The Developing Role of the Business Analyst

The Developing Role of the Business Analyst

The field of software application development has only been in existence since around the mid-1970s. So, if you compare the software sector to other industries, it is still relatively new.

Since the beginning of the use of computers to support commercial processes, the professionals who design, develop, and manage the “systems” have become more sophisticated and specialised and indeed, this trend has continued in recent years.

Such specialisation is required because, as computer systems become more and more sophisticated, no one individual can be expected to know how to accomplish everything. Hence, specialisation is required.

According to Jane Thomas a leading recruitment specialist with Energy Resourcing, the Business Analyst is one of the “specialties” that have emerged in recent years. A business analyst is a professional who serves as a link between business people who are experiencing problems and technology professionals who are knowledgeable about how to develop solutions. Despite the fact that some organisations have used this title in non-IT parts of the business, it is an accurate description of the role that serves as a link between individuals in the business and those in information technology.

Every time the word “Business” is used, it serves as a constant reminder that any application software developed by an organisation should be designed to improve the organization’s business operations, whether that is through revenue growth, cost reduction, or an increase in service level to customers.

The Business Analyst’s Role Has a Long and Proven History

Unrecognizable businesswoman working on netbook in office
Photo by Ono Kosuki on Pexels

During the 1980s, when the software development life cycle was widely acknowledged as a required stage, employees who performed this task were often from a technical background and were employed by an information technology firm. They were familiar with the software development process and, in many cases, had prior programming experience. Textual requirements were combined with ANSI flowcharts, dataflow diagrams, database diagrams, and prototypes to create the final product. It was the length of time it took to construct a system that didn’t always satisfy the needs of the business that was the most frequently expressed issue regarding software development. Business people have grown accustomed to sophisticated software and want it to be even better and faster in order to stay competitive.

CASE (Computer-Aided Software Engineering) is a class of development technologies that were created in response to the desire for increased speed in software development. From the beginning to the finish of a software development project, these tools were created with the goal of capturing requirements and utilising them throughout the process. As a result, they demanded rigorous adherence to methodology, needed extensive training, and frequently excluded the business community from the development process because the symbols used in the diagrams were unknown to the audience.

During the period in which IT teams were struggling to learn how to use CASE tools, PCs (personal computers) began to appear in considerable numbers on desktops throughout the company. Anyone might now become a computer programmer, designer, or user, all at the same time. When IT teams were still working on improving their management of a central mainframe computer, they were unexpectedly faced with the task of managing hundreds of autonomous systems. Client-server technologies have evolved as a sophisticated alternative to the classic “green screen” keyboard-based software used in most offices.

The ramifications for the software development process were catastrophic. The traditional ways of development have to be updated in order to support the new distributed systems technology, and the growing sophistication of the computer user, which resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of software requests.

The frustration of waiting for yet another complex application to be released by a massive, slow-moving IT department became too much for many business divisions to bear. Their first steps were learning to do things for themselves or hiring consultants, typically referred to as “business analysts,” who would work directly for them and assist them with their automated needs. The IT department was forced to deal with even more difficulties as they were suddenly asked to maintain software that they had neither built nor approved. Small, independent databases were developed all over the place, containing inconsistent and, in many cases, unprotected information. During this period, the internal business analyst function was limited, and as a result, many systems did not answer the correct business problems, resulting in a rise in maintenance expenses and rework, among other consequences.

In response to the changes, new processes and approaches were developed, including RAD (rapid application development), JAD (joint application development), and OO (object-oriented) tools and procedures, among other things.

As we entered the new millennium, the Internet emerged as the new technology, and information technology was once again confronted with a sea of change. For the second time, more sophisticated users who were eager to take advantage of new technology were more likely to turn outside their own businesses for the automation they desired. It was the first time that the business side of an organisation took control of technology, and a substantial majority of firms began staffing the Business Analyst function from inside the operational units rather than from within information technology (IT). Now, in addition to marketing directors and accountants and attorneys, we have payroll clerks who execute the functions of a business analyst.

Additionally, the quality movement, which began in the 1970s with Total Quality Management (TQM), came back into prominence as corporations sought ways to reduce the cost of missed requirements as they expanded their operations abroad. In order to do worldwide business, it is necessary to comply to quality standards established by the ISO (International Standards Organization). CMM is a software development quality standard developed by Carnegie Mellon University (Capability Maturity Model). Aside from that, Six Sigma was a disciplined, data-driven quality approach to process improvement that aspired to eliminate faults from every product, process, and transaction. Each of these quality initiatives necessitated a greater amount of facts and rigour during the requirements collection and analysis phases, highlighting the need for additional trained Business Analysts who were conversant with business, information technology, and quality standards.

“The Future of the Business Analyst Role” is a phrase that means “the future of the business analyst role.”

Business Analysts are now being recruited from both the information technology and business sectors. In the best of circumstances, the Business Analyst nowadays possesses a blend of information technology and business skills. Individuals in this position are given various titles by each firm, and the organisational structure of Business Analyst groups is as diverse as the companies themselves. However, there is a basic set of duties that all Business Analysts perform, regardless of their educational background or industry.

As project teams become more geographically scattered, the position of the Business Analyst becomes increasingly important.

Recent changes have been largely attributed to causes such as outsourcing and the internationalisation of multinational organisations. It becomes vital to precisely and totally specifies the requirements in more depth than ever before when the IT development role no longer lies within our organisations. While having a constant structured approach has been beneficial in the past, it is now necessary to be successful in the new environment. The majority of firms will continue to maintain the business analyst position as an “in-house” position. As a result, more information technology (IT) employees are being trained as business analysts.

It is expected that the Business Analyst role will continue to shift its emphasis away from “Software” and toward “Business System.”

Though most business analysts today are primarily concerned with computer program development and maintenance, these professionals’ abilities can be applied on a far bigger scale. Additionally, to software advice, an outstanding company analyst may examine a business area and give recommendations for procedural changes, people changes, and policy changes, in addition to software recommendations. Instead of focusing solely on business software, the company analyst can assist in improving the entire business system.

The function of the Business Analyst will continue to evolve in response to the needs of the organisation.

It will be possible to boost future productivity by making things like shoes more reusable in the future. As organisations have a better awareness of the need for this crucial expertise, management will become yet another important skill in the expanding function of the business analyst. The business analyst is typically referred to as an “agent of change” in the industry. A business analyst who has a thorough awareness of the firm’s important projects can take the initiative in convincing others to accept big changes that are beneficial to the organization and its business objectives. Due to the fact that American corporations continue to be the driving force behind the global economy, the work of a business analyst is an exciting and secure career choice.

Training for Business Analysts

The skillset required to be a good business analyst is broad and might include everything from communication abilities to data modelling abilities. The educational and professional background of a business analyst can also differ; some come from an IT background, while others originate from the business stakeholder area.

As a result of such a vast and broad range of experience, it is difficult for a business analyst to acquire all of the abilities necessary to execute a good business analysis. Business analysts with a solid business analysis background are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain in the marketplace, prompting many organisations to train their staff to become business analysts using consistent, structured methodologies. As a starting point, firms looking for formal business analysis training should look for providers who are considered “experts” in the industry and who have a strong focus on business analysis techniques and processes. Second, you’ll want to look into the overall quality of the training materials provided by the vendor. This can be accomplished by investigating who wrote the vendor’s materials and how frequently they are updated to ensure that they are current with industry best practices. Third, successful training is dependent on instructors having a real-world experience that matches the needs and experience level of your firm. Business analysis is a newly growing profession, and it is vital that the professors you select have prior experience as Business Analysts in their own right.