Watching The Zimbabwean Business Analysis Sunrise

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Samuel Tafadzwa is watching the Zimbabwean business analysis sunrise with Ryan Folster, through connecting the dots of a business analysis community.

Samuel Tafadzwa, Founding Partner of Savant Alliance, has a flair for creativity and innovation, and has been the catalyst behind building the Zimbabwean business analysis community.

Dedicated to helping others achieve their fullest potential, Samuel is passionate about African solutions to uniquely African challenges, leveraging business analysis’ ability to generate ideas and form interactions that enable individuals and communities to realise their dreams.

Connecting the dots of a business analysis community from the ground-up.

Let’s begin with the end in mind, Samuel. What’s the dream for business analysis in Zimbabwe?

A place where business analysis in Zimbabwe becomes an entity with a life of its own which is clear, precise, incisive, understood and extremely valuable. Delivered by

… a talented, passionate, skilled, professional, respected and valued business analyst, informing strategy and driving change.

We have an opportunity to do something extraordinary in this very moment, and this seems a decent and ambitious place to start.

That’s a grand vision. What got you started out on this journey?

My passion has always been to empower, enlighten and inspire the African people, and with a technology background I yearned to not only be able to manipulate technological gadgets and resources, but to be able to own and drive the innovation and the change process. To be able to contribute to the generation, development, and delivery of real solutions that contributed to real life challenges faced by everyday people. For me all the above simply translated into business analysis.

From what base is the business analysis community being built?

The concept of business analysis in Zimbabwe is still fresh, and the business analyst is not a clearly and concisely defined or widely-accepted role. However, there are lots of threads of business analysis work flying around in organisations in Zimbabwe.  Depending on the company, we are finding BAs with various associated job titles. As awareness spreads, we will see a rise in the number of people identifying themselves with the profession, either directly or by association.

How are you approaching the establishment of this initiative?

We are building from the initial spark of interest we have seen so far in this initiative from individuals in the industry, as well as from corporates that have warmed up to business analysis in this context. We are leveraging relationships that we are establishing here amongst ourselves as members of the community, and a critical cog has been the support we have received from the Business Change Management Group (BCMG) and the IIBA South Africa Chapter.

Tell us about the current group of people who make up the community?

The group currently comprises 35 individuals in Harare, largely male-dominated with ladies fairly represented as well. The bulk of the community work at the operational level in their organisations as business analysts, systems analysts, project managers, support specialists and management consultants. Industries represented include, telecommunications, software development, software solutions vendors, financial services, and consultancy businesses.

How long have you been together as a group, and and how have you gone about growing the contingent?

This initiative is currently about a year old, (starting with the first community meet at the inaugural business analysis day event) and is concentrated in our capital city, Harare. For the most part,

… word has spread organically from one person who knows another inviting them to the community events.

We do, however, try to broadcast a widespread message during these meetings to solicit interest from anyone who will hear us.

In what way does the community engage and collaborate?

Our most consistent form of outreach and interaction has been community events, with guest presentations from various subject matter experts. We are bringing formalised business analysis training through from South Africa, with BCMG’s Business Analysis Fundamentals as our first course programme. Additionally, we are leveraging social media platforms as well as publishing a newspaper supplement that profiles the business analysis profession, to help extend the conversation.

Let’s talk more about the industry response. How has the local business and IT projects community responded to this idea?

At this juncture I will say corporates’ response has been relatively slow, though not averse.  Due to the prevailing economic climate, the corporate sector has not been able to engage fully to the extent that they seem interested (budgetary constraints being the topical cause). However, from an individual perspective, most stakeholders we have interacted with have been quick to spur us on and pledge their support and wish to see us do well as a community.

This all sounds positive. What benefit do you see being taken back into organisations?

It is my earnest and sincere hope that

… our efforts are resulting in the delivery of even better business analysis work to the organisations …

that are represented, and that their business outcomes and results are improving. We seem to be starting out well, but we have the capacity to do more and to do better. Business analysis still has a way to go to impress its value, but by nurturing the profession through this growth phase, the marketplace in Zimbabwe will only mature.

What challenges and obstacles are you facing in gaining traction and momentum?

Our greatest challenge is logistical: the financial and material resources to meet and to perform the administrative tasks necessary to keep the community running. We are encouraged by the support we have received from the selfless contributions made by community members and local organisations, Payserv, Savant Alliance, Talarius Data Analytics, as well the ever-present support from the Business Change Academy and IIBA South Africa Chapter who were very instrumental in helping us deliver our very first BA Day Seminar.

You’ve accomplished much in one year. What’s next on the horizon?

We have exciting plans, such as a second all-encompassing Business Analysis Day Seminar, bigger and more colourful by synergising with related professions.  And we will continue to develop the talent and skills we have in the community through further business analysis training. Alongside this, we will continue to build the local brand of the BA community in Zimbabwe by getting into print media, and will be seeking a significant voice in policy formulation, industry and commerce.

Your passion is evident. What’s your advice for people who are attempting to drive something similar?

It will take a lot of hard work and relentless determination and it will more often be difficult than easy. The most important thing, I believe, is to do it with a clear conscience and out of love for the people you serve. With the heart of a servant and the courage of a leader, and with the passion to carry you through the trying times, business analysis in Africa has the potential to illuminate this continent.  So let us

… let the vision of a better Africa inspire brilliant work from us; it’s our time to do great!

Watching The Zimbabwean Business Analysis Sunrise with Samuel Tafadzwa

‘Watching The Zimbabwean Business Analysis Sunrise with Samuel Tafadzwa‘ was first published in the 2016 Inter-View Report. You can start watching the Zimbabwean business analysis sunrise along with @SamuelGazimbi and @RyanFolsterSA over on Twitter.

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