IT business analyst role

Réfi Balázs

October 10, 2021

What are the responsibilities of a business analyst? What specific skills and abilities do you need to be a successful business analyst?

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The definition of business analyst

The role of the business analyst (BA) encompasses the work of IT organizers and designers. Its responsibilities are fairly similar to those of a systems analyst, with a few exceptions. (We will deal with these soon.)

The business analyst must be familiar with the operation and processes of the specific business segment (domain). For example, It is common for a business analyst who is intimately familiar with the internet banking processes to design an online banking system in the banking industry. Familiarity with the general requirements required for a job. This is referred to as domain knowledge.

In terms of tasks, the business analyst is in charge of gathering and documenting the requirements for the system under development, as well as preparing functional specifications. Furthermore, its primary responsibility is to design an IT application that properly fits the needs of the business area on a logical level.

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- Project managers, scrum masters

- Business analysts, product owners, system analysts

- Software developers

- DevOps engineers

- Manual and automation testers

What distinguishes a business analyst from a systems analyst?

A business analyst is an expert who has knowledge of the business (domain). And the term system analyst refers to someone who has technical skills.

Here are some examples to help you understand. A system analyst must be able to create a logical data model and be proficient with SQL, whereas a business analyst must thoroughly comprehend client needs from the start of meetings. The first customer discussion in the event of a systems analyst (particularly in the case of individual application development) requires special preparation, as the specified domain expertise is not always available. 

Who is the business analyst connected to?

1. Project's sponsor

The project sponsor is the person who owns the project. He is the one who establishes the project's goals, provides the resources (primarily money), moreover is exclusively responsible for the project.

2. Project manager

In general, the project manager is in charge of the project's implementation, which includes fulfilling deadlines and staying under budget. The project manager is responsible for preserving the project's scope, although, in a good situation, the business analyst also helped or will also help determine the scope.

3. Users

When developing and updating an IT system, it is critical to know exactly who will use it. Users can be both internal and external, such as customers, organizations, and suppliers. A good IT system, in my opinion, can be established if the business analyst validates the needs with all stakeholders while defining the requirements, as well as the solutions planned afterwards. Of course, this does not imply that the approval is deviating from the project's timeline, but rather that the business analyst is aware of which actors have or have not stated their opinion about the particular system, function, or solution.

4. Developers

In short, developers are members of the software development team (architects, software developers, DevOps professionals, etc.).

One of the most significant responsibilities of a business analyst is to be able to deliver the requirements of the client to the development team in a well-thought-out, refined, interpreted, and thorough manner. Furthermore, it is the business analyst's role to supply the development team with well-developed tasks and documentation that are ready for an IT solution.

5. Testers

In short, the software developed by the development team is tested by the testers. Business analysts frequently participate in the testing of the developed system.

Testers mostly rely on system documentation created and approved by the business analyst and the customer.

What are the tasks of the business analyst?

1. Understanding customer needs

Understanging customer needs - Bluebird

A smart business analyst is primarily concerned with understanding the customer and their requirements. You must have a clear understanding of why your IT system is being developed or upgraded. To do so, you must first grasp the business aspects, not the IT.

There are many, many questions to map the entire set of consumer needs. It is common for there to be a lot of knowledge, prior events, underlying a strong client demand. However, understanding the expressed need is not enough; you must also grasp what is important to the client.

2. Requirements clarification, customer interviews

Firstly, translate customer needs into clear specifications. Processing customer interviews and written information is beneficial to this business analyst. It should be mentioned that after processing the written materials obtained, it is obviously worthwhile to validate the requirements produced from them. Actually, this is something that the client can accomplish as well.

Secondly, preparation is a must for client interviews. Consultation with the client should not begin in such a way that the business analyst is unsure of what issues should be discussed, how the current business process is built, plus what aspects it comprises of. Furthermore, in some cases, understanding the appropriate regulations is a prerequisite.

The requirements list developed as a consequence of client interviews serves as the foundation for the following IT system. These fills must correspond to the developer application. Many individuals believe that the business analyst should seek the solution to the "what" issue rather than the "how" question.

3. Analyzing business problems and making recommendations

During a client interview, new or old problems related to a process may emerge. "We do it this way because we didn't have the opportunity to..." previously. In such circumstances, it is best to address the problem and discuss with the client how ideal it would be now that the processes could change. This issue frequently has an impact on the operation of the company, and not only are the processes implemented in the IT system, but the development of the IT system has an impact on the business processes and alters (optimizes) them.

Additionally, emerging business problems should be documented, and if a customer request is received, a suggestion should be given as to which process should be changed and how.

4. Contacting the client

A business analyst's responsibilities include customer contact from the beginning to the end of a project. It can happen in many different ways in organizations. To clarify, at the start of the project, the business analyst can create a project organizational chart that contains all the actors. This includes both contractor and client actors. In addition to the organizational chart, you can determine who communicates with whom, how often, and over what channel.

The business analyst, on the other hand, is crucial to my client's relationship because, in my opinion, he or she is the person who best understands the client, the client's needs, and the client's intentions.

Most importantly, customer communication necessitates excellent communication abilities.

5. System analysis tasks

During and after customer negotiations, the business analyst performs system analysis tasks. The scope of these tasks can differ from one company to another from one project to the next. However, the results of system analysis are manifested in a functional specification, system design, interface specification, or other system organization documentation for the majority of projects.

Based on the requirements, a good business analyst sets up a system, process, and IT solution that perfectly meets the needs of the customer. It accomplishes all of this while making the task clear, easy to interpret and understand for the development team.

The following are the most common types of documents:

  • Functional specification
  • Logical system design
  • Logical data model
  • Interface specification
  • Test scenarios, test plans (if the business analyst participates in the testing in the project)

6. Handling new requirements

In the worst-case scenario, the customer's new demands are easily incorporated into the project, and the developers are already prepared to implement them.

This is extremely dangerous because it can jeopardize the project's completion deadline, costs, or even the operation of the IT system. To that end, it is recommended that a process be developed through which each new customer request is routed to the business analysis. Basically, he can estimate the resource requirements for implementing the new need and determine whether it fits the application from an organizational standpoint. Moreover, if the project has a separate project manager, it must clearly demonstrate the new customer demand.

IT business analyst role - Bluebird

Finally, the new customer request could be a CR (change request), a specification change, or it could result in the customer withdrawing the change request after consultation.

What knowledge and skills do you need to be a good BA?

IT Business analyst - Bluebird blog

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