Differences, Duties and Responsibilities of Business Analysts and System Analysts

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Mar 19, 2017
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Business Analyst vs. Systems Analyst

BUSINESS ANALYST

business analyst is a person who analyzes, organizes, explores, scrutinizes and investigates an organization and documents its business and also assesses the business model and integrates the whole organization with modern technology. The Business Analyst role is mostly about documenting, verifying, recording and gathering the business requirements and its role is mostly associated with the information technology industry.

Business analyst acts as a bridge and channel between the clients, consumers and the development team. Business development and requirements are translated, transformed and interpreted to functional specifications by a business analyst. The business analyst works with the development team during the whole implementation process. In software development, business analyst acts the role of testing and verifying the implementations done by the team to make sure that consumers and clients’ needs are satisfied. Business Analyst should possess the relevant functional knowledge in the area in which the job is assigned. For example, if an organization needs to develop and create a database that satisfies IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) compliance, business analyst should have a sound accounting background and knowledge so that, he/she can map and apply the accounting standards requirement with the system features.  Business analyst should develop and create a good confidence and assurance with the development team so that any uncertainties, doubts and worries can be well dealt with and well discussed in details before the implementation process proceeds.

Business analyst should not only understand and comprehend the way information technology speaks but also how the stakeholders of an organization or a company speak. The business analyst is more of a people person because of this function he/she should be outspoken and vibrant in all aspects of life. Business analyst acts as a liaison and link between management and information technology system. A business analyst should be able to look at all areas of the company or an organization and discover and determine the underlying and fundamental causes for system failures. Business analyst may not be able to write the code to fix the issue but he/she should at least come up with the concept of what the code is supposed to do. Business analyst should be able to retrieve reports and data from information technology and convert it into reports needed to develop and create a project plan and program. The true business analyst must be creative, resourceful, inspired and more flexible and he/she should also be motivational, a driving force behind the project or business plan. Business analyst is someone who pulls teams together to focus on the result of a project. He/ she should be good at heading up meetings to present information in an easily and certainly understood language. 


SYSTEM ANALYST

A system analyst is someone who is in charge of designing, transforming, modifying and evaluating different systems to ensure compatibility and users’ efficiency and effectiveness and also turns user requirements into a set of functional specifications, which are the blueprint of the system. System analysts can work freely and autonomously but they are often sub-set of a larger information technology unit that keeps technical areas of the business or company running well and efficiently. System analyst is also a person who is accountable and responsible for the development of an information system and they also design the database unless it is done by a data administrator. System analysts develop the manual and machine procedures and the specifications for each data entry, update, and query and report program in the system.

They are the architects, as well as the project leaders, of an information system. It is system analysts’ job to find and develop solutions and answers to users' difficulties, determine the technical and operational feasibility of their solutions, as well as estimate the costs to develop and implement the solutions. They also develop prototypes of the system along with the users, so that the final specifications can be simple. System analysts should also have a balanced mix of business and technical knowledge, interviewing and analytical skills and a good understanding of human behavior.

System Analyst mostly works with configuring system requirements of a business or an organization as a whole. System analyst should have a sound knowledge on computer software, hardware and networking. The educational background of a System Analyst could mostly associate with computer science, information science or management information systems. The key and primary responsibilities include interact with end users and consumers or clients, plan the system flow, manage design considerations, and implementation while managing time-lines. System analyst is responsible of documenting and modifying user requests in to technical documentation. System analyst should always discuss with the end user of the computer system regarding the information flow and their specific requirement. System Analysts experiments with different computer system plans and try various tools and steps until they find the system is the fastest, easy to use and cost is fully optimized. In this process, system analyst has to test and verify the system and make sure that the information is processed, managed and administered without errors and faults.


ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF BUSINESS ANALYSTS

Requirements are at the fundamental and primary of developing and creating information technology solutions. Defining, analyzing and documenting requirements develop from a business analyst’s creative process, and are envisioned to show what a system can do. The following are the business analyst roles in defining, documenting and managing requirements

  • Extract requirements: Incomplete or improper requirements usually lead to project failure. A business analyst determines a project’s requirements by extracting them from business or government policies, as well as from current and future users, through interaction and research.
  • Anticipate requirements: Trained business analysts know how quickly things change in the dynamic world of information technology. Baseline plans are subject to modification and anticipating requirements that will be needed in the future or that have not yet been considered is essential to successful outcomes.
  • Constrain requirements:  While complete and comprehensive requirements are indispensable to project success, the concentration and attention must remain on main business needs, and not users’ personal preferences.
  • Organize requirements: Business analyst must organize requirements into related categories to effectively and efficiently manage and communicate them. Requirements are sorted into types according to their source and applicability. Proper company avoids project requirements from becoming overlooked, and leads to optimum use of time and budgets.
  • Translate requirements: Business analyst must be proficient and skillful at translating business requirements into technical requirements. This includes using powerful analysis and modeling tools to match strategic business objectives with practical technical solutions.
  • Safeguard requirements:  At regular intervals in the project life cycle, the business analyst safeguards and protects the business and user’s needs by verifying functionality, accuracy and completeness of the requirements against the original initiating documents.
  • Simplify requirements: Business analyst accentuates simplicity and ease of use at all times, especially in implementation. Meeting business aims and objectives is the goal of every information technology project; business analysts identify and avoid unnecessary activities that do not solve the problem or help to reach the objective.
  • Verify requirements: Business analyst should continually verify the requirements and reject all implementations that do not lead business goals and objectives. Verifying requirements is accomplished through scrutiny, test, demonstration and inspection.
  • Managing requirements: Typically, a formal requirements presentation, review and approval session occurs, where project schedules, costs and duration estimates are updated and the business objectives are revisited. Upon approval, the business analyst transitions into requirements management activities for the rest of the IT solution life cycle.
  • System and operations maintenance - Once all requirements have been met and the information technology solution delivered, the business analyst’s role shifts to maintenance, or preventing and correcting errors and defects; enhancements, or making changes to increase the value provided by the system; and operations and maintenance, or providing system validation procedures, maintenance reports, deactivation plans, and other documents, plans and reports. The business analyst will also play a major role in analyzing the system to determine when deactivation or replacement is required.

DUTIES OF A BUSINESS ANALYST

Business analyst main focus is identifying opportunities for improving a business’s processes and using technology to eliminate problems that affect productivity, output, distribution and ultimately, the bottom line. So, knowing how technology can solve business problems is vital to a business analyst’s success. The following are the duties performed by a business analyst;

  • Analyzing the business processes in an organization or a company for inefficiencies and inadequacies. Making recommendations and approvals for solutions or improvements that can be achieved and attained through new technology or alternative uses of existing technology.
  • Acting as liaison between business stakeholders, such as management, customers or end users, and the software development or information technology team.
  • Analyzing and communicating stakeholder needs by translating business requirements into software requirements.
  • Documenting and evaluating required data and information.
  • Using modeling, testing and data models to improve the flow of information through an organization to enhance project success.

DUTIES OF A SYSTEM ANALYST

Systems analysts use a company’s information technology systems to help achieve and attain some strategic business goals and objectives. They may design and develop new systems by configuring new hardware and software, or use existing systems in new ways to achieve additional outcomes. Their duties include the following:

  • Consulting with management and users to determine the needs of the system\
  • Designing a system to meet the business objectives and goals
  • Specifying inputs and formatting outputs to meet users’ needs
  • Using techniques such as sampling, model building and structured analysis, along with accounting principles, to ensure the solution is efficient, cost-effective and financially feasible
  • Developing specifications diagrams and flowcharts for programmers to follow
  • Overseeing implementation, coordinating tests and observing initiation of the system to validate performance

 


 

Author: Bhairav Bhavsar, LSSGB, LSSM, Mentor, Author

Bhairav is a highly accomplished Senior Business Analyst / Project Manager with a verifiable track record of managing complex IT projects and exceeding expectations. Practiced in clarifying business requirements, performing gap analysis between goals and existing procedure/skills sets, and designing process and system improvements to increase productivity and reduce cost. 

Project Management: Managed multiple application development projects and upgrades to move from legacy internal built software to newer technology. Worked with business side to understand and develop requirements to deliver to the IT development units. Managed entire project team from requirements thru development, testing, training, implementation and closure
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