Opinion: It's time to say goodbye to business analysts

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Is there a place for business analysts in IT today? Not if their primary function is just to analyze business needs. As the pace of change accelerates, business people want more than analysis; they want workable solutions to their problems.

Analysis is only part of the job that needs to be done. It can clarify situations and trends, identify problems and make recommendations. 

Author: Michael H. Hugos

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adrian posted on Sunday, May 25, 2008 12:34 AM
Despite seemingly opposite points of view, I believe that most of us, including Mr. Hugos, are on the same general page when it comes to what needs to get done.

Here are the common threads:
=> somebody needs to analyze the business and supporting systems to identify problems
=> somebody needs to determine the business needs and specify the requirements
=> somebody needs to come up with creative business and functional solution ideas to address the given business needs, requirements, and problems.
=> somebody needs to design the systems (solve the technical problem) needed to implement/support the agreed upon solutions.

THE QUESTION IS: Who performs these activities?

This is where the answer will probably depend on the organization, project size, methodology, etc. For example:

==> On one extreme it maybe the same person doing all these activities and it may as well be called "System Designer", but the actual title may be Business Analyst, or Business Systems Analyst, etc.

==> On the other extreme, the responsibilities may be divided among various people such as: Business Process Analyst, Business Analyst, Systems Analyst, Designer/Architect, etc.

==> In most organizations the reality lies somewhere in between.

As you can see, we are probably arguing about the titles of the people doing the work not about what work needs to get done.

The definition that the IIBA has for the Business Analyst does in fact include coming up with solutions and not just analysis. So don't be misled by the title but rather take a look at what these folks actually do.

Business Analysts all over the world and in all types of organizations are tasked with creating solutions as part of their core job responsibilities.

Best regards,
- Adrian
sansu posted on Saturday, May 31, 2008 7:49 PM
I think the term 'business analyst' is misleading when applied to IT.

I have worked as a BA for the last 15 years, and never once have I been restricted to elicting and documenting business requirements. What a boring job that would be!

As a BA I am also expected to design solutions, prototype solutions, understand usability best practices and apply them, do some preliminary detailed design, produce functional, technical and user documentation, write test scripts, and participate in QA

Another essential function of a BA is to act as a conduit, translator and a peacemaker between business users and development.

I think business solutions analyst or consultant would be a better title for the job, but we are stuck with business analyst.
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