What Business Analysts Do?

Most of us have heard the term "business analyst", but seldom people know what their expertise or roles are. According to the BABOK Guide by the International Institute of Business Analysis, business analysis is “knowing how organizations function to accomplish their objectives and defining the capabilities an organization needs to produce products and services to external stakeholders”. In short, they bring about the change stakeholders want to see in their organization.

Explaining all the things a business analyst do might not be helpful as this varies from industry to industry. However, there are a few, critical aspects of their role that span across industries and are specific to their key skills. They comprise of:

Understanding the Business
A business analyst training courses are primarily required to understand the organization and the way it works in the current scenario. In the second stage, they plan a road-map that details the ideal future of the company, in-line with the inputs of project team members, leaders, stakeholders, and subject matter experts.

One important thing they can do is that they can ask dumb questions without actually looking stupid. These questions often help to devise easier ways to take the organization where it needs to be.

The next thing a business analyst has to do is documentation of the current process to help solve the problem they are trying to refine. These documents involve modelling of the current system using diagrams. These models help to figure out the difference between actual and established protocols.

Devising the Solution
After proper understanding of the business and its requirements, brainstorming sessions are led by the business analyst to devise a solution for the problem. Researches are conducted both inside and outside of the organisation. Data analysts participate in the requirements gathering process to ensure his/her knowledge has the depth and context demanded by the problem.

Zeroing in on the best solution for the problem statement given to them, is the responsibility of a business analyst. A business analyst should also translate the organization-specific lingo into the terms that engineers can keep in their mind. To do this, rudimentary understanding of technical systems and their working is recommended. Various tools such as Gap Analysis, Root Cause Analysis, and Business Process Modelling can be used to compare the different solutions.

Blend Business with Technology
The job of a business analyst does not end with implementing the solution. They have to make sure that the technical operations meet the business needs of the organization. For that, involvement in system testing and creation of user manual are common practices followed by the analysts.

Business analysts offer choices to the organization without being afraid of ideas being shot down. They collect every data about each process and pick at every facet to see how things work. These people work as a catalyst for the change in the organization. With their documentation and analysis skills, they give valuable suggestions to the organization.

First, they understand the organization, its processes and goals and then implement the changes they need. This quote especially pertinent to the role that business analysts play when Stephen Covey’s fifth habit of highly successful people: “Try first to understand, then to be understood.”

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