I bet you’d get 10 different answers if you asked ten different HR Professionals what a Business Analyst is.
In essence, that’s one of the problems facing the fast-growing field of “Business Analysis”. To clarify, let’s divide analysts into two major categories:
- Business analysts (non-technical)
- Technical analysts
There are two main divisions within the title. I’m not saying you can’t work on both sides, or that you won’t be required to on occasion. The above example demonstrates how misleading the title “Business Analyst” can be.
This is a very broad topic, but let’s start with the business side. The professionals who apply a specific methodology to increase the value of a company or business.
IT is Opposite
The IT or Technical side of the coin is the opposite. This site just applies specific methodologies to solve “technical” problems, making the company more capable and increasing its value. Don’t you get it yet? Okay, let’s move on.
In many cases, analysts are hired to not only find the problems but also solve them. It’s different from being a project manager. Companies generally hire analysts or firms to solve a specific issue or problem that they are facing.
The analyst then goes to the business and collects data, applies methodologies and principles, and creates a solution. This is when a requirements analyst assesses the needs (this may or may not be included in the initial solution).
Then a Project Manager gets it. After that, it’s up to the PM to follow proven methodologies and techniques to get the job done on time and within budget.
Business Analysts do a lot of work, so we have to describe that word to describe what they do. The only thing that makes an analyst an analyst is how systematically approach problems and solutions using predefined methodic principles, no matter if they’re a business analyst, processes analyst, requirements analyst, operations analyst, business systems analyst, systems analyst, consultant, programmer/analyst, etc.
Characteristics of a BA
One of the characteristics of a BA is that;
Work with businesses to identify improvement opportunities in processes or operations, and analyzes business needs and requirements by gathering, documenting, and analyzing them.
The BA solves company problems.
It is expected that these organizations will adhere strictly to certain methodologies that when properly employed will lead not only to a successful outcome for the analyst but also to successful outcomes for their clients.
A firm’s or analyst’s methodology may vary considerably depending on its discipline. It is important to note that several well-defined sets of disciplines can be verified through a simple internet search. You should be cautious if an analyst claims to be using a particular method or discipline. There’s even what is called a Salesforce Business Analyst. They focus on BA disciplines as they relate to Salesforce CRM. (Also see our article on why you might need Salesforce and what CRM is)
To summarize, a business analyst is someone who performs specific tasks to improve your company’s performance. In the same way that has been mentioned previously, if you have a problem with your car, you visit a mechanic.
If you are experiencing health problems, you consult a physician. You seek the assistance of a business analyst if you encounter problems with your company.