skills to work with data scientists.

They’re worthless for your company “except for moral support and comic relief,” he said.

Leaders should go for business analyst candidates who can fully functions as a data scientist and as a business powerhouse, Weathington said.

However, Weathington’s “real” recommendation is to forgo hiring a business analyst.

In order to cover the critical function provided by a business analyst, he advocates that organizations use “collaboration architecture.”

This does not necessarily mean rolling out or fortifying technology but rather developing a common language understood by everyone in the team so that even dispersed, virtual teams have a high degree of communication, Waethington said.

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