Con.text

Business Analysis Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Richard Lannon meeting with an attendee of MRU's recent Business Champions event
Instructor Richard Lannon meeting with an attendee of MRU’s recent Business Champions event

The Business Analysis Extension Certificate is one of our most popular programs, offered in both classroom and online versions. Mount Royal is an Endorsed Educational Provider of the International Association of Business Analysts (IIBA).

MRU’s program began in March 2005 with a two-day overview course. The idea was proposed by business consultant Richard Lannon, who also wrote the curriculum for the course and continues to teach in the certificate.

“There was nothing out in the marketplace,” Richard notes. “At that point in time there wasn’t even the IIBA. But this was a growing field so I spoke to the program staff at Mount Royal and wrote a proposal identifying the skill set of a business analyst, which I have used throughout my career. It hit all the key disciplines or knowledge areas a business analyst requires. We were one of the first.”

At about the same time, the IIBA was established, standardizing the processes and knowledge areas of business analysis.

“A business analyst is an individual who is able to look at business problems or opportunities within an organization and identify possible approaches to solve problems and make improvements in key business areas,” says Richard.

Mount Royal’s Business Analysis program now features 9 courses plus a Final Assessment Paper, for a total of 155 hours. Several hundred students have completed the program over its 10-year existence. Richard Lannon continues to teach some of the Business Analysis courses.

Richard Lannon, currently based in Manitoba, is the owner of the consulting business BraveWorld. He is a proven leader in strategic facilitation, business analysis and project management. He consults with technology-based companies in the oil and gas, mining, transportation, health care and professional services industries. Richard helps his clients identify and solve problems, helping them create a roadmap for moving forward.

In addition to pioneering MRU’s Business Analysis program, he was also instrumental in launching the popular Project Management program in 1999.

“Often business analysts will be asked to manage projects. That’s why the introductory Project Management course is part of the Business Analysis program,” Richard says. “Business analysis skills are used in project management, and project management skills are important to project management, too.”

In 2010 Richard Lannon received MRU’s Distinguished Teaching Award and a Business Recognition Award for his work with Alberta Entrepreneurs in strategic planning and leadership development. He was the keynote speaker at MRU’s recent Business Champions event.

MRU’s Business Analysis program has changed and evolved over the past 10 years, keeping pace with the technological and business concerns of industry. “The Business Analyst program and even the role and responsibility of the business analyst have evolved. It’s still evolving,” Richard says.

Graduates of the Business Analysis Extension Certificate are prepared for entry-level to mid-level positions as business analysts.

“They can be a business analysis generalist or a specialist,” Richard notes. “For example, I enjoy gathering and documenting, while others may enjoy process and workflow modelling. It’s an in-demand career and the opportunities are there.”

Is there a typical business analysis student? “It runs the gamut,” Richard says. “We have people who are looking to acquire work skills, who are in a career transition, or who are in their late career and wanting to be a consultant. Ideally, they like to facilitate and solve problems. In the corporate world they’re known as tech people who understand business.”

— by Karen McCarthy
— photo by Sue Madsen

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