Dr Kitty Hung PhD CITP FBCS, Principal Consultant at Atkins, discusses how major world events in 2022 have led to both challenges for business analysts as well as opportunities in 2023.

2022 was a year marked by a series of global challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic still cast its long shadow on the global economy. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February caused energy shortages throughout Europe and global food supply disruption; the consequent increase in energy costs contributed to widespread inflation, though wages stagnated. In the United Kingdom, this dynamic has given rise to industrial action among frontline service workers in industries from transportation to postal services, border control and healthcare.

Inflation has also placed additional burdens on business owners, increasing overheads and procurement costs, and organisations have had to rethink how they operate in order to sustain their business. 2022 saw a number of very high-profile big tech redundancies globally, including at Meta, Amazon, Twitter, Tesla, Microsoft, Salesforce and Netflix.

Challenges for business analysts in 2023

While many countries’ economies have made progress in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, China - the world’s largest exporter and second-largest economy - has only recently begun to work towards herd immunity, following nearly three years of strict lockdown measures. With a population of over 1.4 billion it will take some time to achieve, prolonging the globally impactful manufacturing and logistics issues throughout much of 2023. Additionally, the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is causing persistent inflation and economic downturn.

In response, organisations are seeking to reduce costs and reliance on manual labour by embracing automation and emerging technologies such as:

  • The Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Machine learning (ML)
  • Robotics
  • Digital twinning
  • Metaverse
  • Quantum computing
  • Blockchain

This shift presents both challenges for business analysts and opportunities too - namely, the need to upskill in order to confidently address the political and economic challenges that some projects will inevitably face.

From business analysis to business advisory

In order to meet the challenges and opportunities of 2023, BAs must expand their skillset from simply business analysis to business advisory. Acting in an advisory capacity enables a BA to help clients maximise growth, streamline operations, minimise expenses and risks, enhance cyber security and advance sustainability.

There are six key features for BAs to consider when delivering advisory services:

  • Improving efficiency
    Project initiatives must always be aligned with opportunities for optimisation, cost reduction, and improved performance. If the scope and requirements of a project are not cost effective, question them and present alternative options. Project performance should be tracked against KPIs, and plans and processes regularly optimised by business advisors.
  • Improving cost savings
    Exploring opportunities to incorporate cloud- and technology-based solutions can effectively minimise hardware and IT expenses while reducing energy consumption, increasing savings.
  • Adopting an Agile mindset
    Adopting an agile mindset not only enhances the likelihood of business success by fostering innovation and resilience, but also mitigates risks, ultimately reducing the time and financial resources needed for reworks. Active participation from all stakeholders is essential for the success of an agile project.​​
  • Embracing Automation
    Identifying opportunities to increase efficiency by automating repetitive tasks and processes can increase productivity and reduce costs. For example, foundational tasks can be delegated to AI technology, such as ChatGPT or Midjourney, while human business analysts focus on quality assurance and assessing how clients can best utilise A.I.-generated materials.​
  • Data-Driven Decision-Making
    Utilising data-driven technology such as:
    • Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)
    • Big data analytics
    • Data visualisation
    • Infographics
    • Predictive analytics
      to inform decision-making can help clients make more informed, astute choices.
  • Promoting Sustainability
    Implementing sustainable practices is not only beneficial to the environment, but also positively impacts a business’s bottom line by reducing costs and increasing efficiency. Opportunities to adopt renewable energy sources, reduce waste and resource consumption, and employ environmentally-friendly technology solutions should be carefully considered.

Opportunities for business analysts in emerging technology projects

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The incorporation of automation and emerging technologies can solve various challenges faced by business owners, including skill shortages and industrial action. As such, BAs tasked with implementing these projects must have a strong understanding of how the target business functions, how it could benefit from the technology, and of the technology itself.

Within emerging technologies, there are several key areas of which BAs must have a strong understanding:

  • Artificial intelligence & machine learning
    BAs working on AI/ML projects should understand and be skilled in applying machine learning algorithms for both supervised and unsupervised learning. They should also understand data management and analytics, and be able to identify opportunities for the business to benefit from more advanced AI/ML technology such as deep learning. It is also important for BAs to consider the ethical, legal, transparency, privacy, and bias issues involved in AI/ML decision making.
  • Internet of Things
    BAs working on IoT projects should have a thorough understanding of device technologies and protocols including sensors, communications, gateways and cloud platforms, plus expertise in data management, transmission and exchange. They should also be able to help customers use data effectively, maximising its value. In addition to cybersecurity, it is crucial to ensure the physical security of IoT devices (such as drones, robots, and autonomous vehicles) which may be remotely operated.
  • Metaverse
    BAs working on Metaverse projects need a strong understanding of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies, and of the Metaverse UX design principles used to create its intuitive and immersive experiences. They should also be mindful of ensuring that projects drive business value, avoiding overdesigning and the unnecessary costs and time wastage it incurs.
  • Blockchain
    BAs working on blockchain projects should have a strong grasp of the fundamental concepts behind the technology, including decentralisation, distributed ledgers, cryptography, data transparency and auditability. They should also be aware that the cryptocurrency industry, which utilises blockchain technology, is largely unregulated and may require them to make decision based on their own morality and integrity.
  • Robotics
    BAs working on robotics projects should have working knowledge of the communication between robotic devices and their operators, as well as the application of AI & ML to complex tasks. They should also understand how to securely connect multiple robots together to facilitate self-governance and self-autonomy.
  • Digital twin
    BAs working on Digital Twin projects should be proficient in using computer simulation to replicate physical objects, and able to accurately model Digital Twins of real-world systems or processes. They should be confident testing the behaviour of Digital Twins against their real-world counterparts.
  • Quantum computing (QC)
    BAs working on QC projects should possess a detailed understanding of its technologies and platforms, including qubits, superposition, quantum algorithms, and error correction. They should also be familiar with the potential applications of quantum computing technology in various industries, such as financial modelling, drug discovery and climate modelling. BAs must evaluate the suitability of QC for a particular business carefully, as implementing such projects can be costly.


Global events have presented a plethora of challenges fir business analysts in 2023, but also range of opportunities too, Through upskilling and expanding knowledge, the role of business analysis can develop and increase its value in a changing world.