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What Exactly Is a Business Analyst, Anyway?

To start things off; let's say that, if you where to ask ten different HR Professionals what a Business Analyst is, that you'd probably get about 10 different answers. Well that's basically the problem that the emerging area of "Business Analysis" is facing. So, to get a little clarity on the matter, let's start by dividing all analysts to the two major categories; company (non-technical) and specialized. These can be the two major branches within the name. This is not to say that you isn't able to or on occasion necessary to operate on each side of the fence. This just goes to prove how perplexing the title "Business Analyst" really is. 

The first facet of the very wide coin is the company side. This will be those professionals that apply a specific methodology to supply solutions that raise the worth of an organization or a business.

The other side of this coin will be the IT or Technical side. Now, this aspect has a simple use of applying specific methods to provide "technical" solutions to problems, which increases the ability of the business, which in turn increases the worth of a business. Confused yet? OK, moving on.

Many occasions analysts have been hired to not only find the problems but to also provide alternatives. This is a very different part than a job manager. As a general guideline a company will acquire the services of an analyst or a firm to tackle a specific issue or problem that it is facing. The analyst will then visit the company, collect data, apply principles and methodologies, and create a solution. At this time a requirements analyst will evaluate the needs and requirements (this may or may not be included in the solutions initially supplied). This information is then passed on to a Project Manger. The PM will then follow their methodologies that are proven and methods to produce the final product on budget and on time, hopefully.

Basically to explain what a company analyst would be, we have to describe the job that a company analyst does. Because it doesn't matter if the name is business analyst, process analyst, requirements analyst, operations analyst, business systems analyst, systems analyst, consultant, programmer/analyst, etc; the only thing which makes an analyst an analyst would be the systematic approach to issues and solutions through classified methodic principles.

Just a Couple of the characteristics of a BA will be that the analyst; 
• Works with companies to identify development opportunities within procedures or operations 
• Gathers, files, and analyzes needs and requirements that a company may have 
• The BA solves problems that companies have

There are various organizations that create or stick to accepted standards of practice within the discipline of company analysis. One of which are the certifying agency of the International Institute of Business Analysis another are the Object Management Group. These organizations will adhere strictly to certain methodologies that when properly employed will lead not merely the analyst, but their clients, to an effective outcome regardless of present situations.

Methodologies may fluctuate greatly depending upon the disciplines of the specific analyst or firm. No single methodology is right or wrong; however do keep in mind that you will find several well defined collections of areas that can be verified using a simple online search. When an analyst asserts to use a specific system or subject, check out.

So simply to sum up everything, a business analyst is basically defined as someone who performs particular tasks to make your business easier. Like it has been mentioned before, if you've got an issue with your vehicle, you find an automobile mechanic. If you've got a problem with your health, you find a doctor. If you've got a problem with your small business, you find a company analyst.

Alastair Majury is a Business Analyst currently living in Dunblane, United Kingdom. Apart from his unwavering commitment to his career,  Alastair finds himself most interested in philanthropic efforts, golf, and navigating the seamlessly endless majestic landscapes of Scotland.

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