A business analyst is a person who observes, documents and analyses the processes of an organisation, identifies any faults, then guides the implementation of a change within the organisation to improve the functioning of the organisation and in doing so, add value to the organisation. A business analyst is also the interface between the IT and business function of an organisation and can act as an intermediary between the two.
According to Robert Half, a recruitment agency, a business analyst’s job description is to:
- Create a business analysis, outlining problems, solutions and opportunities
- Budget and forecast
- Plan and monitor
- Analyse variants
- Establish pricing
- Define business requirements and report back to stakeholders
A business analyst is also responsible for identifying and prioritising technical and functional requirements and using that information to keep the IT function of the business apprised so that they understand what the client wants.
There are many specialisations business analysts can have. A business developer would be able to identify the needs of an organisation and the opportunities that the organisation can take advantage of to generate value for themselves in the long term. A business model analyst analyses and improves the organisation’s policies and marketing approaches, helping the organisation capture value in economic, social and cultural contexts. A business analyst specialising in process design aims to standardize and streamline an organisation’s workflows by integrating activities with each other or removing obsolete or unnecessary activities so that the organisation has a quicker and more efficient workflow. Finally, a systems analyst serves as the intermediary and defines system requirements by interpreting customers and business rules so that IT teams can produce a product, service or end-result that satisfies the end-user.
A business analyst can be used in almost every facet of an organisation to generate value as business analysts possess a multitude of skills that can be applied to an organisation to improve the organisation as a whole, such as the ability to analyse stakeholders, the capacity for analytical thinking and problem solving, being detail-oriented and having good knowledge of business structures.
Business analysts are powerful tools for an organisation that when used properly, can generate immense value by streamlining workflows, improve policies and helping to ensure that the needs of customers are correctly interpreted and acted upon. Business analysts can be used universally in many different industries as they do not have pre-defined, fixed roles and can be used dynamically to improve whichever component of a business requires the skills and knowledge of a business analyst.