Project Management and Business Analysis have come of age having gone through different stages of evolutional development as professional disciplines. Although Project Management has been around for quite sometimes even preceding the Industrial Revolution in Europe, both disciplines have undergone excellent transformational growth with advancement in computer technology and the advent of internet few decades ago. Project Management and its much more recent ally-Business Analysis are no longer disciplines restricted to the construction and physical infrastructure development alone. No thanks to the appearance of internet here!
The internet has revolutionised the ways organisations operate, deliver services and even market their products to consumers. The first casualty to this, is paper operations which have been reduced by some seventy five percent. Many organisations have invested in digital operations beginning with having robust online presence through their client facing corporate websites. Initially, when the web technology appears in our climes, having a website was a thing of prestige but now with the entrenchments of internet culture and utilisation, it is almost now a ‘taboo’ for any organisation not to have one. This is the new realities of the business world! The website now serves as an avenue to sell products and services to consumers with a potential for wider reach. It is also the first and the most accessible major point of contacts between the clients and the business organisations. Through the websites, organisations announce new products and services and also present information about the companies’ histories, performances, culture as well as values. Due to this imperativeness of having a corporate websites for so many companies in different industries, it remains one of the popular digital projects where professionals in the project management and business analysis worlds work.
The ways organisations generate, capture and manage information have also changed significantly. Gone are the days, when there are paper files, reports and information kept in filing cabinets. These were days when organisations used to print circulars, instructions to paste on large notice boards for all employees to see. The human resources, marketing processes, documents, and other operational guides were all made and kept on papers. But times have now changed! Technology is solely responsible for this. Information is now generated, circulated and managed electronically. Notice boards and large file cabinets have given ways for electronic means of information disseminations as well as cloud storage. Human resources, procurement, logistic and stock management processes, procedures and guides are now carried out with the use of specialised software produced by the likes of Oracles, IBM, and Microsoft and so on. Highly manual customer service processes have now given ways for multi-channel and robust contact centre solutions delivered with cutting edge modern technologies. Different software development and technology organisations now make products for the markets in different categories. We have different kinds of software solution categories for Customer Relationship Management, Enterprise Resource Planning, Content Management Systems, Electronic Point of Sales terminal software. Quite recently, mobile Apps and cloud computing have surfaced. These have resulted in more collaborations and opportunities for remote working by organisations. All of these have influenced the kind of projects to be implemented by organisations and the kind of work that project management and business analysis professionals do. Even after these technology solutions have been delivered, they continue to generate further opportunities for projects in the future. This may be for the purpose of maintenances or upgrades. For instance, cyber space vulnerabilities and security challenges have recently thrown up the compelling needs to implement cyber security projects across many industries. In the same vein, needs to implement robust disaster recovery and business continuity plans have continued to lead business organisation to implement projects in these directions. Lastly and closely related are the needs to implement collaborative software and working tools by different organisations. It may be organisations implementing Microsoft Office tools, or telephony system or virtual working platforms like WebEx, Jira, Confluence, Basecamp, Axure etc. These are other source of projects to be implemented warranting the needs for the expertise of professional business analysts and project managers.
Across many industries, businesses are regulated by governments through several bodies that are themselves governmental agencies. In the United Kingdom financial services, these regulators are Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Financial Services Authority (FSA), and Financial Ombudsman Services (FOS) and so on. In the telecom sector, it is the Office of Telecommunications (Ofcom).These bodies require certain standards to be complied with and some times review activities of the players to ascertain compliances and see where there are infractions. These regulatory requirements on many occasions may require projects to be implemented by the players in the industry. Examples are the Know Your Customers’ compliance and regulatory requirements which have led many banks to implement projects to domesticate Anti-Money Laundry regulations, Customer Due Diligence, Anti-terrorism acts and so on. There is also the Payment Protection Insurance projects which were to implement court judgements and directives of the FCA on infractions on the rights of the UK consumers. These have been going on for more than seven years in the UK. Generally the laws expect businesses to domesticate the Data Protections and Confidentiality acts. These have always been sources of projects on which the project management and business analysis professionals could work on.
Going into the immediate and short term future, one issue that is already creating and disrupting opportunities across many industries is the BREXIT. That is, the potential exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU) following the referendum conducted to leave since June of 2016.The UK is presently the technology hub of Europe housing most European headquarters of many EU companies. These organisations have been structured and formed based on European laws and they are set to be restructured in consistent with new realities. As the UK exits the EU, many businesses will have to relocate some of their structure abroad while some businesses will also relocate their headquarters to the UK.As the on-going BREXIT negotiation progresses and things unfold, organisations will need to start domesticating the responses of the UK to the repeal and signing of new treaties. The UK may have to disentangle itself from some of EU treaties and regulations on Digital Single Market, Electronic Commerce Directive and Global Data Protection Regulatory Framework and so on. This will lead to the implementation of new projects to incorporate necessary corporate transformational changes. The repeal processes of these laws, treaties in themselves are potential projects due to the complexities and scale of the changes required to be made. As the Brexit is expected to lead to restriction of labour movement within the European zone, there will be acute shortage of IT related skills and manpower which include project management and business analysis professionals. All of these factors are expected to instigate job opportunities aplenty for the project management professionals in the UK while a pay rise is strongly likely because of the expected acute demands for these skillsets. At SkillSpec, we are aware of what this future holds, the challenges and opportunities that are present there-in. In line with this we are packaging our work experience trainings and mentorship in such a way that our delegates are ready for this future.This is the minimum standard we expect of ourselves because we are SkillSpec. Yes, we are SkillSpec!