An investigation into the reasons for the low uptake of certification for business analysts in South Africa

Maritz, Eugene (2015-04)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Although business analysis has been around for a number of years, it is still seen as an emerging field. There are various efforts underway to formalise the business analysis practice. For example, the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®) is widely accepted as setting the standards for the business analysis practice as well as raising the profile of the role. The IIBA first published their Business Analysis Body of Knowledge guide (BABOK®) in 2006 and extensively revised it in 2009. The IIBA offer two certifications based on this guide. Besides the IIBA certifications, there are also other business analysis and requirements engineering certifications available to South Africans. However, these are not all that well known locally and collectively the number of certified business analysts is very low. The success rate of software projects to date has been relatively poor to say the least. Business analysis is a critical component to the success of software development. One would expect that business analysts would welcome the opportunity to be certified in their profession and contribute to increasing the overall project success rate. However, in South Africa the low number of IIBA certified business analysts suggests otherwise. There also appears to be very little pressure or even encouragement from employers of business analysts to pursue certification. Besides improving software project success, there is growing opinion and literature asserting the view that business analysts will be playing an ever-increasing strategic role from what should be a professional function. To enable this strategic role, business analysts are required to have the necessary experience, skill and ideally certification. This research report sought to uncover the reasons behind so few business analysts taking up certification. Over and above the reasons for the low uptake, this research report also aimed to assess the business analyst’s and the employer’s attitude towards certification and the business analysis profession. Collectively this led to a high-level assessment of the maturity of business analysis from a practitioner’s point of view. As part of this research report, a survey was conducted amongst practicing business analysts across industries within South Africa. Additional research was undertaken with a select number of senior leaders and executives in business to understand the organisational view of business analysis certification.

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