Observations of a Non-BA

This year I was lucky enough to attend my fourth Business Analysis Summit Southern Africa, as FTIs Brand Manager. As a rookie to the world of Business Analysis in 2017, my first conference at the Lord Charles in Somerset West was quite overwhelming. I did not yet understand that the Business Analysis profession is a universe that includes space, matter, and energy. I had no idea that I was about to become a Business Analyst by proxy. 

Suffice to say that the first conference was a bit of a blur as I set up our stand, met with IIBA Presidents past and present, and interacted with global thought leaders, namely the who’s who of Business Analysis locally and internationally. I was fortunate enough to literally “shadow” Alex Noel and Mike Eccles for three days and learn about Business Analysis through instant immersion therapy. 

Six years down the line and four Summits later, let me describe my own learning journey as a non-BA and the lessons I’ve learned. Firstly, the reason I say Business Analysis is a universe is that by definition, the universe “is everything.” My experience of working with Business Analysts is that Business Analysis is indeed “everything” to them. I have been exposed to many different industries over my career but I’ve yet to meet a more energetic and dedicated group of professionals. According to NASA “though the universe may seem like a strange place, it is not a distant one.” I have been welcomed into their universe, but it is not a distant place. 

Every BA knows that Business Analysis is the foundation of every organisation and business in the modern world. By their very own definition, the IIBA and the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK®) describe the work as the “practice of enabling change in an organisational context, by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders.” Because BAs have to be extremely inquisitive, creative, adaptable, focused, analytical, and cognitively astute, as well as collaborative, confident, and diplomatic, we have much to learn from them. These abilities stand any person, in any industry, and in any role in good stead to become top performers in what they do. Apart from all these lessons, from my BA colleagues I have learnt to question, to seek solutions and to be open-minded. 

The BA Summit 2023 was a resounding success on so many levels. The attendance numbers were back to pre-Covid days and delegates were so enthusiastic to meet face-to-face and connect with their peers. We do suspect that hosting an event in the beautiful mother city of Cape Town was a big draw card. The IIBA SA chapter did a stellar job in organising and hosting the conference. From the warm welcome by Tshepo Matjila (President: IIBA South Africa Chapter) and Delvin Fletcher (President and CEO of the IIBA), to the celebratory “HaLaLas” of Lesego Siti (Board member of IIBA SA) the scene was set for a rich and diverse few days of inspiration through presentations, workshops, roundtable discussions and interacting with real people. 

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Apart from the expected highlights of exceptional knowledge sharing and discussions, the BA Summit was a wonderful atmosphere to be part of. It was warm and inviting and offered the space for individuals to be themselves. This year was auspicious as the IIBA global celebrated its 20th anniversary, the IIBA South Africa its 15th and FTI its 34th birthday. Given that FTI was founded by Steve Erlank, as was the IIBA SA Chapter, we could not have been prouder when the local chapter announced a new annual award – the Steve Erlank Award. The award honours the Business Analyst who has contributed significantly to the BA profession and the local chapter over the past year, ensuring the community remains pioneering, encouraging, and relevant.

Day two, Global Business Analysis Day, brought the exciting news that the IIBA SA had won the IIBA category “Chapter of the Year” Award from a global pool of 120 contenders in over 40 countries.  The award programme celebrates the achievements of the Chapter and acknowledges leaders and innovators within their regional Business Analysis communities, as well as the volunteers that selflessly serve them. To ensure impartiality the programme is administered by the IIBA Global Chapter Council. If organising the Summit Southern Africa is any indication of excellence, it comes as no surprise that IIBA SA won this prestigious award.  

In the spirit of surprises, in a lucky draw at the cocktail party, Cameron-Grant Royine won full tuition fees for the FTI Advanced Programme in Business Analysis (AdBA). It could not have gone to a more deserving winner. Cameron was both surprised and jubilant and plans on starting the IIBA and SETA endorsed qualification in January 2024. 

So, as I reflect on another year and the many benefits of having Business Analysts as my own colleagues and mentors, I’d like to thank the community for making their universe a hospitable place for all. 

~ Moira Bender

To become a qualified Business Analyst and to join the community, start with an FTI programme