It is all about change.
There is a problem that needs to be solved. Sales needs support for the new marketing initiative. HR wants the employees to be able to manage their own United Fund and other charity deductions online. Marketing needs to change the mailing preferences to allow customers to “opt out” of various publications to be in conformance with new regulations. The accounts payable system is old and slow and getting more inaccurate by the day. The business wants these problems solved.
People running businesses do not have the time to research, investigate and determine the best way of solving the problems. Besides, the current solutions require automation, computers, software, et cetera. The business does not do those things. They do not have the expertise. Business people do not want code. They do not want systems. They do not want networks. What they want is a solution to their business problem.
IT will make it happen. The forces of computer technology will write the software, define and populate the databases, connect the networks, and add hardware. All IT needs to know is what it is that the business wants done.
Who is defining what will be done to solve the problem? Who defines the solution in such a way that the business can agree with the solution and the technologists can understand what is to be done? And when the technology is ready for the business, there will be a change. Who will make sure the change is made efficiently and the transition from the current to new process is smooth?
The answer to these questions is the business analyst. “Business Analysts are one of your organization’s most valuable resources.”
The primary responsibility and goal of the business analyst is to add value to the organization by solving business problems. The business analyst adds value by:
- Acting as an intermediary who moves the problem in the business to the IT solution,
- Acting as a filter of business problems to keep the organization from wasting time and energy on unneeded projects,
- Investigating the real problem so that time and energy are not wasted solving the wrong problem,
- Making the process of determining problems in the business easier and more efficient,
- Providing information to upper-level management to make their decision making faster and more effective,
- Getting the business managers and process workers to talk directly to the technicians and technologists with full understanding to reduce time and miscommunication,
- Creating an environment where there is an unfettered flow of information between business units and between business and IT which increases quality of overall operations in the organization,
- Assisting management in identifying and resolving conflict which redirects energy to more creative and productive results,
- Applying analytical and creative thinking to ensure the organization is making the best decisions and acting on the best solutions to problems,
- Identifying areas in the organization that need improvement and leading the change to develop and implement those improvements,
- Assuring the product developed by the solution team solves the intended problem, and
- Orchestrating the transition from the current business operations to the changed operations so that the organization gains the benefits of the new process as quickly as possible.
The business analyst’s marching orders are thus:
- There is a problem – define it.
- There is a solution to that problem – describe it.
- We need a change to the organization to successfully implement that solution – make it happen.