Business analysis & architecture consultant | Professor, speaker, coach | Why Change Consulting founder
With publishing her book “Business Analyst: a Profession and a Mindset”, Yulia became a tireless advocate of the #ba_mindset concept, speaking and writing for the professional community and creating online courses for the Why Change Academy. Yulia helps organizations mature their business analysis and architecture functions and create a functional methodology for planning and executing enterprise changes. She also mentors junior analysts and teaches in the Business Insights and Analytics program at the Humber College in Toronto. Her dual interest in business analysis and data disciplines allows her to help business analysts become more data-savvy, and data and business intelligence analysts – to use business analysis techniques for more successful BI outcomes.
What attracted you to business analysis, and why did you choose to pursue this career?
My background is in computer science, but early in my career I was also involved in various business roles – marketing, sales, customer service, and operations. I modified each job using my technical skills by creating process flows, developing custom reports, optimizing the work by using data and insights. I found myself fascinated with the solutions that technology can provide to business but writing software code and testing could not give me what I was looking for. I wanted to work with people, to discover and investigate, to communicate, present, persuade, and to influence the solutions. That’s how I discovered a career path that turned out to be both rewarding and challenging: business analysis.
What has been your greatest career accomplishment so far, and why has it been important to your career?
In 2019, I published a book: Business Analyst: a Profession and a Mindset. This book helped me share my conviction that a business analyst’s mindset is the key ingredient of their success. Understanding business problems and asking the right questions is just as important as understanding people and their motivations. Since the book’s publication, I’ve been sharing and promoting the concept of the #ba_mindset in the professional community.
Publishing this book also motivated me to turn my career to teaching and coaching. Today, I create online courses on business analysis, conduct webinars, speak at conferences, coach business analysts, and help organizations foster mature business analysis and architecture functions. I have also developed a new Introduction to Analytics course for Humber College in Toronto and have been teaching it since 2020.
What are the two or three biggest challenges you face as a business analysis and architecture professional and how can we address them?
When working with my clients, I see similar challenges in many organizations.
One is the lack of alignment of the work done on separate projects with the overall architecture, sometimes causing duplication of functionality in several siloed applications, systems that become challenging to integrate, and even conflicting features that create reputational risks for the company.
To resolve this challenge, organizations should foster a closer collaboration of business analysts across the organization through BA Centers of Excellence and a working relationship with the enterprise architecture teams.
Another challenge is the insufficient involvement of business analysts in data management and data governance activities. Most business problems have a data aspect, and the lack of understanding of data sources, flows, and the need to govern the data at the enterprise level may result in individual projects adding to the data chaos. One of my goals for the next few years is to help educate business analysis community about data management practices and how to incorporate them into business analysis process.
How do you see the business analyst role changing in the next 2 – 3 years?
I expect more senior business analysts to take on strategic analysis responsibilities and working closer with enterprise, business, and data architects. More business analysts will be learning data analysis and business intelligence fundamentals as a necessary knowledge domain for their success. As organizations seek to rely more on data-driven decisions and embedded analytics, business analysts need to be ready to take on this challenge.
Do you have any planned next steps for your career?
I am planning to be more active in supporting industry events and conferences in both business analysis and data management domains, as well as continue developing the online course offerings of the Why Change Academy. I like teaching and training, so my plan is to continue pursuing these activities.
What is the single best piece of advice you have received in your career so far? Why has it been so important to you?
Every organizational change needs a true business champion – someone who is really motivated to see the change succeed and is willing to support it through tough times. I have certainly experienced this firsthand. When a project I was helping initiate hit a wall of resistance from one of the departments in an organization, I presented our team’s innovative idea and asked for someone willing to champion the implementation of this idea. The executive that stepped up to support our team knew about the resistance that this project would have to deal with and accepted the challenge. Our idea was implemented with huge success, and the support and backing of our champion played a major role in it.
Can you share something about yourself as a person that people wouldn’t know about you?
I love drawing. When I was a student, I liked to make silly drawings and cartoons to help me stay focused during boring lectures. Now I’m trying to pick it up again, and I believe cartoons can help reach a wider audience than written posts and articles.
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