The Business Analyst

When people think about projects, it’s usually the role of Project Manager which springs to mind. So where does the Business Analyst fit in?

To answer this question, we should first consider how the role came about. Business analysis has its origins in information technology; with the growth in the use of information systems to improve business operations and management decision-making, the need arose for someone to act as a bridge between the business and the delivery/technical team. This individual would facilitate discussions between the stakeholders and would define and translate requirements with a view to ensuring that the proposed system changes would result in the desired business outcomes.

Enter the Business Analyst.

Over time, this role has evolved to become more rounded and the presence of a Business Analyst can enhance any project, not just those involving system implementations. This is because the Business Analyst’s attention will be focused on areas that include:

defining the scope – this will ensure that everyone is on the same page, both at the start of the project and as it progresses. A well-defined scope will help to keep the project on track, manage requirements, allow any changes in direction to be a conscious decision and achieve the desired outcomes in line with budget and timescales.
mapping the ‘as is’ and ‘to be’ processes – understanding how processes are currently being carried out and what the end state processes will look like will help to identify improvements and efficiencies. Analysing the gaps between the two processes will provide guidance on the steps that will need to be taken as part of the project.
defining the high-level requirements – the information determined whilst mapping processes and analysing the gaps will help to define the business requirements and will provide the basis for the business case and business requirements documents.

Whilst the Business Analyst can also contribute with testing and training business users, it isn’t uncommon to find an experienced Business Analyst overlapping into the role of Project Manager. Here they can deliver and track key activities that they may have identified at the development stages of an initiative.

At Magellan, our Business Analysts work to understand an organisation’s needs by working with and listening to stakeholders. They are able to utilise their skills to elicit and analyse requirements to drive the project forwards, working in partnership with the Project Manager.

Our Business Analysts hold the BCS International Diploma in Business Analysis with the Chartered Institute for IT. Watch out for a future post which will provide some more background to this important qualification.