What is a Business Analyst (BA)?
The word Business Analyst has a different meaning in different companies.
As a business analyst in a technology consultant company, here is my take on explaining.
BAs facilitate collaboration between the business team and the development team. #
Businesses always have needs which some can be satisfied by technology. When a business team wants something, they ask a development team to build for them.
As both teams have different ways of thinking, working, and communicating, working together can be challenging.
BAs put themselves there to ensure that both teams can work together and do something worthwhile.
BAs have 2 primary duties: #
(1) To understand business needs #
BAs usually first spend most of their time understanding the business needs, in the form of problems or opportunities.
BAs work with the business team to identify the need that is wanted to satisfy.
If the need is ambiguous, BAs will clarify it with business teams.
If the need is too big and complicated, BAs will help business teams to break the need down into simple and smaller ones.
If the business team focuses solution that they want, BA will try to find out the actual business needs.
(2) Recommend and deliver solutions #
After the BA has identified and understood the need, they will co-design the appropriate solution with the development team.
As the business need has appropriately communicated to the development team, the team can recommend and deliver a practical solution that brings the most value.
By making sure that everyone is on the same page, the business team will get their need satisfied, with the most appropriate solution given the expertise of the development team.
Note that it’s imperative for BA to communicate the business needs, instead of a solution that the business wants. #
A classic situation is when the business team firmly suggests a solution, and ask the BA to tell the development team to build it.
If the BA doesn’t try to understand the needs, this can lead to a tricky situation.
In most cases, the business team is not a technology expert; therefore, the solution that they foresee may not be feasible, efficient, nor effective.
Also, as the development team doesn’t know the actual business needs, they don’t have a chance to suggest what can be done better, using their expertise.
The result is an ineffective solution, and unmet business needs with wasted time and money.
To sum it up, BAs exist to enable real changes to enterprises! #
Business Analysts do business analysis tasks to make sure that the business team gets the value that they are looking for. The tasks are usually (1) To understand business needs and (2) Recommend and deliver solutions with the development team.
Note that not every project has a BA, and that’s okay. It just means that other roles will take up the business analysis tasks instead.