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Enter the Business Engineer

The BE

At Mendix, we find that our customers appoint a particular kind of person to work with our products. Sometimes they’re from IT, sometimes they’re a business analyst or project manager – in any case, they practice the skills of both fields. Times are changing, departmental lines are blurring, and a new breed of business superhero has risen: the BE.

The ‘Business Engineer’ – who are they, what do they do, and why you want to know them.


Who

Until now, these men and women of myth have appeared under the guise of your organizational boundaries – half business and half IT. As champions of business modeling, they dance between the ranks of geeks and suits in companies everywhere, aptly increasing business agility at every collaborative junction. With a flash drive dangling from their sports car keychain and first place positions in both Online Poker and Fantasy Baseball, they are what we believe to be the future of the modern business analyst. In this series of blog posts, we attempt to uncover the true nature of this evolved employee…

What

The title of ‘business engineer’ is not completely novel, as it has been used in the past to describe a role similar to that of a business development manager. Under a new light of enterprise software modeling, this term refers to the business analyst on technical steroids – or the IT whiz with a knack for client relations. These skills, once segregated at a basic level of undergraduate education, have merged into a hybrid force of human capital with more creative power than either part could ever fathom.

These collaborative powers can push companies into unchartered profits, as they attribute to the resiliency of a company’s technology. Agility, as readers of this blog know, affords an organization the ability to change with its business environment. The more easily technological change can occur, the faster and more decisive an organization becomes. Charles Darwin says it best: “In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”

The business engineer is not a mythical entity – they may even be sitting in the room as you read this post. Finding them and harnessing their abilities should be a primary goal of any manager. In terms of organizational behavior, they are the ‘central connector.’ In terms of organizational culture, they are the ‘go-to guy.’ And in terms of business agility, they are the binding force between business users and technical experts that have never been able to see eye to eye.

Why

The reasons why you’d want business engineers in your company are significant. They make the technology that your company uses easier to use, more intuitive, and they do so faster and with minimal adversity. With the adoption of visual business modeling, and agile development methodologies, these unsung heroes of the enterprise era are here to stay. Do you know the business engineer at your organization? If not, it just might be you.

This entry was published on Oct 05, 2010 / Mendix.com. Posted in Requirements Management and Communication (BABOK KA), Business Analysis, Soft Skills, Career as a Business Systems Analyst. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
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COMMENTS

zarfman posted on Monday, October 18, 2010 10:04 PM

greetings:

I suggest you be very careful how you use the term business engineer. In most states if one holds them selves out to the public as an engineer. One is required to be a licensed professional engineer. Failing to do so can result in fines and in the most egregious case jail time.

Moreover, there is always the prospect of being sued by a client for faulty or substandard work.

Regards,

zarfman

Brian Hunt posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 2:35 AM
In the UK, anyone can call themselves an engineer. The man who comes to install your washing machine is called an engineer.

I'm a qualified engineer (I.Eng, MIIE) but after too many years of low status and low pay, I moved into what I call Organisational Engineering and others call consultancy or business analysis. A good engineer put things together in the most effective way to achieve an objective. Good organisational design and improvement applies the same engineering principles. So I'm still an engineer by training and attitude, but now I get paid a lot more :)
zarfman posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 6:54 PM

Brian:

Wow, I had no idea things are like that in the UK. That doesn't seem fair.

In the US there's lots of news about budget cuts in the UK. I hope you are fortunate enough to escape them.

Regards,

Zarfman
Brian Hunt posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 1:19 AM
Zarfman

The UK doesn't really have much time for people who create things by their brains and hands (unless they are 'modern artists') - if our recent history had been dominated by building and engineering a new country as your has then things might be different.

As an freelance BA/Consultant I'm used to moving between jobs - these cuts may even bring me more work.

Cheers

Brian
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