November 23, 2023
Internal vs. External Business Analysts: Which is Right for You?
At the onset of any technology project, you may need to decide whether to use your own internal Business Analyst (BA) or engage an external one from a tech partner like us here at Theta. This article dives into when and why you might want to use each approach.
Firstly, why do you need a BA?
We know that the top reasons projects fail are as follows:
- Lack of complete requirements
- Lack of user involvement
- Lack of resources
A BA is essentially like a detective. They complete a thorough investigation, gather clues (data) and piece together a factual story to solve a case (complete a successful project). With this detective work, you can ensure that requirements, user involvement and resources are handled carefully and adequately.
You may already have a BA on your team or an experienced Project Manager to get the ball rolling, but how do you know when to engage an external BA?
When to use an external BA
1. You don’t have the internal resources available
Making decisions and managing projects is a time-consuming event for all involved, so when available resources are low, it’s usually an excellent time to seek external help and lighten the load for your team. A BA can come into any situation and become an enabler for your team to deliver the outcomes and outputs you’re looking for. Rather than taking over site completely, it’s about leveraging your current resources and then identifying what else is needed to flesh out issues to get on the path to success.
2. You need specialist knowledge in a particular field
Some projects require knowledge in a particular field you might not have in your organisation. An external BA can bring their experience working within a specific technology or industry area.
For example, if you’re a retail organisation looking to automate your processes and streamline data, a BA specialising in data and insights will be invaluable. It can save your team the hassle of weighing up tough business decisions while simultaneously trying to understand the technology options, or, even worse, playing out a scenario that costs you money in the long run due to unforeseen risks.
3. You have a large project and a large budget
When it’s a large-scale project, you usually need to engage external BA support to ensure the rollout goes smoothly and within budget.
A BA will keep your project on track and often be your go-between for stakeholder engagements, with professional communications and concise reporting for a 360 understanding of your landscape (for large-scale projects, this is vital).
Other benefits of using an external BA
- Assistance with automation (a major consideration for 2024 moving forward in the age of AI).
- Prioritise tasks for optimal time/money allocation.
- Enhance your overall organisation performance with new technology adoption and recommendations.
- Find the best business solution pathway for your business objectives.
- Fine-tune your project’s scope, goals and capacity.
- Utilise your resources to improve projects as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.
- Cut back the likelihood of large-scale project issues with top-tier management.
When to use an internal BA
Although an external BA can be invaluable, sometimes using one doesn’t make sense. Here are some example scenarios below:
You’re a start-up company with a low-budget
BA’s aren’t always necessary for low-budget, ground-up circumstances. Start-ups are a great example of an instance where an external BA may not be high on the priority list.
However, once you’ve tried and tested a few methods on your own for a low cost, you might want to consider how a BA can further enhance your processes. You can treat it as the ‘cherry on top’ of your sundae – but not before you’ve established a solid foundation.
You already have internal resources
You might already have all the internal resources you need to successfully roll out business projects and solutions in-house and see no place for an external BA. Furthermore, if the project is deep rooted in organisational complexity, it often makes sense for an internal BA’s involvement. You know your business best!
However, when a larger-scale project does arise, it’s always worth considering if an external BA can help you ‘think outside of the box’ a bit more and not get held back by organisational norms.
You’ve factored in budget vs expense for a small project
If the project is small and low-budget, it might not be worth the added expense of an external BA. However, you should account for potential cost savings and efficiencies a BA can create. If you’re unsure, talk to us about whether an external BA is suitable.
Choosing an internal or external BA depends on your project type, budget and business circumstances. Internal analysts bring in-depth knowledge of the company culture and processes, making them ideal for deep-rooted projects. On the other hand, external analysts bring fresh perspectives, rich experiences, and highly specialised skills, making them valuable for objective insights and tackling complex scenarios. Consider the nature of your project, the need for internal familiarity versus external expertise, and the balance that aligns best with your business goals.
Got projects brewing for 2024? Let's make sure they run seamlessly. And if you're looking to sprinkle some extra magic on those projects with the expertise of our brilliant business analysts, we've got you covered. As well as including a BA to assist your technology project, our BA’s also consult on individual processes like streamlining a specific workflow, identifying bottlenecks, or improving efficiency in a particular area.
Let's turn your visions into reality!