Business Analyst Basics
In this business analyst basics tutorial, you will learn – what is business analysis, role of a business analyst & responsibilities of a business analyst. Business analysts have been gaining importance in the IT industry, especially in the last few years. This trend is expected to become better in the coming years.
They play an important role by enabling the customer organizations implement a software solution effectively and efficiently. Business analysts work as an intermediary between the customer and the software teams to understand & capture the requirements and communicate with the technology team.
This blog post on business analyst basics is intended for any professional (IT or non-IT professional), who would like to become a business analyst.
What is Business Analysis?
International Institute of business analysis (IIBA), Canada defines business analysis as:
Business Analysis is the practice of enabling change in an organizational context, by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders.
Business analysis is the discipline of identifying business needs, determining the best-fit solution and measuring the effectiveness of the solution. Business analysis comprises of three key elements as shown below:
Problem Analysis and Definition
The first element of business analysis is to understand the problem/needs of the customer. This is possibly the most important element of business analysis practice. Identifying the correct problem is necessary before we can attempt to solve it.
Albert Einstein once said,
“If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it,”
Nothing highlights the importance of using right techniques and methodology to understand the problems or needs, correctly. Needs are high level problem statements or business goals. The needs must be detailed out to help the software development team to develop a software application. The detailed version of needs is referred to as requirements. We will discuss requirements and how does it evolve, in the tutorial later.
The second element of business analysis is to determine – how to address or to solve the customer needs. Evaluation of a solution can be conducted on multiple parameters, some of them are as shown below:
- Cost vs benefit
- Risks analysis
- Financial analysis like Net present value
- Features of the solution & others…
Basic evaluation can be done based on cost and benefits (popularly known as Build vs Buy). How does it help the customer? This analysis helps in taking a decision to develop a solution from scratch or buy a product from the market.
For example, a customer may decide to develop a Financial accounting system from scratch or may decide to buy a product like SAP, Oracle E-Business suite or Tally.
PS: The actual development and implementation of the solution is done by technology team and is not part of business analysis practice directly
The third and last element of business analysis is about measuring the solution effectiveness. This is done by planning and implementing the ways to measure “What was supposed to be achieved as business goal?”.
For example, if the customer organization wishes to improve the revenue in a state by USD 1 million, this is a rather straight forward measurement.
Similarly, we can ascertain the metrics (the parameters to measure) and capture the data to compute the metrics, once the solution is implemented. The actual values of metrics vs the expected value of the metrics indicates the success or failure of the solution. Corrective measures can be taken to fix the problem.
In this chapter, We discussed the business analysis practice and its elements. Now We will focus IT business analyst and their role and responsibilities:
- Who is a business analyst? Who is an IT business analyst?
- What does an IT business analyst do? What are the roles & responsibilities of a business analyst?
- What are the required skills of a business analyst?
Who is a business Analyst?
A business analyst is a professional who is engaged in the business analysis activities. A business analyst may not be conducting all the business analysis activities in every project or initiative. However, a business analyst must be aware of these skills.
The focus of this tutorial course is to discuss the Business Analyst role in the IT industry.
Role of an IT business analyst
An IT business analyst works with customer as well as technology team on a day-to-day basis. The diagram below shows high-level view of an IT business analyst role:
An IT business analyst works as an intermediary between the customer and the technology team to understand the customer needs and communicate it to the technology team.
Business Analyst’s Responsibilities
A business analyst performs multiple tasks during the software development process. We can list down the key responsibilities of a business analyst as below:
- Eliciting Requirements: One of the primary responsibilities of a business analyst is to co-ordinate with the stakeholders to gather requirements for a software system. Business analysts use one or more of the elicitation techniques to do so. Eliciting requirements involves multiple steps and we are going to discuss it in detail.
- Preparing Requirements Specifications: Once the requirements are understood, analysed and reviewed, a document is prepared in the appropriate format for the stakeholders as well as for the software development team to take it forward.
- Managing requirements and changes to the requirements: Requirements need to be kept up-to-date throughout the life of the software in existence. Requirements can be managed using techniques such as RTT, Backlogs etc. It’s quite common to have changes to the requirements during the software development lifecycle and business analysts handle the changes to the requirements using a defined change request process.
- Functional Testing: Business analysts also conduct functional or system level testing, where they check the business processes and scenarios before the system is handed over to the customer for User acceptance testing (UAT). The customer team tests the software before accepting it for their usage.
- UAT Co-ordination: During the testing conducted by the customer stakeholders, the business analyst co-ordinates with the technology team to get the defects fixed.
The diagram shows the responsibilities of a business analyst:
In this business analyst basics tutorial, we discussed about the business analysis fundamentals, role of a business analyst and its responsibilities.
If you are a business analyst aspirant, you may like to know about the certifications. Refer to the article- Business analyst certification for beginners.
A list of Free business analyst training courses may also be a useful resource for you on this Techcanvass Blog. These free courses will help you to build on the learnings from this business analyst basics tutorial.
You can explore this blog for more articles, resources, videos and certification exam resources.
Techcanvass offers IT certification courses for professionals. We are an IIBA endorsed education provider (EEP), iSQI ATP (for Certified Agile Business Analyst Training) as well as Agile Testing alliance partner for CP-SAT certification training in Selenium.
We have a Business analyst training course with domain training in-built into it. This training program offers you the opportunity to get certified with ECBA certification as well as have banking domain understanding.