Vendors And The Business Analyst

It was a long time into my business analyst career before I became a critical part of the vendor selection and vendor assessment process. In fact, I discovered that I was under prepared when it happened because I assumed this area was primarily nestled within the project manager role. This assumption was reinforced because many project managers feel the same way about it. 

A selfie we took during one of the stops on the Woodinville Wine Ride last month. Weekend group bike rides are becoming a staple for us!

A selfie we took during one of the stops on the Woodinville Wine Ride last month. Weekend group bike rides are becoming a staple for us!

Although the word "Vendor" appears just once in the BABOK table of contents (10.49 Vendor assessment), the BABOK does include plenty of areas that touch on vendor relationship related topics. For example, 

2.4 & 9.5 - Vendors can be considered stakeholders and therefore linked to many stakeholder related tasks and techniques. A BA may need to have strong vendor interaction skills, particularly in cases where a "throw it over the wall" RFP process is NOT being used.

5.3 - Vendors can be linked to costs and costs can be used in multiple prioritization processes. 

6.1 & 6.2 - The vendor(s) related to a process can often be the subject of the "as is" state analysis. In fact, the poor performance of a vendor(s) can be a driving force in finding a superior "to be" state.

7.5 - Vendors and the services they can provide are often included in the design process to model requirements. A vendor may have their own requirements and that often translates into a constraint to be noted on the business analysis side.

8.1 - Vendor performance can often be a strong factor in measuring the performance of a solution. In some cases, it can be negative but it can be a positive consideration as well. Think of the common "build vs. buy" decision, a strong vendor can often swing the decision into the buy fork in that decision branch.

11.3 - The information technology perspective discussion in the BABOK is obviously full of vendor related topics and the business analyst should take into consideration on all IT related endeavors. IT is a true ecosystem and vendors are a big part of the overall health of that environment.

So if you are a business analyst that hasn't had a lot of vendor related tasks come your way yet, it certainly could be part of your future!

© 2017 Dwayne Wright