The Importance of the Business Analyst in IT
Somewhere amidst the rush of systems engineers, coders, and software developers, the role of business analyst seems to have been somewhat neglected. However, there’s now a growing demand for business analysts working in the IT sector, and it seems that they’re finally getting the respect they’re due. The business analyst is part of the glue that holds an IT company together, acting as a conduit between those running the financial side of the business and the technical staff who provide IT resources. A successful business analyst can offer a lot to a company by improving productivity and efficiency between different departments.
In the helter-skelter world of IT, competition can be fierce, and business strategies need to be incorporated to help ensure marketability and safeguard profitability. This is where the role of business analyst comes into its own. A business analyst should be able to evaluate the demands necessary to successfully bring a project to completion and outline these requirements to commercial partners, stakeholders, and other relevant parties. Although the business analyst works closely on the financial side of things, they usually are embedded in the product development department. From here, they assess processes and systems, identify the needs of the sector and then ensure that this information is guiding the direction of product development.
Why is a Business Analyst Necessary?
Broadly speaking, there are three main factors that show us why a business analyst is crucial in the IT sector:
- Business analysts help educate technical staff about the business requirements of a project and ensure that every department understands their role in helping the project come to life.
- As the digital transformation of all aspects of life and commerce moves closer, the corporate world proves no exception. Business analysts act as the middle man to help negotiate the needs of both clients and developers.
- Business analysts are required to ensure that a company is appraised of the latest developments in the business world and is positioned to adopt more efficient approaches to improve its performance.
We can see that a business analyst is crucial for ensuring that a company’s IT processes are in balance and contributing to overall profitability. If you’re running an IT firm without one, using recruitment tools such as SignalHire to hire a business analyst with the relevant qualifications and experience should be your number one priority.
What Exactly is a Business Analyst?
Before we go any further, let’s address the detail of what a business analyst actually does. The foremost duty of a business analyst is to mediate the interests of stakeholders and IT engineers so that both understand the other’s requirements for successfully accomplishing a project. Data analytics forms an important part of the business analyst’s toolset that allows them to assess processes, evaluate the needs of the business and generate data-driven reports to help inform the decisions of executives and stakeholders. Using the available data, business analysts are responsible for finding out how changes can be made to the company’s processes regarding services, products, technology, and finance to implement improvements and increase profitability.
They’re also charged with estimating how workable these changes are, and how they can be introduced in such a way as to limit the business’ vulnerability. In practice, this means identifying outmoded aspects of the company and legacy technologies that are posing a threat to user satisfaction. Because of the reactive nature of their job, no two days at work are ever the same for business analysts as their role tackles so many variables. Secondary to their problem-solving skills, business analysts must be well-versed in forecasting, budgeting, reporting, planning, and monitoring. Here we will break down the four tiers of business analysis:
- Strategic planning: This involves evaluating the most important processes in the company.
- Operation/ business model assessment: This relates to the identification and assessment of the business policies and practices of the company.
- Process design and definition: This relates to business process modeling and forecasting.
- Technology and IT business analysis: This tier deals with the technical aspects of the company’s performance and operation of its IT resources.
Duties of a Business Analyst
A business analyst’s first responsibility is to be qualified for the job. In a business analyst job interview, they will have to prove that they are familiar with both technical and business processes. Business analysts have to complete regular health checks of a company’s core practices to ensure that they’re performing for the business. If these core processes are starting to fail, the business analyst will be the first port of call to look at solving any problems. However, many stakeholders will expect their business analysts to have identified and tackled the problem before it’s reached a critical stage and is threatening the company’s health. Business analysts should be on top of the various processes that are integral to a company’s success. That’s the theoretic conception of the role, at any rate. How this translates to day-to-day duties may look like the following:
- Installing or fine-tuning systems for IT or business.
- Collaborating with the relevant departments and team members to bring attention to areas with potential to employ more efficient processes.
- Ascertaining the needs and desires of the relevant stakeholders to establish what their goals are and how they can best be met.
- Acquiring and collating relevant data to provide effective resources to inform the decisions of the company moving forward.
- Solving business problems with technical expertise.
- Collaborating with system engineers and developers to make sure IT resources are running at maximum efficiency.
For a business to be truly successful, all departments and management levels need to be reading from the same book. The role of the business analyst is to tackle this problem head on by speaking the language of both sides. They need to be familiar with technical processes and understand exactly how these contribute to the company’s well-being. It is they who must apprise stakeholders of these technical aspects in a way that non-experts can comprehend. That is why the role of a business analyst is becoming more crucial as the market moves further from the Wild West era of the tech startup. Business analysts carry a lot of responsibility, but it is a role that will be critical to ensuring the long-term health of any company.