Alastair Majury Business Analyst

What Exactly Is a Business Analyst, Anyway?

To start things off; let's say that, in case you where to ask ten distinct HR Professionals exactly what a Business Analyst is, which you would likely get about 10 distinct answers. Well that is basically the problem that the emerging field of "Business Analysis" is confronting. Thus, to find just a little clarity on the matter, let's start by dividing all analysts to the two main categories; business (non-technical) and technical. These will be the two main divisions within the title. This is not to say that one is not able to or on occasion required to operate on both sides of the fence. This only goes to demonstrate just how perplexing the name "Business Analyst" really is.
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The first facet of the very wide coin is the company side. This will be those professionals who employ a specific methodology to provide solutions that increase the value of an organization or a small business.

The other side of the coin is going to be the IT or Technical side. Now, this side has a basic use of implementing specific methodologies to provide "technical" solutions to issues, which increases the ability of the business, which subsequently increases the value of a company. Confused yet? OK, moving on.

Many times analysts have been hired to not only find the problems but to also supply alternatives. This is a very different part than a project manager. As a general rule a company will acquire the services of a professional or a company to address a particular issue or problem that it's facing. The analyst will then visit the company, collect data, apply methodologies and principles, and create a solution. At this time a requirements analyst will assess the needs and requirements (this may or might not be included in the solutions originally provided). This information is then passed on to a Project Manger. The PM will then follow their methodologies that are proven and techniques to produce the final product on budget and on time, hopefully.

Basically to explain what a company analyst would be, we must spell out the work that a business analyst does. Since it is irrelevant whether the title is business analyst, process analyst, requirements analyst, operations analyst, business systems analyst, systems analyst, advisor, programmer/analyst, etc; the sole thing which makes a analyst an analyst is the systematic approach to issues and solutions through classified methodic principles.

Only a Couple of the characteristics of a BA is that the analyst;

Works with businesses to identify improvement opportunities in processes or operations

Gathers, documents, and assesses needs and requirements that a company may have

The BA solves problems that companies have

There are different organizations that create or stick to accepted standards of training in the field of company analysis. One of which would be the certifying agency of the International Institute of Business Analysis another would be the Object Management Group. These organizations will adhere strictly to certain methodologies that when properly employed will lead not only the analyst, but their clients, to a successful result regardless of current situations. Methodologies can fluctuate greatly depending on the areas of the particular analyst or firm. No single methodology is wrong or right; however do keep in mind that you will find several well defined sets of disciplines that can be verified using a simple internet search. If an analyst claims to use a specific system or discipline, check out.

So merely to sum up everything, a company analyst is basically defined as someone who performs certain tasks to make your business easier. Like it has been said earlier, in case you've got an issue with your vehicle, you find an automobile mechanic. In case you have a problem with your health, you locate a physician. In case you've got a issue with your business, you find a business analyst.

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