Authors: Alan Vongsavanh, Bruce Campbell
The role of business analysts and systems analysts appears to be very closely related, and there is no agreement on the definitions of the roles or the required skill set to become one of the said analysts. Though the number of these positions is increasing, the understanding of what the business and systems analysts are remains unclear and differs between organisations. A review of literature shows that there are common roles and skills between the two positions, as well as very distinct roles and skills that are clear. This research has demonstrated that although there is some harmony between the articles and interviews on the distinctions between the business analyst and the systems analyst, there are still discrepancies that can only be understood through further research.
The number of positions for systems analysts and business analysts is predicted to increase in the future as lowlevel information technology developmental roles continue to be outsourced overseas. Although the role and tasks of systems analysts has been clearly defined in the literature, the same is not true for business analysts. Existing research into the roles of systems analysts is relatively dated, whilst most of the articles found referring to the role of business analysts generally provide only anecdotal evidence of the role. There appears to be little
consistency in the term used to identify the role of the business analyst with terms such as business systems analyst, functional analyst and even systems analyst all being employed to describe this, or other roles. The term used appears to be partly dependant on whether the person performing the role is employed within a business or technology group within the organisation. This lack of definition of the role of a business analyst then creates a situation where there is conflicting evidence for the skills required of that role.
The increasing need for business and systems analysts is partly due to the emphasis placed on getting correct and accurate user requirements. A clear definition and differentiation of these two roles and their associated skill sets would benefit companies which choose to hire these experts. It would also assist training institutions in developing courses to support industry with appropriately trained hires.
There is a need for research that identifies the difference between these roles and the skills that are required by each. Therefore, the research question for this exploratory project was:
What are the roles and skill set of the business analyst and the systems analyst?
This question was investigated within the context of a large Australian company. Answering this question will provide the data needed by educational institutions when designing subjects catering to prospective systems analysts or business analysts.