When I joined Sapient Global Markets about 5 years back, I was keen to apply my experience of Risk Management from the banking industry to tackle issues faced by an IT [product] company as a result of the changing regulatory landscape. I considered myself a subject matter expert for a segment of financial domain but had not anticipated the wide spectrum of exploration required of me as a product business analyst.

I took my team along and started off by looking at the Dodd Frank Act and its implications on US based banks. It gradually evolved as a product idea that has won multiple industry level awards since its inception.

For anyone who is a business analyst (BA) in the IT industry and wants to explore diverse genres of BA work – business analysis in a product environment is a different world altogether, here are my learnings which could help you steer your way:

A traditional BA role in IT services industry entails soliciting requirements from specific client personnel and translating these requirements to the technical team for solution development. But here at Sapient Global Markets we go through thousands of pages of regulatory and legal documents ourselves, while keeping in sight relevant snippets from the industry. Our business analysis approach translates into multiple levels -

  1. Industry Analysis – for anticipating where regulators are headed and to unravel where the industry is moving with respect to regulatory compliance. This includes carrying individual viewpoints about the associated challenges, own innovative solutions to address those and also staying updated on the competitive landscape.
  2. Research-specific Domain Requirements – for understanding the regulation(s), its nuances, asks from the market participants as well as domain specific elements of the same such as reportable OTC derivative data fields.
  3. Study scope applicable to your product / clients – define the solution development scope as per the agreed mandate / vision and the target clients segment.
  4. Create functional design / impact – design the changes to the application and cater to the defined scope such that it is easily understood by new clients and has no/little impact on existing ones.
  5. Continuous enhancements– since the first transaction reporting regulation of Dodd Frank Act went live in 2012; multiple new jurisdictions have defined the rules for their regimes. However, it is still a relatively new territory for regulators and market participants alike. Hence regulators are continually re-evaluating and updating the regulatory requirements. These changes need to be catered to in the product to keep the clients in compliance. This would be applicable to any domain.


The deliverables of a Product BA set the path for the product enhancement & growth. Here are my tips to do well as a Business Analyst.

Develop the skills necessary to conduct efficient research, logical and structured problem solving and seek perspectives from the angle of each participant involved. The role requires and also allows honing of such skill sets.

Just as an example, in my role, I got to work with regulators across jurisdictions, industry bodies such as ISDA and a global set of clients. This exposure helped me perceive the view point of all market participants involved in the activity of stabilizing the financial ecosystem.

Learn to work in a dynamic environment- the industry and its approaches, target users and their requirements, may evolve continuously. A product BA has to adapt and quickly respond to changes.

In our case, the continuous evolution of regulatory reporting landscape made us reassess our product approach and design at each juncture. Since Sapient Global Markets believes in “Leading the Change”, we had the support from the organization and its framework along with a leadership that is adept at working with ambiguities and managing disruptions.

DEVELOP THOUGHT LEADERSHIP:

One crucial way to impact industry and its road ahead is by establishing yourself as a thought leader such that your work and outlook creates an influence.

We assimilated this as a vision within my team. We are now a set of regularly published thought leaders across reputed industry journals such as The Trade News, Futures & Options World, Global Custodian, GTNews, Financial Express, TabbForum, FinReg Alert and Crossings.

IDEATE AND INNOVATE:

Ability to work cross-functional, thinking beyond own role and responsibilities are essential to be able to ideate and innovate. Ideation is necessary to push your conceptual knowledge to a tangible output and innovation is required for effective problem solving. Leading the change by way of ideation and innovation is a handy skill set for any product BA.

Since we are looped into industry advancements, especially in the field of financial technology, owing to our role, we can explore new solution ideas based on upcoming technologies and their application to prevalent business problems.

Learn Unlearn and Relearn -Career of a Product BA is extremely challenging but very fulfilling. It requires specialization, and yet it is an ability that requires constant learning, unlearning and expanding the horizons. It expects you to see the big picture while not missing the granular details.

One should be able to wear multiple hats from an analyst to an innovator to a thought leader in order to succeed in this role and to make BA a career in a solutions company.

Mahima

SapientRazorfish

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About Sapient

Sapient, part of the Publicis Groupe, is a global services company that helps clients transform in the areas of business, marketing, and technology. The company operates three divisions that enable clients to gain a competitive advantage and succeed in an increasingly digital world. SapientRazorfish, Sapient Global Markets, and Sapient Government Services fuse insight, creativity, and technology to drive innovation and to help clients navigate complex business problems. Our approach is the subject of case studies used by MBA programs at Harvard and Yale. The company has operations in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. For more information, visit http://www.publicis.sapient.com.