Re: What is a Business Analyst?

Subject: Re: What is a Business Analyst?
From: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Sun, 04 Nov 2012 15:59:46 -0800

A Functional Analyst, according to the Google Doc, analyzes a system while it is being built so it can be documented. A Business Analyst analyzes some part of the business that is used but not documented (if it was documented, then people could just read about it), whether that part of the business is in the business systems, processes, procedures, operations, or any other facet of the business. Essentially, a business analyst is an analyst after a system is in place, while other types of analysts work before or during system development.

Just like there are technical writers for different parts of technology (or wherever the technical writer happens to be) from design through development through operations and to the end user, there are business analysts for different parts of the business.

Business analysts differ from other types of analysts in that they must often become SMEs for the part of the business being analyzed rather than work with SMEs. Business analysts typically do not have much to go on.

What happens too often in a business is that a system (processes, procedures, technology, operations, or anything else that a business uses to function) is put in place with specific directions for how to use it and over time, the application and use of the system changes so that it does not reflect its original design. Business analysts figure out what is really happening and communicate that for either continued use as the system is being used or for re-engineering the system.

I think that more business analysts are necessary now for the predictions that I have made over the past couple of years. Businesses have pared down their documentation and communication efforts to cut costs and have made ad hoc changes to their systems to respond to financial and other needs. Without anyone available to effectively document these changes as the business progressed, businesses now need to analysts to derive the various components of the business that the business is using to function and to determine what the business has abandoned.

This has happened before, where businesses quit documenting their systems during economic downturns, but had to hire expensive consultants to help them understand their own systems after they had enough income again. Some of my best contracts were in doing this job, although clients often did not have an accurate name for the job.

One of my favorite contracts was in 1998 where I was hired to be a technical editor but the actual job wound up being business analysis. The "technical writers" were essentially SME consultants with varied writing skills who did not bother to analyze the client's business and only related how they would do things. Suffice it to say, I had a lot of interviews with the client's SMEs to compile the "as-is" environment of the client's system, the "how it should be" from the consultants, the management requirements, the gaps everywhere, and what needed to be in place so the system could be integrated into a larger system. I had fun.


On 11/4/2012 9:45 AM, sphilip wrote:

By one of those strange moments of serendipity, I happened to come across this today on a totally different mission, which seems to answer the question (see the description for 'Functional Analyst'):
...

On 5 Nov 2012, at 00:33, Reshma <reshma_pendse -at- yahoo -dot- co -dot- in> wrote:
Business analyst In software development Can also be someone who liases with product management to define and detail functional and technical specs or requirements for the product. Is that the role you are asking about?
...

On 04-Nov-2012, at 6:36 AM, Keith Hood <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:
Business analysis of course varies from place to place. In my experience, BA work mostly involves process definition. You have to figure out how the company is doing things, document that, do gap analysis and figure out if there's better ways of working, and document them.


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Follow-Ups:

References:
What is a Business Analyst?: From: Steve Janoff (non-Celgene)
Re: What is a Business Analyst?: From: Lauren
RE: What is a Business Analyst?: From: Kat Kuvinka
RE: What is a Business Analyst?: From: Steve Janoff (non-Celgene)
Re: What is a Business Analyst?: From: Wade Courtney
Re: What is a Business Analyst?: From: Keith Hood
Re: What is a Business Analyst?: From: Reshma
Re: What is a Business Analyst?: From: sphilip

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