The Importance of the Business Analyst Role

02.22.2012

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The Business Analyst role will be one of the most important roles in IT this year. It is a position that plays a critical role in deciphering the future for many businesses. To date the role has not been widely recognized as a profession in its own right – with other players such as finance managers, software architects and project managers being seen as taking the lead.

A Business Analyst acts as a bridge between business ideas and business capabilities; creating and scoping valuable changes and optimizations to business processes. Typically driven by conducting ‘performance capability assessments’, or ‘feasibility studies’, the Business Analyst regularly appraises business performance. Such reviews appraise capabilities ranging from  those visible to the customer through to those embedded deep in the manufacturing process.

Traditionally, in our technology driven business world, a large proportion of the changes and optimizations relate to software systems – and so teams in the organization responsible for creating, maintaining and delivering IT systems, are a primary focus. Conventionally, this has proven to be a difficult relationship, with challenging communication issues or mis-interpretations that often lead to wasted effort or scrapped projects. According to The Standish Group, this mis-communication can result in as much as 40% of the overall effort being wasted, on average.

Companies view quality as something that happens at the end of a project. This is classic ‘waterfall’ thinking – specify, create and then test. This has proven to be a poor approach. The success rates of projects working in this fashion are no higher on average than 40% (Chaos report, Standish Group 2011) – meaning missed end-client deadlines, issues with customer satisfaction and large amounts of wasted effort. A better mindset is “quality IS the work”. This culture and approach means that every part of the supply chain feels its own responsibility for the end result.

The Micro Focus Borland solutions enable Business Analysts to precisely and richly capture business requirements that are collaboratively shared with development teams. The development teams use these requirements directly to identify needs, relationships and priorities, within the business systems such that changes and optimizations are implemented in the most practical and efficient way possible. When standards and consistent approaches are used across the company, there is a greater clarity about how requirements are captured, documented and assessed, which ultimately leads to a far greater project success rate and a higher quality end-user experience.

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