In today's rapidly evolving technological landscape, the role of an IT business analyst has become increasingly crucial for organizations striving to stay competitive and thrive in the digital age. A skilled IT business analyst serves as a bridge between business operations and technology, translating complex requirements into innovative solutions that drive growth and efficiency. In this article, we will explore who exactly an IT business analyst is, their pivotal role within organizations, and how they can contribute to the growth and success of your company.
After reading this article, you will learn about:
- Who is a business analyst and what is their role in business process analysis?
- What are business analyst skills and what may your company gain?
- What are the risks when you perform a detailed business analysis?
- What are business decisions that a business analyst can make?
- Case studies of the business analysis process
Problems regarding business performance
Table of Contents
Who is an IT business analyst
A business analyst is a professional who plays a vital role in organizations by serving as a liaison between business operations and technology. They possess a unique set of skills that allows them to understand both the business side and the technical aspects of a company as well as to collaborate with various stakeholders to gain insights into the organization's objectives, challenges, and processes. By analyzing this information, a business analyst responsibilities are to identify areas for improvement and propose effective solutions that align with the company's goals.
The business analyst job description highlights individuals who bring a diverse skill set that includes a deep understanding of business processes and the ability to navigate the technological landscape. They act as facilitators, ensuring effective communication between business stakeholders and technical teams. This enables them to bridge the gap between different departments, fostering collaboration and ensuring the successful implementation of IT projects. Overall, business analysts are essential in driving organizational growth and helping companies navigate the ever-changing business environment by leveraging their combined knowledge of business and technology.
What is a business analyst role?
A business analyst takes part in creating your digital product from the very beginning to the very end.
Starting from the moment when your idea is still just an idea - it is the best time to make any changes at this point. Later on, it is just going to cost you more, so it is crucial to take a deep breath and rethink each aspect of your business idea once more.
Business analysis does not just happen in the beginning - it is a continuous process of verifying whether:
- The product that we want to build has a good chance to succeed
- We are actually building the product that we agreed on
The first point is covered by all the research done in the beginning. There is no better way to build a digital product, than based on users’ feedback. Nothing can replace solid qualitative and quantitative research.
A business analyst supports the second point as well. Acting as a liaison between business assumptions and technology, they are involved in the development process. Every functionality needs to be implemented by developers, which means they need to understand it exceptionally well. It is a common struggle that there is no 100% understanding between a product owner and developers. Often that turns out too late and the job needs to be redone. And make no mistake - those discrepancies are costful ones. A business analyst supports the product owner and makes sure that developers are working on the right product by writing proper acceptance criteria for their tasks.
How Can a Business Analyst Help Your Company Grow?
42% of start-ups failures happen because of misreading market demand. This is the greater risk standing on your way to success - there are a few more and they are explained later. Therefore, understanding business needs and making sure that the value we plan to deliver will actually help someone is crucial. Once you have a product on the market, it is very important to gather feedback from your users and make sure they are taken care of and their needs are addressed. There is usually no single way to solve a problem and a business analyst helps you with the solution design and its evaluation.
They will also support you with labor statistics, market research and identifying any potential threats or opportunities, for example utilizing AI in your solutions, targeting a new market or adjusting your solutions to current domain trends. Every business is based on a number of processes, which can often be simplified or optimized.
What risks you should consider when conducting a detailed business analysis?
The most important product risks that you should consider are:
- value risk - whether customers will buy your product
- usability risk - whether they will figure out how to use it
- feasibility risk - whether it is possible to build it.
- business viability - whether the solutions will work considering various aspects of your business
A business analyst communicates with all the parties to help you mitigate those risks. UX designers will help build a usable product, while developers will tell you what is possible to build and what is not.
Examples of IT Business Analysts in Action
Here you can find two examples of how a business process analyst can contribute to your digital product. Certain business analyst skills allow to enhance internal processes crucial to the business. Below are examples from a specific domain (LMS and HRM but, of course, they can be applied to any case).
Case 1 (LMS)
Scenario: There is an existing LMS platform, and the founders are experiencing challenges with user engagement and course completion rates. They are concerned about the low adoption and want to improve the learning experience.
The BA conducts interviews and discussions with key stakeholders, including the client, instructors, and learners, to understand the underlying issues. Through this process, they identify the following problems:
- Lack of personalized learning paths: The LMS does not provide customized learning paths based on learners' skills, interests, and goals.
- Ineffective course design: Some courses have low quality or outdated content, making them less engaging and relevant to learners.
- Limited learner interaction: The LMS lacks features that encourage learner collaboration, such as discussion forums or virtual classrooms.
Requirement Gathering and Data Analysis
The BA collaborates with the client and development team to gather requirements for improving the LMS. They conduct market research to identify best practices in the e-learning industry and collect feedback from learners and instructors. Based on their findings, they define the following requirements:
- Personalized learning paths: Develop an algorithm that recommends courses and learning resources based on learners' profiles and preferences.
- Course quality assurance: Establish a process to review and update course content regularly to ensure it remains relevant and engaging.
- Enhanced learner interaction: Integrate features like discussion forums, live chat, and virtual classrooms to promote learner collaboration and interaction.
Solution Design and Documentation
The Business Analyst works closely with the development team to design a solution that addresses the identified problems. They create wireframes and prototypes to visualize the proposed changes in the LMS interface. Additionally, they document detailed functional and non-functional requirements, ensuring clear communication between the business and technical teams.
Stakeholder Communication and Alignment
The BA facilitates meetings and workshops to present the proposed solution to the client, instructors, and other stakeholders. They gather feedback, address concerns, and align expectations to ensure everyone is on the same page. This iterative process helps refine the solution and ensures that it meets the needs of all parties involved.
Solution Implementation and Testing
The Business Analyst, with their technical skills, plays a key role in collaborating with the development team during the implementation phase, providing clarifications and addressing any emerging requirements. They work closely with quality assurance teams to define test cases and verify that the implemented solution meets the desired goals. They also assist in user acceptance testing to ensure the changes align with the expectations of the client and learners.
Results and Optimization
Once the improved LMS is deployed, the BA tracks key performance indicators, such as user engagement, course completion rates, and learner feedback. They analyze the data to measure the impact of the implemented changes and identify any areas that require further optimization. This iterative process ensures continuous improvement and maximizes the effectiveness of the LMS.
Case 2 (HRM)
Scenario: In this example, we will focus on another digital product - a multi-sided job search website, that connects acoustic engineers specializing in designing concert halls and recording studios with clients who require their services. However, they are facing the challenge of low user adoption and insufficient traffic on the website.
The investors identify the following problems related to low user adoption and website traffic:
- Limited awareness: The target audience, comprising both acoustic engineers and clients seeking their services, is unaware of the existence and benefits of the job search website.
- Insufficient marketing and promotion: The website has not been adequately promoted or marketed to reach the intended audience, resulting in low user engagement.
- Ineffective user experience: The website may have usability issues or lack features that make it compelling and user-friendly, hindering user adoption and retention.
Requirement Gathering and Analysis
The IT business analyst collaborates with the investors and conducts further analysis to gather requirements for increasing user adoption and improving website traffic. They identify the following requirements:
- Marketing and promotion strategy: Develop a comprehensive marketing plan to create awareness and reach the target audience, utilizing digital marketing channels, social media campaigns, partnerships with relevant industry associations, and targeted advertising.
- User experience improvements: Identify and address usability issues, enhance the website's design, streamline the registration and profile creation process for both acoustic engineers and clients, and provide a visually appealing and intuitive interface.
- Content strategy: Develop and curate high-quality and relevant content, such as blog articles, case studies, and success stories, to attract and engage the target audience, demonstrating the value and benefits of using the platform.
Solution Design and Documentation
Business process analysts work is to closely collaborate with investors, marketing experts and UX designers to design a solution that addresses the low user adoption and website traffic challenges. They create a marketing strategy outline, wireframes/mockups for website improvements, and documentation highlighting the content strategy and recommendations for user experience enhancements.
Results and Optimization
Once the marketing initiatives are deployed and website UX improvements are implemented, the business analyst monitors key performance indicators such as website traffic, user registrations, job postings, and user feedback. They analyze the data to measure the impact of the changes and identify areas that require further optimization. The business analyst collaborates with the marketing team and development team to continuously refine the marketing strategy, website features, and content to increase user adoption and engagement.
A business analyst plays a crucial role in the creation of a digital product, interacting with stakeholders throughout the entire process. Their extensive knowledge of the business idea and its surrounding environment makes them suitable for various tasks. Their most important responsibility is to mitigate avoidable risks. By involving a business analyst early on in the process, the organization can minimize the costs associated with potential mistakes and challenges. This highlights the significance of their role in ensuring the success of the digital product development journey.