Are we heading towards a world where AI and ML can completely replace the human brain? Well, in my opinion, it will be more of a collaborative job. With the rising of big data and analytics, the world is also going through many challenges. In light of this, Business Analysts are coming upfront to leverage advanced technologies along with their business knowledge to solve business issues.
The primary role of a business analyst is to understand high-level requirements, define scope, and then elicit requirements that are difficult for robots to sum up. Even if a robot is designed to communicate and gather requirements in the future, empathizing with human beings is not happening soon.
AI cannot predict future uncertain events; therefore, it will be hard to assume whether unrelated events will disrupt the market or not. Therefore AI may be a tool that Business Analysts use, but it would be challenging for AIs to understand unpredictable human behaviour.
What is AI doing? To stimulate human-like tasks, AI is heavily dependent on machine-based learning driven by inputs. You need human intervention to feed the data. Machine learning is supposed to build analytical models and allow the software to predict outcomes, but this can be possible only when the quality of the data is high.
Before we dive into the conclusion, we must look into the parameters where a Business Analyst plays an upper hand over AI:
An experienced BA can interpret direction. They fully understand what and, more importantly, why you are being asked to do something. They are likely to ask questions repeatedly until they have clarity.
Whereas in the case of AI, it is tricky, but if we are generous and assume that the objectives have already been agreed upon and are clearly articulated. Then yes, AI could do this.
A good BA is a good communicator who avoids jargon and acronym when a non-technical stakeholder places a query. They know how to ask insightful questions to retrieve the information and make their point clearly and unambiguously.
In the case of AI/ML, we have Alexa, Siri, and more; I believe we are still a long way from AI having effective verbal communication skills who can pick up the information conveyed beyond the words spoken and disseminate the non-word information.
Although using email provides a valuable audit trail, sometimes it is not enough to communicate with stakeholders via email. Often BA discovers more about the project from a face to face meeting where people tend to be more open about discussing situations.
In this present scenario, AI can handle too much human interaction. That is assuming that people, including relatively senior stakeholders, would be happy for effectively Alexa / a speaker to run a meeting.
Listening skill is vital for absorbing information. A business analyst doesn’t listen to what’s being said but can understand the context of what’s being said – the motivation behind it, the circumstances behind what’s being said, and even what’s not being said.
Unlikely, AI is still not there to understand all kinds of communication and decode the hidden angle of it. It is yet to develop full-scale cognitive abilities.
An excellent way to extract more clarity on unclear information is by presenting presentations. BA makes sure it matches the objectives of the meeting. There is no point in presenting information about implementation methods if the meeting is being held to discuss requirements gathering.
Assuming a conference call with a ‘shared screen’ type setup, then I believe that AI could do this.
BA are amazing in their time management and multi-tasking skill. They ensure that the project doesn’t fall behind schedule.
Also, AI is good in their time management Skill.
BA delivers a range of different types of documents, thus ensuring a clear, concise document appropriate for the stakeholder.
AI could produce different documents, but there will be gaps in writing technique, presentation and skills.
An experience BA will analyze how much management each stakeholder needs and how BA should individually manage. Do they need face to face meetings and detailed information, or are they content with high-level reports? Are they supportive of your project? BA makes sure they know these answers and manage stakeholders efficiently.
It is unfortunate that AI is yet to manage stakeholders like humans.
As the saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words. Techniques such as process modelling are effective tools to convey large amounts of information without relying on text. BA gets a visual representation and gets an overview of the problems and the gaps to work on the solutions.
Part of this is gathering and understanding the information in the first place, but I’ll be kind and assume that is already understood and focus on this being producing the model. AI could do this.
AI could only make 4 or 5 out of the 9 skills mentioned above; based on that, I believe Business Analysts and AI need to co-exist to transform the business. Human intervention will be in the system for a better machine learning experience based on the quality data to improve the decisions by AI. Therefore, AI isn’t a threat to the role of Business Analysts but a boon to them to leverage and enhance decision-making capabilities.
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