The Importance of the Business Analyst…

Written by Killian Dixon

The key to any successful business is the ability to grow and evolve as their market dictates it. The critical pieces to making these changes a smooth and successful process lies in the sometimes, unsung heroes of the company, the business analyst. It is an all hands-on deck kind of position which often requires a balancing act of different personalities and challenges to ensure that everything stays on course.

Business Analyst roles and responsibilities varies between industries and companies, but the one key factor that is consistent, is the appreciation of enterprise changes as a project that involves many of the resources for efforts toward maximizing the benefits of the company’s goal. A good Business Analyst should develop a means to cultivate confidence and respect from both the I.T and business sides of the company.

A Business Analyst acts as the bridge between business ideas and business capabilities; creating valuable changes and optimizations to business processes. Traditionally, in our technology driven business world, a large proportion of the changes and optimizations relate to software systems – therefore teams in the organization responsible for creating, maintaining and delivering IT systems, are a primary focus. Conventionally, this has proven to be a difficult relationship, with challenging communication issues or misinterpretations that often lead to wasted effort or scrapped projects. According to The Standish Group, this miscommunication can result in as much as 40% of the overall effort being wasted, on average.

Companies view quality as something that happens at the end of a project. This is classic ‘waterfall’ thinking – specify, create and then test. This has proven to be a poor approach. The success rates of projects working in this fashion are no higher, on average, than 40% (Chaos report, Standish Group 2011) – meaning missed end-client deadlines, issues with customer satisfaction and large amounts of wasted effort. A better mind-set is “quality is the work”. This culture and approach means that every part of the supply chain feels its own responsibility for the end result.

The Business Analyst role is becoming one of the most important roles in IT. It is a position that plays a critical role in interoperating the future for many businesses. In recent times the role has not been widely recognized as a profession in its own right as other senior staff, such as project managers & software architects, have been seen to take the lead.

In a faster paced world than ever, it is critical to have the right people on board who can handle the rigorous demands of rapidly evolving trends and ensure the commercial goals of the company remain on track. This has been reflected in an increase in demand for business analysts on a permanent and contract basis.

Killian Dixon
Technology Consultant
T: 01 874 6770