My job title can sound pretty vague, ‘Business Systems Analyst’ sounds like a few important words strung together. To those outside of the software development world, and perhaps even to those inside, it’s anyone’s guess to what that means. Whenever I’m asked ‘what I do’ , I typically respond one of three ways:
“I am in Software Development”
“I am in IT”
“I wear many hats…”
All are true, but none of them – even when combined, paint a complete picture. Actually, when I was first promoted as our Company’s first Business Systems Analyst even I didn’t understand what it meant but I knew what my role had become and what I was responsible for doing. I did a bit of research to find out how others would describe the role of the Business Systems Analyst. I found some pretty insightful things, here is a video from the Technology Profession YouTube channel that does a great job highlighting the job responsibilities as well as the main skills needed. For me, the easiest way to define the role is to break it up into three fundamental components that are already included in the title: Business Systems Analyst.
B is for Business
The center of the three. This is who the Business Systems Analyst serves. The BSA must know the Business, it’s mission, and their goals. He or she needs to have a firm understanding of how the business generates revenue, how the business cuts costs, their products and the overall growth strategy. Even though this may seem a little too ‘high level’, every employee, especially the BSA will benefit from understanding the current state of the business and where it wants to be. I often find myself going down a rabbit hole of tasks and emails before bringing myself to and thinking how does what I am doing effect the goals or mission of my organization? The BSA should also know how each business unit works and how they relates to one another because ultimately he or she will rely on communication with them.
S is for Systems
This is the technological arm of the BSA. Each business relies on systems to successfully deliver their product or service to the customer. A BSA must understand the main systems that the business unit utilizes including the most common use cases, their limitations, and gaps. The BSA is also responsible for knowing the data each system relies on, how that data interacts with other systems, and the importance of the data. Perhaps equally as important as knowing current systems, the BSA will need to know how to develop and manage new systems. To do this, he or she should understand the software development life cycle and be relatively up to date with current technologies and trends in their space.
A is for Analyst
This is the creative problem solving arm of the BSA. Ultimately, a BSA’s key value proposition is in their ability to implement and come up with new solutions. Understanding the current state is a fundamental part of the role and the other part is discovering how to improve. The BSA continually challenges the way things are done and looks for ways to optimize. On the road to optimization, the BSA collaborates with the business, developers, and stakeholders to create a wonderful and hopefully adopted solution.
The Business Systems Analyst is a highly enjoyable and rewarding role. The BSA gets to collaborate with many different business units, take part in the creativity of the development team and contribute to the goals of the business.
If you’re a BSA or work with BSA’s what are some other things you think are important to the role?