Continuous improvement and a focus on delivering value to our customers is necessary to stay competitive in most of today’s markets. But improvement is hard work. It requires change. As a business analyst, you are tasked with enabling such change in your company by defining needs and recommending data-driven solutions that provide value to stakeholders. You help to bridge the gap between IT and the business to assess processes in order to help the business continuously improve.
But first, what does continuous improvement even mean? While there are many ways to define it, the definition I prefer is: “The repeated modification of the way we do things, each modification moving the organization closer to its improvement goals” (whatever those may be).
There are many ways to achieve continuous improvement. Some methods favor slow, incremental improvements while others suggest performing more up-front analysis which result in larger, breakthrough type changes. Regardless of which method you choose, to be successful you need creativity and innovation, involvement from the team, an open funnel for responding to feedback, and enabling technologies.
Using Kaizen to Get Started
One example of a continuous improvement method is Kaizen, which originated from Toyota’s success in Japan. Kaizen focuses on many small improvements that are typically low risk, with the idea that implementing many small improvements will add up to a larger positive change. Kaizen is typically considered one of the better ways for an organization to get started with a continuous improvement culture because you can start small, with a single department or project, experimenting with what works for your organization’s culture – and then standardize your approach as you expand.
Now that we’ve covered what a business analyst does and what it means for businesses to continuously improve, what is the role of technology and platforms like Quickbase in this continuous improvement process and how do all three fit together?
Continuous improvement projects are focused around creating value for businesses, and in the practice of business analysis, as mentioned earlier, business analysts work to deliver value to businesses and stakeholders by improving processes. A constant that lies between the two is the idea of creating and delivering value. A business analyst must be able to break down and analyze processes, find the shortcoming and then come up with ways to mitigate risk, remove waste or improve the process as a whole. Continuous improvement projects need the skills of business analysts to be successful.
Many IT departments are backlogged with requests, so finding resources to help implement continuous improvement project can be difficult. But that doesn’t mean that these projects aren’t valuable. That’s where you come in. As a business analyst you know the requirements and understand the old and new processes better than anyone else.
By establishing or enhancing your culture of continuous improvement with an innovative technology platform, you can take a cost effective, low risk, phased approach where you start small and expand as you learn – connecting processes, data and people across your organization to drive impactful business results.
Continuous Improvement on Quickbase
Quickbase is a perfect tool to help business analysts implement continuous improvement concepts. The platform allows business analysts to experiment and build different solutions quickly without involving a developer. All it takes is a little time, inspiration, and an understanding of the needs of your business.
Quickbase is a 100% cloud-based platform and allows you to create custom software solutions that fit your specific processes without any previous coding background. There are custom reports, roles, and dashboards that provide easy access to necessary data, the ability to automate tasks and send communications, and much more. These features are also available on Quickbase’s mobile application, which allows you to securely access the data you need any time, any place and on any device.
Quickbase already has proven record of helping business analysts to make an impact fast. More than half of the applications built on Quickbase by business professionals are in use and creating value within two weeks of inception.
As an example, let’s say the Human Resources department at your company is looking for a solution to help with the process for responding to incoming requests. This isn’t a “mission critical” situation, and therefore might not be granted valuable developer resources, but there is some proven ROI if we can deliver. As a business analyst, you can use Quickbase to develop a solution by quickly producing a prototype application that meets the needs of your stakeholders.
Once you’ve built a Quickbase application you can apply the continuous improvement mindset to create, analyze and then quickly improve upon that design based on feedback and additional requirements brought forth by the users in the Human Resources department. You can continuously iterate the application with small incremental changes based on the evolving needs of your HR stakeholders.
Business analysts have built applications focused on a variety organizational needs including project and resource management, customer relationship and support, procurement, and asset management. With Quickbase, you can deliver more business value, solve more problems and quickly see results.
To learn more about how business analysts can use technology to implement a continuous improvement plan, watch the Modern Analyst webinar.