What is a Business Analyst?
A business analyst is a person who analyzes an organization or business domain and documents its business, processes, or systems, assessing the business model or its integration with technology. Business Analyst helps in guiding businesses in improving processes, products, services, and software through data analysis.
Sometimes their role is often misunderstood but is steadily gaining traction. Most organizations still don’t have a Business Analyst role in-house. However, as the value of the role becomes more apparent, it is not just large corporations that will add Business Analysts to their teams. A Business Analyst works in a company to identify and solves issues by providing knowledge and expertise on how to implement change and become more cost-effective. They are often focussed on IT or software development. Analysts in different sectors may have slightly varying job roles. A Business Analyst helps organizations to make improvements and changes within their business to achieve their business goals. They provide a link between project teams and other stakeholders.
Rather than view them as an additional cost, a good Business Analyst will actually reduce overall company costs.
What Skills Do They Have
A Business Analyst has to grasp a great many facets of a business. They need to analyze and interpret the needs of a business and its systems. They then need to make recommendations to the business leaders and develop strategies to improve the business. This is why they need to have a range of skills often found in very disparate job roles.
They will have a combination of technical and ‘soft skills’ that allow them to understand and act as a conduit between all types of business stakeholders. Some of the main skills include:
- Strategic business thinking
- Account management
- Presentation skills
- Team building
- Public speaking
In addition to a great range of soft skills, they will also have a thorough understanding of:
- Project management
- Data modeling
- Prince 2
- Increase your ROI
Your company’s ROI is determined by how much money you make compared to your investment. Business Analyst will work to lower implementation costs while simultaneously increasing the ROI.
Guide A Successful Project
A Business Analyst will identify the needs of a business in any project. Once the project goal is identified, they will ensure that the project is designed to meet those goals. Not to be confused with a Project Manager, who delivers the project, they will work in the background to clear any roadblocks and clarify any issues.
- Scope – a project will succeed or fail on the accuracy of the project scope. They will be able to understand the business objective and strip out any unnecessary features, saving money and time.
- Facilitation discussions – the more people involved in a project, the bigger the tendency to get involved in repetitive discussions or disagreements.
- Allowing specialists to do their job – many people on a project will need to remain focussed on their areas of expertise. A Business Analyst allows them to do this be representing the company and its interest at discussions. A developer can spend their time developing, rather than getting caught up in further meetings, email exchanges, or anything else that can distract them from their main task.
A Business Analyst will look at all departments and processes within an organization and identify any areas that need improvement or cost reductions. Less project reworking and requirements churn – a lean team, focus on a well-designed project, will reduce project changes. A Business Analyst can reduce the amount of time spent on pointless meetings by communicating with stakeholders, document meetings, and track issues.
Prioritization ensures laser focus on company needs. By using various techniques throughout the project lifecycle, they ensure that stakeholder time is well spent to deliver the biggest potential benefits.
Successful Scaling of an IT Team
As an organization develops, the number of stakeholders and projects increases too. What has worked in the past, for a smaller team, will not necessarily work for a larger one? The work done by a Business Analyst will allow an IT team to scale successfully.
Many companies spend unnecessary time and money on badly designed projects. A good Business Analyst will follow a thorough process to decide if a project is viable and communicate between the relevant parties.