Traditionally, business analysts have worked for information technology departments, providing a bridge to the business users IT is tasked with supporting. The role is evolving, however, and expanding beyond IT to bridge a variety of gaps formed by inefficient, insufficient or ineffective processes. Business analysts focus their time learning about organizational goals and processes, and then determining how processes can be improved with technology or other solutions designed to take greater advantage of inputs and to produce consistently high quality outputs.
Business analysts liaise with all levels in the workplace, from administrators to executives, with the goal of learning about business requirements from those actually doing the work being studied. These analysts must communicate effectively across the organization, which isn’t always easy since every department has function-specific acronyms and terms. Business analysts need to ask a lot of questions to make sure they accurately record how things are being done currently and what needs to be done going forward. No gaps should remain after the solution is designed.
Business process studies are documented using word processing applications, spreadsheets, flow charts and data modeling tools. Documents are created to depict existing process steps, inputs and outputs, along with business stakeholder requirements and expectations. Requirements documents must capture the existing business environment as well as future needs based on projections provided by the stakeholders. An IT business analyst might also document the IT functional and technical aspects of the solution.
Business analysts often work on IT projects involving the introduction of new applications or systems improvements. Such projects begin with the business analyst gathering stakeholder requirements. The business analyst might then design the technical solution or provide the requirements documentation to system architects or developers to perform the needed design work. After requirements have been translated into designs and technologies have been configured to meet the designs, the business analyst is generally involved in testing to validate that the solution is effective.
Training and Technical Guides
The role of business analysts with requirements gathering means they develop a strong understanding of the needs of the business users involved in a particular study or project. This understanding means the analysts are perfectly suited for developing users’ guides and manuals or other training materials. Analysts might also be expected to develop technical documentation for use by IT staff members for ongoing system maintenance and future development.
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