So you want to become a technology professional?
More and more, companies are becoming primary technology companies first and then product or services companies secondary. This is a big shift from companies marrying a technology solution around their business processes to companies intertwining both their enterprise business processes such as sales, product development, engineering, finance, legal and technology together into an overall enterprise strategy. What does this mean? It means that technology is no longer an after-thought but at the forefront of a business’s mission and professionals will all need to become more tech savvy to carry out their day to day functions. Gone are the days when technology is considered after everything else. Technology is driving companies’ ecosystems and I anticipate that the demand for hybrid business and technology professionals will continue to increase. The 4th industrial revolution is here.
1. Identify Transferable Skills
As a business professional, you have invaluable insight into your enterprise’s role on how specific business processes work. You know the step by step processes to carry out your day to day activities. You are also in a very good place to become a functional technology professional because of this insight, as these are perfect transferable skills to pivot your career into the information technology arena. Generally, functional or solution technology professionals spend their time identifying what the impacted business processes are to a technology tool or solution and vice versa. The Business Analyst’s core functions are to identify and document the current step by step processes and identify inefficiencies or gaps to get to a future state. This means that as a business professional, you already have a priori business analysis knowledge.
2. What is a Business Analyst?
Here is a video that you can review to reference, what a business analyst is as well.
The International Institute of Business Analysis defines Business Analyst to …identify and define the solutions that will maximize the value delivered by an organization to its stakeholders. Business analysts work across all levels of an organization and may be involved in everything from defining strategy, to creating the enterprise architecture, to taking a leadership role by defining the goals and requirements for programs and projects or supporting continuous improvement in its technology and processes.
3. Make the Switch from a Pure Business Professional into a Hybrid Technology Professional
There is a great chance that your current company has a digital transformation or technology modernization project happening. Make yourself available to this project as a volunteer or a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for your current role. If there are no current projects, you may have ideas on ways to make your current day to day processes more efficient and you should recommend special projects. By recommending a special project, this is a chance for you to volunteer your services to document step by step processes to be reviewed for automation. Now, there is a chance that you may work yourself out of a job, but that’s okay. The objective of business systems technology, at its core level, is to automate standard business processes and if your overall goal is to build your skills as a technology professional, then you’ll need to get comfortable with architecting business processes or solutions to automate. If you are successful with documenting your processes there may be an opportunity to take your new skill set to another area of the business to help them document as well. You may even find yourself ready for a job change within your company as a pure Business Analyst where you can help your company:
Increase Business Process Efficiency (since)
- You are keenly aware of how you were trained to do your job and the gaps
- You know where the pain parts are to cumbersome manual processes
- You know where to cut the slack around outdated activities and tasks
Other roles for business professionals to consider are those of a Systems Analyst, Solution Architect, Project Manager and Product Manager. I encourage you to research job descriptions for these roles within your current company to determine if you are ready to jump right into Technology or wait until you’ve done a few successful Business Analysis projects.
May the Force Be With You,
Zeanique works with public, non-profit, and private entities since 2000, where she has stood up large scale ERP implementations. She has been a Salesforce Consultant since 2010 and is based in Washington, DC. She’s also served as a Professor for small business marketing, value proposition and business plan development at Trinity Washington University