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Back Posted on: 15 April 2024

In June 2021, Rory joined Alchemy as part of Academy 7 as a Technical Analyst. He dove into a project with one of Denmark's major insurance companies, working closely with commercial insurers and reinsurers. With his deep knowledge, Rory soon became an in-house trainer, helping our newest graduates in June 2023 and beyond. Whilst providing training services to one of our ongoing customers, he also took on the role of a Project Manager on a different project for a customer that focused on the American insurance market. Rory recently made the move to a Business Analyst role and shares his insights into why he chose to transition and guidance for those considering on taking a similar path.

What initially drew you to the field of Technical Analyst, and how did that experience influence your transition into business analysis?

Given my insurance background, the role of Technical analyst was the perfect way to draw on my previous industry experience and channel it into a new career. It took me on a journey that allowed me to immerse myself into a dynamically customer-focused environment where every challenge served as a stepping stone towards personal and professional growth.

While working as a Technical Analyst I began to develop an interest in the collaborative elements of a Business Analyst’s (BA) responsibilities, specifically the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of user stories, and the software development lifecycle. The exposure that I gained from working with experienced Business Analysts and Project Managers piqued my interest. I was constantly learning as we worked collaboratively, making my move to a BA role a natural and positive transition.

How did you navigate the transition from a technical-focused role to a more business-oriented one, and what were some of the challenges you faced along the way?

I was pleasantly surprised at how transferable my experience as a Technical Analyst proved to be in transitioning to the role of a Business Analyst. My understanding of the technical aspects of the systems assisted me in writing user stories and visualising the desired outcomes. My grasp of the system’s functionality allowed me to identify unintended outcomes and foster more effective communication with the development and testing teams.

The biggest challenge I encountered was the increased responsibility of stakeholder engagement and requirements refinement. Breaking long-term business objectives into manageable and testable user stories requires time, practice, and hands-on experience. Maintaining a customer-centric approach throughout the development lifecycle approach can be challenging but is immensely rewarding. Similar to development, clear communication and transparency are key to achieving a successful delivery.

In what ways has your technical background enhanced your ability to understand and communicate with technical teams as a Business Analyst?

Role rotation has been practiced by some of the biggest and most successful tech companies around the world including the likes of Apple, Google, and Amazon. One of the most notable advantages, in my opinion, is its ability to cultivate a genuine feeling of empathy. As a Technical Analyst, I have first-hand experience with the challenging demands – from its pressures and complexities to its moments of success and struggle. I always carry that perspective with me, striving to present the qualities of a Business Analyst that I would appreciate working with if I were still in a Technical Analyst position. I firmly believe that empathy and understanding form the building blocks of effective teamwork and customer satisfaction.

What advice would you give to other Technical Analysts considering a transition into business analysis?

If you are thinking of transitioning into the Business Analyst role, I would recommend doing as much training as you can. Knowledge is always advantageous, just keep in mind you can never know too much. Although the knowledge you gain may not be immediately applicable, it will undoubtedly prove useful in the future. Either way, it could lead to a fulfilling career as a Business Analyst, or a return to the role of Technical Analyst with a renewed enthusiasm and deeper understanding of what drives successful outcomes.

To enhance your understanding and network within the insurance industry as a Business Analyst, joining specialised online forums and LinkedIn groups tailored to insurance professionals can be particularly beneficial. These platforms provide opportunities to engage with like-minded individuals who possess insights specific to the insurance sector. By participating in discussions, sharing experiences, and seeking advice from seasoned professionals, you can gain valuable industry knowledge and build meaningful connections.

How do you continue to stay updated and engaged with technical, business and industry trends in your current role?

Throughout my career, I’ve always been involved in the insurance industry in one capacity or another so staying informed about ongoing trends has become a top priority for me. The industry has been moving rapidly towards automation at all levels. Most notably, AI and machine learning are at the forefront, with insurers already implementing aspects yielding impressive business and customer outcomes, such as accelerating claims and settling them in as little as 2 seconds.

Although there is an understandable worry around AI and machine learning, they are powerful tools that when used properly, can be harnessed for mutual benefit – from use by multi-billion-dollar insurance companies, to retail customers purchasing travel insurance online. The opportunities are endless, but capitalising on them will not be easy. We won’t always succeed on the first attempt, but we will always have something to learn.

Read more about how Alchemy is redefining traditional roles for a digital future by Plugging the BA Gap