The business analyst function is often misunderstood. These employees’ powerful insights can pull them away from doing their real job. The business analysis function does NOT include
- IT system administration, or
- software development or configuration…
- quality control…
- project management, or
- customer service or support.
So why do many business analysts get ensnared in those roles? Because they know how your business is supposed to operate. They know what the customer is supposed to receive. They are painfully aware of projects being mismanaged. They notice when system administration has lapsed. They see errors in software code and configuration. And they are especially good at identifying quality problems. But they should not be asked to SOLVE these problems.
So, what is their true function?
Well, obviously, they serve to analyze our business… Seriously, they are responsible for knowing what we’re supposed to do, and if we’re doing it… Sorry, I can be clearer…
Your business analyst studies the processes in your company. In a medium-sized company, you may have several BA’s scattered across departments. However, they function best by working between departments. Their discoveries can help align departments’ efforts. Most notably, they help managers get the right support from the IT department. Although they don’t write code, they specify how it must perform. They support the users of the software as well as the manager of the users. In the end, they assure that customers are served reliably.
Key responsibilities unique to the business analyst function:
- Understanding what a business does in terms of the processes it uses.
- Evaluating those processes for efficiency, cost, and results.
- Recommending process adjustments, new technologies, or other areas for improvement.
A great business analyst is also a detective. He or she can identify the cause of problems. They monitor the consistency of the business systems. Most importantly, they support great decision-making. That is, when they get to do their real job!
Five Characteristics of a Great Business Analyst according to consulting firm Resultant
- Put people before technology.
- Ask great questions.
- Always think ahead.
- Turn data into useful information.
- Shift the perception of a challenge.
As IT consultants, we at E6 Solutions rely on business analysts (ours or our client’s). They guide us to develop excellent technology solutions. One of their most important jobs is to map the client’s existing business processes. Then, they help us track how data flows around the company (or not). This commitment to great analysis enables our success.