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Types of projects a Business Analyst may work on

Updated on October 20, 2012

What is Business Analysis?

Enterprises seeking to improve their internal processes and systems turn to a Business Analyst to form a central role in the project team. It's a role that has evolved over the last 20 years and is set to become ever more important.

In my opinion Debra Paul's summary of the business analyst role, from the British Computer Societies book "Business Analysis", captures the essence best.

"An internal consultancy role that has the responsibility for investigating business systems, identifying options for improving business systems and bridging the needs of the business with the use of IT"

Lets take a look at that sentence piece by piece.

1) Internal consultancy role: Works in part of the company that is looking always looking at future change. A BA is rarely responsible for day to day operations,

2) Investigating business systems: The BA looks at all the various components of a business and how they function together. A business system will be a combination of people, equipment, geography, technology etc everything

3) Bridging the needs of the business with the use of IT: The BA works as an translator between the business and IT, a liaison who can understand "business" and understand "IT" and can help them work together.

Business Requirements

What does a BA actually do?

I have worked as a Business Analyst for many years on a varied mixture of projects but for all their differences the work usually is one of the following

1) New Opportunities and Strategy: From a high level brief I would normally undertake a detailed current state analysis. Once I have a picture of the current situation I normally work with senior management reviewing various options on how to improve things. Sometimes this will either be by changing the way people perform their roles or by updating the IT systems, or by a combination of both. I normally take these projects through to business case and are then passed to a project team to work on delivery.

2) Operations Focused: Projects of this type are all about the people; in the past they have included improving the process flow, updating the procedures, or moving the location where processes have been done. These analysis projects go through exactly the same steps as other projects. You start with current state analysis, then on to reviewing options all the way through to implementation.

3) IT Focused: Projects of this nature have been about improving the business processes by improving the IT systems. When people think they think "who is a business analyst?" this is normally the role that comes to mind. Being a BA is always people job though, a BA needs to understand the business problem that is being tackled and not just think about the technology.

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