Technical Writers as Business Analysts

Posted In Tech Writing - By Sudipa Sarkar On Thursday, November 20th, 2008 With 2 Comments

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A Business Analyst or “BA” analyses the business needs of clients to help identify business problems and propose solutions. Within the systems development life cycle domain, the business analyst typically performs a liaison function between the business side of an enterprise and the providers (technical people) of services to the enterprise.

The International Institute of Business Analysis has the following definition of the role: “A business analyst works as a liaison among stakeholders in order to elicit, analyze, communicate and validate requirements for changes to business processes, policies and information systems. The business analyst understands business problems and opportunities in the context of the requirements and recommends solutions that enable the organization to achieve its goals.”

The British Computer Society proposes the following definition of a business analyst: “An internal consultancy role that has responsibility for investigating business systems, identifying options for improving business systems and bridging the needs of the business with the use of IT.”

The Business Analyst should have a broad knowledge of the organization, and should understand how the company works from a variety of perspectives. Along with that the Business Analyst should also have a good understanding of software development.

As inexperienced Business Analysts may have little experience in software development, in some cases specifications written by these BAs may be unrealistic and unusable for development. In contrast, those BAs who come out of software development may not understand the intricacies of how the Business operates and can create solutions within the requirements without understanding the business problem. This leads to solutions that don’t satisfy the Business needs.

There is no defined way to become a Business Analyst. Often the BA has a technical background, whether having worked as a Programmer or Engineer. Others may move into a BA role from a business role – their status as a Subject Matter Expert and their analytical skills make them suitable for the role.

A Business Analyst does not always work in IT-related projects, as BA skills are often required in different industries such as Finance, Banking, Insurance, Telecom, Utilities, Software Services, and so on.

Business Analysts do not have a predefined and fixed role as they can take a shape in operations (Technology Architect or Project Management) scaling, sales planning, strategy devising or even in developmental process. Hence they get a different name for the played role. Technical Writers who have through knowledge of Business of the organization and technical intricacies of the product or services can advance as Business Analysts.

-Sudipa Sarkar