Agree/Disagree? Digital Mind Essential for Business Analysts

Ronald G.  Ross
Ronald G. Ross Co-Founder & Principal, Business Rule Solutions, LLC , Executive Editor, Business Rules Journal , and Co-Chair, Building Business Capability (BBC) Read Author Bio       || Read All Articles by Ronald G. Ross

Let's put you on the hot spot.  You are forced to agree or disagree with the following statement and defend your answer.

The most valuable asset of a business analyst is a digital mind.

What would you say?

Here's how I answer:  I agree. 

My reasoning:  I almost certainly don't agree with the statement in the way you think I might.  It's not the business analyst who needs a digital mind.  It's our machines that need the digital minds.

As we increasingly disintermediate customers and company workers, we will no longer have our workers in the loop to convey and apply operational business knowledge at the point of interaction to make things right.  Machines will have to do that work.  And those machines must be equipped with the knowledge to do so.

The key to launching us successfully into the digital age is setting up deep knowledge reservoirs in the company.  Obviously, they will be digital.

The first and most basic step toward treating knowledge as a first-class citizen is true business rules.  Business rules represent explicit operational knowledge.  By the way, because of the need for compliance and traceability, business rules (think obligations) will never go away.

There are, of course, other ways in which knowledge can be applied to processes, ones where traceability and compliance aren't so important — for example, machine learning and neural nets.  Those technologies can also be used to build digital minds for your organization.

As a professional, how do you future-proof yourself?  The secret is to make yourself indispensable, both to the business and to machines in the business with digital minds.

Given that insight, what is the most valuable asset of the business analyst in the long term?  It's not agile; it's not empowerment; it's not even critical thinking.  It's the ability to communicate deeply and creatively using concise terminology about the problem space.  If you're still speaking in codes and data fields — in ITSpeak — I'm afraid you're not on the critical path.

For further information, please visit BRSolutions.com     

# # #

Standard citation for this article:


citations icon
Ronald G. Ross , "Agree/Disagree? Digital Mind Essential for Business Analysts" Business Rules Journal Vol. 18, No. 11, (Nov. 2017)
URL: http://www.brcommunity.com/a2017/b928.html

About our Contributor:


Ronald  G. Ross
Ronald G. Ross Co-Founder & Principal, Business Rule Solutions, LLC , Executive Editor, Business Rules Journal , and Co-Chair, Building Business Capability (BBC)

Ronald G. Ross is Principal and Co-Founder of Business Rule Solutions, LLC, where he actively develops and applies the IPSpeak methodology including RuleSpeak®, DecisionSpeak and TableSpeak.

Ron is recognized internationally as the "father of business rules." He is the author of ten professional books including the groundbreaking first book on business rules The Business Rule Book in 1994. His newest are:


Ron serves as Executive Editor of BRCommunity.com and its flagship publication, Business Rules Journal. He is a sought-after speaker at conferences world-wide. More than 50,000 people have heard him speak; many more have attended his seminars and read his books.

Ron has served as Chair of the annual International Business Rules & Decisions Forum conference since 1997., now part of the Building Business Capability (BBC) conference where he serves as Co-Chair. He was a charter member of the Business Rules Group (BRG) in the 1980s, and an editor of its Business Motivation Model (BMM) standard and the Business Rules Manifesto. He is active in OMG standards development, with core involvement in SBVR.

Ron holds a BA from Rice University and an MS in information science from Illinois Institute of Technology. Find Ron's blog on http://www.brsolutions.com/category/blog/. For more information about Ron visit www.RonRoss.info. Tweets: @Ronald_G_Ross

Read All Articles by Ronald G. Ross

Online Interactive Training Series

In response to a great many requests, Business Rule Solutions now offers at-a-distance learning options. No travel, no backlogs, no hassles. Same great instructors, but with schedules, content and pricing designed to meet the special needs of busy professionals.