Business analyst skills in the age of AI – ITWeb

In today’s rapidly evolving workplace, there are concerns that in-demand skills are evolving more rapidly than people can keep pace with. However, some skills are fundamental and will remain the same, despite the future of work being shaped by the rise of new technologies, such as those around artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and automation. While these innovations promise efficiency and workforce optimisation, they also usher in a pressing question: what skills remain uniquely human – and therefore timeless – in a world dominated by technology?
To explore this question and delve into the future role of ‘human’ skills, we sat down with Joe Newbert, host of the podcast series: "The Future Business Analyst" and a leading voice in modern business analysis. With a focus on problem-solving and other skills that fall under the ambit of business analysis, Newbert sheds light on the relevance of human-centric skills in the evolving workplace landscape. He also talks about business analyst skills and strategies for personal and organisational growth.
As AI takes over routine and repetitive tasks, such as collecting and organising data, the enduring value of human skills becomes increasingly apparent. Newbert emphasises that while technology can optimise processes and increase productivity, it lacks the innate creativity and empathy that define human interactions. He believes that capabilities such as curiosity, problem-solving and communication are among the timeless skills that will remain indispensable in the future workplace.
He points out that a business analyst’s role is often misunderstood, confined to a stereotypical role of defining the business’s IT system requirements. “Instead, it is a thinking role that ties directly back into business strategy. Also, business analysts don’t have sole ownership of business analysis. This is a skillset that goes beyond a job title or role; it's a mindset that’s applicable across various roles and industries. It enables the individual to apply the right things at the right time in the right way, and to be flexible and nimble in response to a world in which customer expectations and technology are shifting almost daily.”
In today’s workplace, proactive skills development is essential for both individuals and organisations. Newbert advocates for a strategy of continuous learning and acquisition of new skills, emphasising the importance of staying grounded and adaptable. “The acquisition and maintenance of business analysis skills extend beyond on-the-job training; the onus is on the individual to take responsibility for ensuring that they stay current and keep expanding their knowledge and skills.
“Whether it's through formal training or mentorship, investing in human skills is crucial for personal and organisational resilience.
“The fundamental human qualities combined with the ability to solve problems serve as the bedrock of success in any era. Empathy is probably one of the most important skills that we’re going to need in the future, to ensure that people are considered and AI is used responsibly. While technology may automate mundane tasks, it cannot replicate the depth of human connection and intuition.”
He stresses the importance of the ability to build rapport and understand individual perspectives.
He emphasises that business analysis skills are not confined to any one job, but extend across the business, empowering everyone to navigate complexity and seize opportunities in their role.
“As we chart a course into the unknown, let us embrace the foundational human skills that have and will continue to transcend technology. Let us cultivate a mindset of adaptability, curiosity and empathy, ensuring that we remain relevant in the face of change.”
For more insights on future-proofing your skills and navigating the evolving landscape of work, subscribe to Business Change Academy’s monthly newsletter. “Join us as we explore the intersection of human ingenuity and technological innovation, equipping you with the tools and knowledge to thrive in the future workplace.”
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