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  • Writer's pictureSaurav Bakshi

Business Analysis 2.0 in Action - Gen AI


Embrace Generative AI technology- the real mantra for a new age business analyst!


In an era defined by rapid technological advancement and digital transformation, the role of the business analyst has evolved into a critical cornerstone of organizational success. Now more than ever, embracing technology stands as the quintessential mantra for the modern business analyst. In navigating the complexities of today’s business landscape, proficiency in leveraging technological tools and data-driven insights is not merely advantageous, but essential. 

The convergence of innovative technologies and traditional business practices presents unprecedented opportunities for those equipped to harness their potential. As such, the contemporary business analyst must possess a multifaceted skill set, blending analytical prowess with a keen understanding of emerging technologies to drive informed decision-making and strategic initiatives. 


This paradigm shift underscores the imperative for business analysts to adapt, innovate, and embrace technology as the cornerstone of their approach in shaping the future of business.

Agile or waterfall — all of these delivery environments command the importance of a well written requirement, a diligent build process and well governed and well-managed change. Hence the role of a business analyst become ever important in this whole situation.

We are in a very important times currently wherein we are at the cusp of entire humanity migrating from industrial capabilities in to creative wonders. The things that required a lot of manual and repetitive tasks will have an option for automation. More so with the generative AI in the mix, even documentation, presentation and dissemination of information can also be automated with a great effect. 


Time and again, the experts have been mentioning that this will free up the times for creative people. It is the right time to start thinking and exploring such possibilities for business analysts who have been the voice of business change in the technology world.

So what are the key areas that a business analyst should focus on to be successful in the new era.


Broadly there are following 4 stages of requirement process that a typical business analyst participates in their work.



Lets recap our understanding each of these phases first:


Inception




Elicitation



Elaboration



Validation




Very much similar to a Productivity management scenario, all the phases in Business analysis can leverage on the available AI tools. I am listing down some of the ideas that can trigger your exploration process.



Using AI for better stakeholder management


Stakeholder Identification, classification and management stands out as an important step for the entire project team. A baseline of Stakeholder Map done correctly and done upfront takes a long way in terms of smoother operations of the Project. One of the project that I was leading the team of cross-geography business analysts team had this challenge as I had stakeholders in 3 different countries and due to the scope of program work, we had to deal with 200+ internal stakeholders. I still remember how much of effort, I had to spend on just getting a visual map of Stakeholders, Business Units and recording other properties essential for the program. It was a handy piece of information for all the project managers, change managers, implementation leads and my business analyst team members.


Fast forward 10 years, with the technologies at our disposal, I would have certain done things differently.

The article about AI in project mangement provides a rationale to what I have just mentioned above.


Stakeholder management in the age of AI can be greatly evolved via the following options and I am only considering No Code AI versions:


1. Build Chatbots using [Sprinklr](https://www.sprinklr.com), [Juji](https://juji.io/no-code-ai-chatbot-builder/), and the blog at [Zapier](https://zapier.com/blog/best-chatbot-builders/) lists many more. The advantages chatbots have is that they act as a second brain for you and you are never overwhelmed with the entire detail at the time of need. Setup once and let the bot help you out with your questions.

2. Generate Visual Diagrams and pictures using tools like Sketchwow and [PopAi](https://www.popai.pro/) to name just a few.



Creating Boilerplate content for prompting discussions

Typically researching, interviewing, discussion and leveraging expert views can be your go to tool for requirement elicitation. Time and again I have observed that these still require a great deal of preparation on your behalf to come up the right prompts for your stakeholders steer them to get the real requirements. While the other available techniques depending on the requirements that a business analyst have been leveraging based upon the type of requirement you are dealing with.


In the current times Generative AI have opened up new possibilities:

1. Generating Discussion pointers -

For me this is the biggest game changer, while you don’t have to follow the outputs word by word. The boiler plate is ready for you work through and it will save heaps of time to come up with your own version of it. 

Lets look at a workflow on a set of requirement that you are working on as a Business Analyst:


Example - Researching on a requirement for a new Credit Risk Management system


Step 1 - Generating prompt questions


In the below example, I prompted ChatGPT to provide a set of boilerplate questions for me to ask my stakeholders. This may or may not become your final output, but it is a decent start and you can as a domain expert build upon it and use it as personal note during your discussions.



Step 2 - Generating a Visual prompt for the stakeholders


Take the above output to the next level and generate a visual prompt for your stakeholder a preparation for your workshop. Again use AI to do the hardwork for you.


Now you have a few options here,


A mind map




Or a Simple Presentation




Step 3 - Boilerplate User Stories


Below is the example, I generated with a very nifty prompt and using the Chain of Thought method to create some user stories.




Step 4 - Boilerplate Acceptance Criteria


Furthermore, chatGPT generated the very relevant Acceptance Criteria for me.




Please note I have spent less than 10 minutes generating the above. Of course your work may require more effort, diligence and time. But I am sure, you get the point I am making her.


The story doesn’t end here, there are a wealth of tools available already for generating such contents using Text to Text, Text to Image and even Text to Video if you have a scenario that demands it.

It is a proven technique that visuals have a distinctive effect on the thinking process. Hence the techniques that involve visual invoke a better response during brainstorming. 


In past as a business analyst you could have spent hours to come up with a diagram or view that will help you achieve that. But now tools like Lucidchart, Sketchwow and EdrawSoft have beta versions of their software in place that can help you generate and re-generate images during the discussion using different prompts according to your requirements. Not only you can create images that align to your requirement as pre-meeting preparation but if required you can jointly work with your stakeholder to generates views that makes sense to all of your team or whoever needs to understand them as part of requirement communication process.


As a business analyst, the key to all elicitation activities are that:

- You are helping your business owners or key project stakeholders arrive at the right requirements for the change.

- You are creating views and content (textual, model-based and diagrammatic views) that will help the builders understand what it is all about.


The new technologies can aide all this process. All it takes is a open-minded experimentation on your part.

Beyond all the above ideas, Microsoft office suite have include a plethora of AI tools for personal productivity, notifications and events based assistance. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

An open mind and curiosity to experiment is all that is required.


Before closing off, a few cautionary things to remember when it comes to these Artificial intelligence tools.

  1. AI doesn't replace what you do as a professional, it aides and help your produce better outcomes.

  2. AI tools are still evolving, so it is essential that the content generated should be proof-read for your purpose as it can make mistakes. Treat AI tools as newbie junior team member and it can make mistakes, and hence you might have to tweak and fix things here and there.

  3. Always adhere to your organization policies before sharing any data on the AI platforms or usage of any AI platforms. Nothing can be devastating to your organization if there are breaches of any form.

  4. While a lot of tools will provide a free exploration version, some won't allow you to use it for commercial purpose. This is probable an important aspect to be aware of. Having said, your organization may provide the commercial licenses if you are able to justify the value.

  5. While you shouldn't be afraid of experimentation, use the resources wisely. At the end of the day you have to understand, everything that you do should bring positive impact to the organization or task you are working on and your primary responsibility is produce a cost and time effective work product.


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