In the next few years I think we are going to see more and more Business Analysts move into executive level positions in both business and IT organizations. Many individuals holding these positions currently have strong business analysis backgrounds (whether or not they ever had that job title). The progression of a Business Analyst into executive management is very logical and smart from a CEO’s perspective. BAs understand the core business and understand how to solve business problems. We are very good at looking at business areas from a strategic perspective and recommending forward thinking solutions. Because we understand what technology can do, we can see possibilities for future growth in our organizations and can see a path to get there.
My confidence in our ability to move up the ranks was reinforced when I was reviewing the results of a new survey of CIOs. The survey was conducted by Ziff Davis CIO Insight magazine entitled The Role of the CIO. http://www.cioinsight.com/ One of the questions was Top IT Exec’s Most Important Personal Attributes. The top answers were leadership ability (50%), strategic thinking (39.9%), business understanding (39.5%), and communication skills (31.6%).
While most of the CIOs prior responsibilities were IT management (82.3%), many have consulting backgrounds (51.2%) and business management (38.1%). When asked what prior tasks/experiences were most helpful in their current positions they consistently listed work like strategic planning, negotiation, consulting experience, along with financial experience.
Technical work was further down the list indicating that even though CIOs are responsible for the technology group, they report that their current most important responsibilities are working with other executives on contributing to their company’s strategic direction. So if you are interested in moving up the corporate ladder, becoming an excellent BA is a great step.