Of all the roles associated with developing software, perhaps none needs a makeover as badly as the business analyst. Intended as a pivotal position that translates business needs to software requirements, the role varies widely across organizations.
Often saddled with negative stereotypes, the job doesn’t command the respect it deserves. “It’s the guy in IT who can’t program, who sits and shuffles the requirements,” said Gartner analyst Jim Duggan. Or it’s “the guy in business who couldn’t quite make it in business,” added Mitch Bishop, chief marketing officer for iRise, which sells software to visualize applications before they are built. Traditionally, the job has been seen as “something you fall into, versus something you really want to do,” he said.
Now, however, a host of factors is coming together to change that. As a result, the analyst is playing a more strategic role, one leading of the effort in “producing the software the business needs,” said one analyst, Voke founder Theresa Lanowitz. To bring the profession the uniformity it has lacked, a not-for-profit association called the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) has articulated a set of best practices for analysts and is expected to publish version 2.0 of such practices in September.
Author: Jennifer deJong