- Posted January 3, 2014 by
Charlotte, North Carolina
This iReport is part of an assignment:
What is an IT Business Analyst?
I wanted to find out more about what an IT business analyst does, so I spoke with Teresa Bennett, owner of The Analyst Coach, LLC based in the Charlotte, NC area. Teresa is a business analyst coach and trainer. She works with both individuals that want to increase their skills to advance their careers, and businesses looking to achieve greater success with their IT projects.
My first question to Teresa was “what do you mean by achieve greater project success?”
Teresa said, “A successful project is one that is delivered on time, within budget, and meets the client’s expectations regarding scope of the project. In other words, the client got what they asked for. A client can be internal to the company, for example you may be working on a project requested by the marketing department – they are your client. Or the client may be external if your company builds software for other companies.”
In the CNN Money article, they stated an IT business analyst helps businesses improve efficiency by optimizing technology. This is where they lost me. That doesn't really tell me anything, it sounded like corporate-speak that didn't truly say anything so I asked Teresa to break that down and I now have a much more clear understanding of the role of a business analyst in the world of information technology.
The majority of large companies, and some mid-size companies, have their own IT departments and build at least some of their software in-house instead of buying off-the-shelf software or hiring other firms to build the custom software for them.
A business analyst (BA) is the bridge between the business side of a company and the IT side of the company.
The BA is responsible for leading discussions with the business side of the house to determine what their needs are. What business problems are they having? What goals do they have? What improvements need to be made to current processes? The BA is expected to be very skilled at communication and have the ability to “dig deep” to get to the heart of the matter while at the same time remaining objective. It is not their job to lead the business down a certain path; more to ask questions to move the conversation to a critical thinking level to get to the root those issues.
The BA is then responsible for documenting the outcome of those meetings in the form of business requirements. The IT department uses those requirements to design and build a technology solution that will meet the needs of the business.
It is Teresa’s opinion the business analyst plays a major role in the success of IT projects. I her words, “the business requirements documentation can be completed flawlessly and look perfect; every t crossed and every i dotted, but if the wrong requirements are in that documentation, you’ll have a failed project – meaning it will not be completed on time due to re-work, won’t be completed on budget due to cost of re-work, and still may not meet customers’ expectations despite the re-work. In some cases, the project may be scrapped completely and will need to be re-started later.”
Based on my conversation with The Analyst Coach, I think this is a solid career for people that want to work in IT, but don’t have the skills, or the desire, to be a true “techy”. In other words, the thought of writing code does not make them giddy with excitement.