A Business Analyst is someone who identifies the need for change and facilitates the implementation of that change in an organization. Before we delve more into who a Business Analyst is, let’s take a look at what the Business Analysis practice means.
WHAT IS BUSINESS ANALYSIS?
“Business Analysis is a practice of enabling change within an organization or an enterprise by identifying needs, analyzing the requirements and recommending solutions that will deliver value to the stakeholders”
To proffer solutions, proper engagement with the stakeholders is needed. This engagement helps to understand the organization’s structure, policies, and operations in order to yield a more effective and efficient result.
To know more about what business analysis is, see our What is business analysis page.
WHO IS A BUSINESS ANALYST?
A Business Analyst is someone who identifies the need for change and facilitates the implementation of that change in an organization. The Business Analyst does this by, gathering and analyzing information from a variety of sources within the organisation. This includes tools, documents, processes, and stakeholders. The solution he provides could be IT or non-IT related, it could be a huge or a minor change.
To really understand who a business analyst is, let’s take a look at this example.
Supposing you want to build a house, the first thing you do is to buy a piece of land, right? After that, you seek the services of an architect. The architect engages with you, asking you a series of questions–about your budget, what style of house – a bungalow or a duplex? How many bedrooms? How big do you want your packing space? What type of roofing? Etc.
Having done that, the architect draws up a plan which he would agree with you before consulting with the builders. This is done to understand the cost and how long it will take to build your house. After the dialogue with the builders, the architect would meet with you to relate this information to you for your consent. Suppose you agree, work on the house begins. As work progresses, the architect would keep monitoring the progress to ensure the house is built according to the plan – your need.
On a few occasions, problems might arise requiring the plans to be re-examined due to some unforeseen circumstances or, you might want to make some changes to the plans which you would need to agree with the building contractor. Eventually, you get your house built!
A business analyst role is more like that of this architect but instead of building a house, he is acting as an agent of change within an organization or an enterprise. He is responsible for eliciting the actual needs of the stakeholders by investigating and clarifying their desires in order to determine the causes and underlying issues.
Now, instead of producing plans as in the case of the architect, a business analyst produces ‘requirements’. The requirements state the business needs and align with the business processes. These requirements are then used by the IT team or external suppliers to build or modify the existing systems in place within the organisation. While work is in progress, the business analyst is ever-ready to deal with issues, questions and to support the business in implementing the required changes to make effective use of the new solution.
Often times, the business analyst role is seen as the communication bridge between IT and business stakeholders. This is why a business analyst must be a good communicator– both written and verbal, and also a good facilitator.
Furthermore, a business analyst does not necessarily need to have an IT background although it is quite helpful if he understands how IT systems work. It’s also important to note that you don’t have to be called a ‘business analyst’ to perform this role.
Many professional perform business analyst activities as part of their existing role. For example, data analysts, process analysts, change managers and user experience specialists all typically exhibit a business analyst’s behaviour.
Learn more about the Roles and responsibilities of the Business Analyst by attending our IIBA’s Business Analysis training course. You can also gain a formal business analysis qualification.