Business analyst finds out where you are wasting time and money
What to do when business development is stagnant, and employees are overloaded? How to divide competences in teams so that they do not overlap? Processes get complicated over time and even the person who invented them no longer understands them? Whatever the company is struggling with, business analysis will solve these problems. But how do you know a good business analyst? What output should he or she turn in, and what all can he or she help with?
A good business analyst pulls information from a variety of sources, combines it and evaluates it. He negotiates the needs of stakeholders and translates them into unified requirements. He mediates between groups that are refuting each other’s needs. He brings people together and, most importantly, proposes changes himself. Communicates across the company, from production to the CEO. He can explain the same problem and its solution to people in different job roles so that they understand it correctly.
A business analyst must have:
- Analytical thinking and problem solving skills
- Ability to communicate
- Knowledge of the business they are analysing
- Knowledge of technology and tools in the marketplace
The Business Analyst assists across the organization. He/she knows the business processes, has an overview of the company, knows the business strategy and can define its short and long term goals. Identifies and manages risks. He is able to promote changes in the company.
There is also an IT business analyst, whose knowledge is more intertwined in the system support of business processes. He can technically translate suggestions into requirements. He is proficient in software, process and data analysis. He can prototype, simulate, measure and evaluate.
Specific requirements for a business analyst from practice
Most managers make the following strategic requirements. “We want to expand into foreign markets. We want to introduce a new product line. We need to save 10% of costs. What are our short-term and long-term goals?”
The strategic requirements are followed by tactical ones: “What tactics and techniques will we use to achieve our goals? What are the risks and how do we manage them? How do we promote the changes so that all employees embrace them? Conversely, operations has these requirements: ‘We need to improve part of the system/subsystem/software/hardware. Can we help ourselves by buying more modern technology, deploying robotic solutions? We know we have leaky processes and inefficient production, how do we change this?”.
The role of business analysts is to materialize the requirement and see that it is fulfilled in its entirety so that value is added.
Assistance at any stage of the project
Even at the beginning of many projects, it happens that the owner fails to describe his investment plan in such a way that a full business case document with a vision, defined KPIs and objectives is created. A business analyst will help to write the reasons for implementation, set out the objectives, write down the advantages and disadvantages, calculate the costs and risks. Likewise, he or she will determine the guidelines and define the competency matrix, who will communicate with whom.
In the next phase of the project, when the project plan and project documentation are being prepared, the business analyst can help with the creation of the following documents: a list of stakeholder activities, a structured list of requirements, a feasibility analysis, or a GAP analysis to find discrepancies between potential and actual goals. Alternatively, write an implementation study that describes both the AS-IS and TO-BE status.
In technical support, on the shop floor, whether it’s IT, a manufacturing company, or a business, the goal is to deploy a new product version, streamline processes, speed up software, or expand production. In technical support, on the shop floor, whether it’s IT, a manufacturing company, or a business, the goal is to deploy a new product version, streamline processes, speed up software, or expand production. At the same time, he or she has to keep all active requirements up-to-date so that what is no longer up-to-date is not implemented. This is the only way to achieve the greatest added value.
This includes data collection and advanced data analysis methods: aggregation, cleaning, sorting, forecasting, simulation, etc. The advantage of a business analyst is when they know SQL.
A business analyst can also handle management support, i.e., manage the entire project so that all requirements are met and costs are covered. Whether it is project management or quality assurance, i.e. overseeing the quality of the product or service being delivered. This includes testing, whether it is integration or user testing.
In the last phase of the project, management is interested in evaluation, functional benefits and return on investment. The job of the business analyst is to articulate the value added and list the benefits that are measurable.
But the work does not end with a one-off setup of business processes. Most companies underestimate their maintenance and development. A good business analyst can help with that too.
Business consultant and analyst who has been working in IT for 18 years and has experience with domestic and international projects. He specializes in consulting including implementation of methodologies in companies, solution architecture, metamodeling, process and system optimization. Check out the reference stories he has been involved in.