1 June 2013
A business analyst is the mediating factor between the organization and the IT department. His main role is to analyze the current state of the organization and plan, based on this analysis, Information systems, objectives, strategy etc. In the following section of the article I will discuss the question: what does a business analyst contribute to the organization and how is this contribution manifested. This question is important since for many years organizations have gotten along just fine without business analysts.
The business analyst's contribution to an organization
Generally speaking, the objective of a business analysis is to identify changes in the organization's needs and its conduct. The role of a business analyst in this context is to characterize a change process suitable for the organization and to manage it so that it is actualized and assimilated optimally for all relevant interested parties.
The business analyst's work can affect both on the level of the organization's units (It department, business units, change management departments) and on the level of the essence of the change and process-defining strategy, changing organizational structure, setting goals for projects and supporting the improvement of processes and technologies.
In addition to his/her direct contribution in this position, the business analyst serves as an agent of change and business analysis is a discipline to instill and manage change in the organization.
Why is it so important to integrate a business analyst in addition to a systems analyst?
Systems analysts are aimed at one target, which is the product intended for the organization's development teams. This product is manifested in the writing of work documents, system characterization and architectural drafts intended for the development personnel. Therefore, the 'language' the systems analyst will mainly use is the 'language' of development, which is spoken by both the analyst and the development department. This means that the systems analyst usually 'speaks' a language foreign to most of his customers (management, business units, etc). A business analyst, on the other hand, is by definition aimed at the organization and its members. The analyst deals with comprehending and analyzing the organization's needs and designing the organizational conduct. The product of this work is meant for the organization and as such is written in the organization's language.
And indeed, many organizations worldwide have begun to understand in the last few years that a systems analyst does not provide the organization with a sufficient solution and the situation requires the integration of a business analyst. These organizations understood that analyzing a knowledge system has substantial financial implications and that a business analyst is vital in managing a process and adapting it to the organization (and not only development units). And so little by little business analysis is becoming an integral and important profession in organizations. In some cases, integrating business analysts will be done via integrating knowledge workers or by assigning designated position holders to the subject.
A business analyst is an important factor for an organization facing meaningful changes of any sort. Her/his objective is to mediate and organize the assigned fields in the organization, to learn the organization's structure, its policy and actions and recommend different business solutions (whether technological solutions or organizational changes) that enable the organization to achieve its objectives. The analyst also deals with instilling into the organization changes that are not necessarily technology oriented into the organization. This, I believe, is its edge over the systems analyst.