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It is quite tricky to differentiate between a System Analyst and a Business Analyst (BA). While in some organisations the role is quite defined, in others the difference does not exist. The title itself is not so conclusive. The term ‘Business Analyst’ and ‘System Analyst’ can be interchanged and regularly misunderstood. Nevertheless, the fact is that the two roles are very distinct and perform different duties which require specific skill sets, and these roles only get more elaborate, depending upon the size of the organisation you are associated with. Analytical skills, Planning Skills, Team Work, Innovative skills are some overlapping skill sets between a system analyst and a business analyst.
According to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge, there are many jobs or titles that may perform business analysis, like a Business Architect, Business Consultant, Process Analyst, Requirement Analyst.
To further give an elaborate……,
A Business Analyst working within an organisation will use the business analysis fundamentals to understand the stakeholder’s perspective and requirements and will assess them for possible roadblocks so that eventually an appropriate solution can be achieved.
We can take the same definition further and say, a business analyst working in IT, will address the challenges of the business and recommend developing and implementing certain IT systems, as an initiative to improve and enhance productivity and performance.
Now enters the System Analyst, who becomes responsible for outlining the technical aspects of the developed IT system or platform, and how easily the developed system or platform is integrated among the company’s requirement.
The main objective of a Business Analyst is to understand and detect business opportunities that can positively impact business operations. In addition, it is also expected out of a business analyst to endorse technology wherever applicable, to create better productivity and output for the organisation. Basically, a business analyst has to understand the perspective and language of the stakeholders. A Business Analyst should have a keen observation to pick up inadequacies of a business and become a link between the stakeholder and the IT department. A Business Analyst might not speak in IT jargons but should have enough knowledge to assess and communicate the needs of the stakeholder’s, from business requirements to software requirements.
The role of a System Analyst is to use IT systems and platforms in an organisation, and partner with the goal of the stakeholders, helping them to achieve the strategic business objective. Thus a system analyst will have to choose the most appropriate platform or technology to meet all the functional requirements. An SA will use the principles of structured analysis, sampling and accounting to ensure that the offered resolution is effective and financially worthwhile.
In terms of knowledge, A Business Analyst is expected to be excellent in understanding the working specifics in the area they are associated with. They need to have a sound understanding of business regulation, customers profile etc…, while it is not expected out of an SA to acquire this information, more so when the associated organisation has a BA in their team. Strong communication skills, analytical know how, modelling techniques, is common amongst the two. It is not expected out of a BA to have sound knowledge of IT infrastructure and system landscape.
So to sum it up, while the two roles are separate depending on the organisation, there could be an overlap or an inter-cross while working on a project. Irrespective of the title, it is healthy, that one is aware of the job responsibilities that both the specialists perform and the objective of their role.