South Africa, presently rated as one of the least competitive countries in the world, could see the business tide beginning to turn in the nation's favour when a practical, multi-faceted approach to the development of crucial business skills gets underway at Rhodes University this year.
Behind the introduction of a new Business Analyst certificate- regarded as a crucial link in the development of effective business processes and competitiveness- is a partnership between FASSET, the Sector Education and Training Authority for the financial services industry, Rhodes University and Deloitte South Africa.
The initiative will see Rhodes Business School developing 96 graduates in sustainable business modeling, using a globally recognised solution called BML® - Business Modelling Language.
Many developed and developing economies have for some time heavily invested in the function of Business Analyst (BA), to aid in the identification of operational improvements. Increasingly the BA position is being regarded as a "critical skill" and one that can have dramatic impact on overall corporate performance.
Skills developed through this qualification, embodies corporate functions that can incorporate:
- Describing, defining and understanding business processes and operations
- Identifying productivity metrics and measures against business processes
- Facilitating and disseminating an understanding of business operations
- Providing a business to Information Technology (IT) interface
- Communication of business requirements to IT
- Custodians of operational knowledge
- Transfer of job details to workers
- Corporate operational knowledge retention
- Identifying business improvements, and;
- Implementing business improvements.
Most developed economies have certification programmes to equip the BA with the skills to perform their challenging job. However, in South Africa we have, until now, lacked a formalised BA certification programme.
Sadly, this has resulted to South African companies addressing their needs and using foreign workers to fulfil this vital role.
The economic impact of contracts of this nature are concerning, as they create foreign jobs and cost the economy. According to recent Rhodes University research, for each BA job outsourced off-shore, there is a negative economic multiplier effect of R5 000 000 per job. When it is considered that there is an estimated demand for 5 000 BA's in the country, the full potential loss to the economy can be fully appreciated. Reversing this present trend is therefore vital to the creation of employment, intellectual business capacity, business productivity and performance in South Africa.
Turning to the new certificate in sustainable business modelling offering at Rhodes, the qualification would cover six modules spread over a six-month period, registered at NQF level 7 and carry 44 credits.
"There are more than 500 000 unemployed graduates in South Africa. Many possess the profile and aptitude to become BA's. It is imperative that we skill some of these resources to fulfill this important role in South African business.
"These graduates, business and South Africa as a whole will benefit," Du Toit concluded.