A bridge between business systems to functional implementation of technical solutions. Sounds tough? That’s exactly what business analysts do. But if you’re struggling with combining business needs with technology, they may be the ones to help.
The modern business world is fast-paced, and rapid change is something that all businesses must be able to deal with in order to seamlessly abandon outdated practices and move toward new-age technologies, which are essential for releasing competitive digital products. An important part of dealing with change is the ability to leverage existing technology capabilities to achieve a variety of business objectives, and that is where Business Analysts come in.
Often described as an information conduit, a Business Analyst, also called a BA, is someone whose main focus is to help a business deal with change by practicing business analysis, a research discipline that involves identifying business needs and determining solutions to business problems.
The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), a non-profit professional association formed with the purpose of supporting and promoting the discipline of business analysis, defines business analysis as “a disciplined approach for introducing and managing change to organizations, whether they are for-profit businesses, governments, or non-profits.”
Being a catalyst for change, a Business Analyst must be a skilled problem solver with a keen understanding of how the business operates and the ability to bridge the gap between information technology and the business using a broad range of business analysis skills and techniques.
A good Business Analyst is never shackled by the way things are because he or she is a visionary with the ability to imagine a clear path toward a very different future. This often separates Business Analysts from other employees, who tend to cling to the status quo and resist change as much as possible. Because a Business Analyst is likely to encounter a considerable amount of resistance, he or she should have thick skin and be ready for his or her ideas to be shot down.
Fundamentally, a Business Analyst deals with facts and data—not wishful thinking and unsupported assumptions. As such, a detail- and data-oriented mindset is a huge advantage, helping Business Analysts identify important details and diligently document everything. However, a good Business Analyst knows which details to leave out and which to stress when communicating with other stakeholders, including the Product Owner.
The question, “What is a Business Analyst?” is fairly easy to answer, but how much does a Business Analyst make? To find out, we have analyzed data from Glassdoor, a provider of information about salary and benefits.
According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for a Business Analyst is $69,163 in the United States, and the information is based on 52,098 salaries submitted anonymously to Glassdoor by Business Analyst employees. Senior Business Analysts have it even better because they earn $88,436 on average.
Compare the two figures with the average junior developer salary, which is just $65,951, and it is easy to see why so many people-oriented critical thinkers want to become Business Analysts instead of pursuing a career in software development.
Now that the question, “What is a Business Analyst?” has been answered, it is time to answer another important question: what does a Business Analyst do?
“I usually describe what a BA does by telling people I am a bridge between business systems from the end user to functional implementation of technical solutions,” says Jay Michael, a Business Analyst for Colfax. “But when you tell somebody that, they look at you like ’OK, what do you really do?’”
According to the BABOK Guide produced by the IIBA, a Business Analyst seeks to understand how a business functions to help it accomplish its business objectives. A Business Analyst is often assigned to a project for an early stage, and it is not uncommon for a Business Analyst to work on multiple projects at the same time.
After being assigned to a project and gaining an understanding of relevant business processes and the project’s goals, the Business Analyst helps refine the problem the project is trying to solve by creating comprehensive documentation and comparing it with established policy, procedures, and protocols.
Next, the Business Analyst gathers the team together and helps it brainstorm a solution that meets all requirements gathered from stakeholders. The Business Analyst continues to interact with stakeholders and subject matter experts during the development of the solution, educating the team involved in the project on the requirements and managing any changes to the project scope throughout the project lifecycle.
Finally, the Business Analyst conducts user acceptance testing on behalf of the customer once the software product is ready to ensure the technical work meets the business needs. Of course, all projects are different, which is why there are many possible answers to the question, “What does a Business Analyst do?”
In this article, we have answered the question, “What is a Business Analyst?” and explained what a Business Analyst actually does.
In short, BAs help companies to keep up with the rapid market changes. They perform business analysis, identify the specific needs of businesses and determine solutions.
Considering how much the average Business Analyst makes, it is hardly a surprise that so many people-oriented critical thinkers are considering embarking on this interesting career path filled with opportunities.
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