3 Things You Must Know Before Hiring a Digital Business Analyst

Jessica Murphy

Is your business spending too much money on bloated digital products that your staff doesn’t understand without seeing any returns on investment?

Are you wasting time elaborating on technical tasks that you do not specialise in and feel your time could be better spent?

Or perhaps you feel that the effort of your development team is not being fully utilised and you need someone to bridge the needs of the business into a language they can understand?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then the chances are that you should consider hiring a qualified digital business analyst. But before you jump onto SEEK and hire the first digital business analyst you come across, there are a few things you should know.

1) What is a digital business analyst?

Before we get started, there is some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that we have established that your business is missing a key component and is therefore not maximising the resources at its disposal. The good news is, a digital business analyst can help you fill this void by creating the blueprints for your developers to help make your digital transformation easier.

Digital business analysts eat, sleep and breathe information. By reviewing your current state of operations, a digital business analyst acts as the middle man between the business and your engineering team and translate complex processes into simple implementation guides ready for implementation.

A digital business analyst is an individual who helps the company match their existing technological prowess and data resources with the company’s goals with the intention to help the company fulfill those goals.

Let’s understand this with an example. You want to release a new e-reader app geared specifically to children. To achieve this goal, your digital business analyst:

  • Understands your project and your company objectives – Create & release a digital reading app for children.
  • Collects your requirements/specifications for the app:
  • What type of books it will support.
  • What age groups will be using it.
  • How purchases will be made.
  • What payment methods will be supported.
  • How will app security be maintained?
  • What will the cost of the overall app be (paid/freemium)?
  • What UX design should be adopted, and so on.
  • Collects details about the budget you have set for the project - say, $25,000.
  • Explains your specifications to the developers carefully & provides a detailed list of:

    • Tasks to be done
    • Problem areas
    • Potential challenges
    • Monitors the progress of your project, acting as a liaison between you and the developers.

2) When should I hire a digital business analyst?

You are falling behind requirements preparation, or if your business is missing a link between strategy and the need to help communicate complex technical concepts into simple requirements for your developers to build, then it’s time to hire a digital business analyst.

Documenting detailed requirements takes time and often, and if not done right will lead to cost blowouts for the business. Having a dedicated business analyst will help you front-load your backlog and ensure you’re developers and not on idle.

Developers spending more time in meetings

Developers need a continuous time period to ramp up and output code. That’s why constant meetings create a negative effect on your developer’s productivity. They need half an hour to navigate through code before they can start being productive, too much context switching can affect overall productivity. Ensuring that requirements are prepared, elaborated and articulated prior to code start requires a dedicated digital business analyst to navigate between the business, product owner and a variety of other stakeholders to help keep your developers in ‘the zone’.

You’re undergoing a digital transformation

When you think you have a sound idea and a vision in place but you’re not sure quite how to get from A to B, a digital business analyst may well be your best friend. Even if you feel that there is a sizeable disparity between your project’s end goal and the complexity in your digital product, a digital business analyst must be in tune with data, how data converts and translate requirements with a clear understanding of downstream impacts and dependencies across your ecosystem.

Digital business analysts are innovators and critical thinkers that constantly strive to enhance business procedures. They increase efficiency and challenge business processes, squeezing every last drop of energy and brainpower out of specialist teams to maximise overall output.

3) Hiring a digital business analyst

Like with all job roles, hiring the wrong digital business analyst can become a pricey mistake and one that must be avoided at all costs.

Assuming you have undergone your due diligence on your final candidates, it is key to establish that you share the same vision. Perhaps you’re looking for someone who can come in and lead a team, but if the candidate you’re interviewing (despite having a proven impressive track record) doesn’t seem up to it, it’s a no go.

It is key that you can see evidence of expert communication skills too, not just on paper. Sure, gathering and assessing data is their bread and butter (more on that shortly), but can they present that information to the average Joe in a way that is easy to understand and evaluate effectively? Can they put in place the optimal processes that can extract the best results efficiently? Do they have a proven track record of managing and consulting with stakeholders? And can they articulate user stories and requirements that can add value to your digital product?

These are all important things you should be digging for when looking to hire a digital business analyst. Don’t get bamboozled by someone who seems to know what they are talking about when in reality they are just firing tech jargon at you.

Understanding of the specific job requirements through technical testing

It is of paramount importance that you find out immediately whether or not the candidate will be a good fit for your business. Practical tests and technical interviews will help you evaluate the candidate and find out if they are truly well-versed in the day-to-day job requirements. Play out a common scenario to exercise their critical thinking and ability to draw out information.

Evaluate candidates’ experience handling tricky challenges during projects

As well as basic technical skills, your digital business analyst must also be able to manage the project from start to finish which means their ability to handle complex project challenges must be evident. Ask about previous obstacles they have encountered, managed & overcome and give them a problem you are currently struggling with and see if their ideas align with your vision and values.

Judge candidates’ soft skills

A digital business analyst acts as the glue that holds businesses together during digital transformation. They may interact with the executives, the research and product design team, developers, the marketing team, the finance team, and in the case of small companies, with investors too. The candidate must demonstrate an ability to navigate through a variety of personalities and successfully bring everyone along the journey. So, it is essential that you test your candidates’ communication skills are second to none.

Can you imagine hiring a digital business analyst who mumbles, too reserved to speak their mind or sends emails so short it requires thirty back-and-forths just to confirm a requirement? Would you trust them to build out your next digital product?

Ensure you are satisfied that they have proven their technical ability and their communication skills are exceptional and that they can articulate themselves in a way that is easy to understand and digest.

What next?

One more final point worth touching upon is finding out whether or not the candidate is a good match for your company. Do they share the same values, will they fit in with your current staff and are their ambitions in line with what you can provide? A few great questions to ask are:

  • What was the latest social media post you published/shared?
  • If you could interview one person of interest, who would you pick and why?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

To summarise, a digital business analyst acts as a vital component of any successful, forward thinking business in 2021. And if you are reading this and thinking, ‘No that doesn’t apply to me,’ or ‘I don’t think that data is really that useful,’ then prepare to be left behind, because digital business analysts are growing in value and importance, and the decision not to hire one could be the difference between failure and success.

Luckily for you, we have made the process of hiring a digital business analyst a lot less daunting, here is a template of questions to ask and topics to cover.