Many organizations in the last year moved to Agile and eliminated the business analyst role. With the migration to the cloud the role of the business analyst is still being questioned. If you want to know what a business analyst can offer in this fast changing IT world as you migrate to the cloud; here are the answers.
You start a small cake shop with a few specialty cupcakes. As your client base grows, you open shops in different locations; you engage working partners; you upgrade your inventory and start selling birthday cakes, wedding cakes, party decorations and even party favors (might as well). You grow and along with you - your applications and data. At this point you have a design that works for you but probably will not be categorized by an industry expert as "well-architected". Before you know it, you are ready to now move everything to the cloud - the biggest question is do you want to lift-and-shift this structure that has grown organically over a period of time or should you re-architect. A good business analyst can work with other stakeholders (system designers, SME’s , architects, business owners) to identify the different factors such as application stability, organizational policies and processes, performance factors, cloud native features, business needs etc and help evaluate the pros and cons of either of the approaches. He/she will be able to use one or a combination of the below listed techniques (in addition to others) in order to provide you with an idealistic view:
2. Transition Requirements
The BABOK describes the transition requirements as - "the capabilities that the solution must have and the conditions the solution must meet to facilitate transition from the current state to the future state, but which are not needed once the change is complete." The transition requirement is a frequently overlooked requirement as it is most often seen as wastage. They are
3. Non-functional requirements
Hosting applications in the cloud adds a different layer of complexity. It is important to understand that the applications are not hosted by you at your home ground and that the "ilities" like reliability, usability, interoperability etc. could make or break the success of your migration project. Defining the non-functional requirements and seeking the help of your cloud service provider to continuously monitor them at a much affordable cost are some the benefits that the cloud migration brings to your table. As more and more nonfunctional requirements are being directly controlled by the service provider one would think that there is little in the scope of work for the internal teams. But there are still a lot of factors that organizations will need to control/provide internally. For example if you are a bank; security would probably be one of the biggest things in your mind; a social media company would look at availability as a key factor and a registration website would look for usability or performance. Your BA can help drill into each of these and draft specific needs for them across the different cloud infrastructure (on-prim, public, private, hybrid). A good business analyst will use one or a combination of the below listed BA techniques (in addition to others) in order to gather the NFR's
The move to the cloud as easy as it is portrayed is one that requires a substantial amount of work. How did you want to host your application? Will it be a public cloud or private? How are your security protocols going to be established? Between your IT, security, infrastructure and architects; the business teams are often neglected. During backlog reviews and prioritization meetings, your business stakeholders are constantly getting the message that the IT teams are “migrating” the applications to the cloud and hence the current requirements will need to wait. This is probably one of the biggest mistakes organizations do. The more your stakeholders understand the why and the benefits, the more they will be a valuable partner to this effort. It is hence very important to create a communication plan that clearly identifies:
5. Solution Evaluation
Evaluation is another critical element that does not get the right visibility in organizations. Having the right evaluation will not only ensure that you are engaging your stakeholders and getting constant feedback, but will also ensure that you are gathering the right metrics and focusing on setting yourself up for success in the oncoming migrations. Solution evaluation can be performed at various stages; some of which are listed below:
Credit: Kavitha Narayanan, CBAP
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