Without a doubt, the past 2 or so years have been some of the most challenging times that most of us will have had to endure. But as we gradually see signs of slowly emerging from the pandemic — one thing that will be strikingly clear to many digital professionals, is how much the world of technology and specifically our users who use that technology has changed. Users of digital services have both grown exponentially in terms of actual numbers consuming them, as well as grown in terms of their expectations. Intuitive, ‘works first time’, personalisation and the ‘now’ mindset — only just scratch the surface.

On top of all that is the explosion in demand for digital skills. Some of the most in-demand professionals include Business Analysts. Environmentally, with the relative success of COP26 last year — we’re starting to see organisations look to do more and more to proactively reduce their carbon footprint and with pace.

Good business analysis helps influence decisions, challenges thinking and solves problems.

So looking ahead to the rest of 2022 and hopefully happier times ahead for many, what does this all mean for Business Analysts? Being a news junkie as well as being fortunate enough to lead some of the largest BA communities across the UK government, here are my five predictions on the biggest trends and impacts facing the business analysis profession in 2022.

1.Increased focus on sustainability — sure many would agree this is an area where we all need to step up and do more — whether that be personally or professionally. So, practically what can we do as BAs in a work setting? Well, actually more than you may think. Our position as a pivotal role within digital teams, as well as usually being one of the first on-board — means we have a strong position to bring sustainability into the conversation. This could be through actively seeking out organisational environmental policies and government legislation that may need to be considered. It could mean looking at opportunities to ensure ‘green metrics’ are actively defined and measured. Maybe one for discussion in your next BA community meet-up?

2.Say hello to hybrid working — remote working in one form or another is here to stay and I suspect for many that will also mean hybrid working. Some time at home, some time in the office. That means, if you’ve just perfected facilitating all your workshops remotely — you’ll likely now have three options to consider. Everyone in the office, everyone working remotely or a mixture of attendees across the two. So now is probably a good time to draw up some principles on the best approaches that work for you, your team and your stakeholders. Also it could be sensible to look into any yet to be discovered features in the communication and collaboration tools that can help make things run a bit smoother.

3. Organisations are going to have to do more to ‘grow their own’ — business analysis skills are in huge demand. Finding experienced BAs is tough, really tough. Organisations are going to need to do more to nurture talent and invest in supporting others to grow into business analysis. This means structured routes that allow people to develop their skills in a safe and supportive environment. So whether that’s enhancing an existing offering or launching a new one — there are plenty of opportunities for practitioners to get involved. Apprenticeships, in-house development schemes, buddying, sharing your experience through a blog or YouTube video or just generally engaging more in your community of practice. It’s a great way to test your own understanding of all things business analysis as well as develop new skills too.

4.Complexity is the new norm — one of the key traits of our profession has always been to break down complicated stuff into more manageable, easy to understand chunks. And the ability to do that has never been needed more. For those working in a specific product delivery team, this may mean brushing up on your modelling techniques or hand-drawn visualisation skills such as Bikablo. If you’re at a Senior or Lead level — this may mean helping multiple delivery teams better align their backlog to a set of common goals or helping teams look more outwardly on the rapid pace of change happening around them. How can you help teams to build joined up user journeys and processes that complement one another, rather than conflict? Familiar techniques will be key, as will looking at ways to make models more engaging and easier to interact with. This might mean staying away from hefty notation frameworks, instead moving to hand-drawn low-res models. After all, we’re trying to break down complexity and not add to it.

5.More focus on the value business analysis brings, less talk on specific tools, techniques and artefacts — this may be seen as controversial by some. To be clear this isn’t saying tools, techniques and artefacts are no longer important — of course they are! Tools and techniques are just as important today, as they were last year or 20 years ago. But, using a specific artefact or technique doesn’t deliver value in itself. They provide the method and science behind how we work as analysts. With what seems like an ever-increasing number of new digital roles, we must shift to describing the ‘what’ we do through the value it brings to our users and organisations. And talk less about the technique we’re using to go about it or the ‘perfectness’ of an artefact. Good business analysis helps influence decisions, challenges thinking and solves problems. Everything in the middle just helps us get there.

Thanks for reading, let me know your thoughts by adding them in the comments below or by getting in touch with me on LinkedIn. Also be great hear of any relatable initiatives happening in your communities.