We have 24 business analyst (BA) apprenticeships up for grabs. Great opportunities for people to get on that first vital rung of the career ladder in a dynamic, exciting and growing sector. Head of Technical Solutions, Chris Penner, explains the importance of the BA role in our digital transformation.
Why do we actually need business analysts?
In the 16 years between 2000 and 2016, the Institute for Government estimated that over £10bn was spent government wide on IT projects that did not meet their benefits . Often the finger of blame was pointed at project and contract management, but in my view it’s more likely to come from a lack of understanding between what stakeholders are asking for and what IT can effectively deliver.
We could spend another few billion training up everyone in government to be an expert, or we could rely on a cadre of knowledgeable people able to make the link between business needs and the capabilities of our internal IT functions and suppliers. People who get a buzz out of finding the elusive grain of sand that’s going to wreck an entire delivery and quickly coming up with a clever way to get around it are vital. These people are called business analysts, an often unsung part of the delivery process.
In an ideal world, where everyone understood everything, they would not be needed. But in the busy – and sometimes messy – environment of project delivery a great BA can make all the difference between disaster and triumph. The best project teams know when they have a good one and do everything to keep them.
So, is this a role for you?
Generally, business analysts are made, not born. You would either come in as an operational person who got involved in project delivery and found that you like the technical side of things. Or you are a technical person who realised that you like trying to solve the very human issues that can arise when interfacing technology onto new or existing processes.
BAs tend to be curious people, ones who enjoy taking stuff apart, sometimes putting it back together, noodling over tricky problems and helping stakeholders understand the implications of decisions they are making. We even have a tool to probe this called The 5 Whys , which is licence to be annoying.
The best business analysts can keep a mental model of what the technology can do, how to change it and the business process it is being asked to apply to. Then, on the fly, they model what changes to any of these variables they can - handy when being precision questioned. Good BAs are also awesome at getting up to speed quickly, but do not need to be an expert in everything.
My own BA journey
I came to the business analyst role through an operational route, having worked on a couple of database migrations as the subject matter expert. I then went on to work on a number of transformational projects, many of which delivered on their proposed benefits.
I like to think that my intervention and coaching of stakeholders stopped many errors and project dead ends in their tracks. It is difficult to quantify but I am confident I have paid for myself many times over.
HMRC business analysts
HMRC is at the forefront of digital delivery and we have one of the world’s most complex IT estates. We have ambitious plans to make tax even easier and less expensive to run. Good business analysis will be crucial in making this goal a reality.
We use business analysts in both digital projects and in more business driven, process improvement projects. Both these areas are crying out for vigilant analysts to help with ‘fixing’ and heading off problems before they materialise. Also, business analysis is a great sector to train in as there will always be more demand for BAs than there are BAs to fill roles - so it offers great career prospects!
So, if you enjoy solving problems and are passionate, or even curious, about technology and how it can improve the world of work, we would like to talk to you.
The offer and how to apply
We have 24 Level 4 business analyst apprenticeships available. They run for 12-18 months and with a salary of £24,320 give you the opportunity to earn while you learn. To find out more about the roles, entry requirements and application process follow the links on our current vacancies page
 Institute for government making a success of digital government report
 Wikipedia 5 Whys
Check out our current vacancies. They're updated regularly so worth keeping an eye on.
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