In what areas should BA and PMs in banking gear themselves up for this 2018?

The roles of Business Analysts (BAs) and Project Managers (PMs) are constantly evolving. This 2018, it has become even more pertinent to keep up with changes to stay relevant and competitive within the market. This is especially so within the banking and financial sector where there is much technological disruption. In addition, global political situations and tightened regulations have resulted in a volatile economic outlook where there is a need to identify the gaps within the sector to ensure sustainability.

Hence, it is key for BAs and PMs to equip themselves with the relevant skills that are high in demand with the current market. Listed below are some of the top skills in demand this 2018.

What are the top BA/PM skills in demand?

  1. Cloud Computing and Mobile Applications

With cloud computing and mobile apps providing ubiquitous, convenient and on-demand access to resources and information, BAs and PMs would need to have the right conceptual and technical skillsets.

Essentially, BAs need to understand what requirements, policies and governance should be implemented to guarantee performance, privacy, security, and quality of business data. Be it the technical skills – SQL, VBA, R, Python – to write cloud-specific requirements or developing cloud policies, BAs would need to ensure business processes are made cloud-ready.

Similarly for PMs, they would be required to perform costing and ROI analysis when new applications are developed. This requires knowledge of costing for cloud-based environments and expertise at creating project budgets. They would need to familiarise themselves with advanced financial and costing skills to deal with environments which are going to be a mix of applications hosted on either onsite servers or cloud sites.

  1. Trade Finance

With greater influx of e-payments due to its convenience and efficiency, BAs and PMs are pressured to familiarise themselves with managing e-channels.

Now, they will need to be fluent in advanced reporting and forecasting of trends to meet the changing needs of their customers. Internally, they will also need to be able to translate business and design requirements into technical requirements. This will allow them to perform critical analysis on information consolidated from multiple sources. They will be able to identify and resolve conflicts, and subsequently break down high-level information into detailed workable requirements.

Ultimately, upcoming new roles would require potential BAs and PMs to possess knowledge on Business Intelligence tools and Agile Methodologies.

  1. Risk operations

UK will leave the EU in March 2019 following the trigger of Article 50 of the EU Lisbon Treaty, which provides companies with a two-year countdown to prepare. What is inevitable would be future uncertainties of legislative tax and regulatory changes which are likely to entail.

Most importantly, UK-based operations or suppliers should start thinking ahead about how potential changes may affect them, and how they can leverage such changes to their advantage. Internally, BAs and PMs need to ensure that their internal systems can handle the potential increase in administrative demands, as well as a possible divergence of standards between the UK and the EU. This is to prevent potential regulatory misalignment. Greater adaptability will provide an advantage over slower-moving competitors across the region. Financial institutions and banks will need to stick to a robust risk program, and discover the possible opportunities amidst this volatile market.

  1. Regulatory Reporting

The tightening of financial regulations comes with the demand for greater privacy and security of data. As cyberattacks become a potential harbinger of crises, BAs and PMs would be required to understand the new regulations in order to take on regulatory reporting efficiently and productively.

This will include handling of highly confidential bank records with speed and accuracy via AxiomSL. Other skills that would be required to ensure that regulations are adhered to includes DoddFrank, Basel 111, Midfid and FATCA.

Are hybrid BA/PM positions an emerging trend?

One emerging trend is for teams to create a hybrid BA/PM position. This can be a good move in certain projects, but is highly dependent on scope and context.

If a project encompasses the need to manage more than three or four systems, a company would tend to hire a hybrid talent possessing both the skills of BAs and PMs. Every system has its own customisations, and for one to conduct deep analysis of the different layers, a hybrid talent with the proper skill set would add a lot of value to the project.

Ultimately this BA/PM role requires highly developed competencies across both disciplines which would require relevant education and experience across both to execute.

How should BA/PMs prepare themselves for the future?

  1. Forward-looking and adaptability: BAs and PMs would now need to challenge traditional boundaries and be more open to change. New roles and even hybrid roles are bound to emerge in the near future. To stay relevant, one must be able to adapt and transfer their skill-sets as needed.

  2. Upskill and train: The current state is the knowledge and experience professionals already have, but the future state is the endpoint of this transition – and it will require a different skill set. Training for those future requirements would help to bridge the gap between both states.

Due to more stringent regulations in place and the need to keep up with change, demand for senior contractors in finance risk, BA and PM contractors will persist. Contract jobs will allow for a faster turn-around time and the ability for financial institutions to engage a more agile and flexible workforce. With the gig economy projected to rise, contractual jobs would only continue to be in demand. If you are a BA/PM who is looking for opportunities within the banking sector or would like to expand your BA/PM team, do contact us. For more industry-related insights, do follow our LinkedIn page.

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