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What is Business Analysis? (And what it is not…)

If you are considering a career in Business or Consulting, you may not be sure where to start. A career in Business Analysis is a very common route, often suggested to students of Business or Commerce.

To help you make the right decisions in choosing a career, we have put together a simple explanation of the term ‘business analysis’, the role of a business analyst, as well as what business analysis is not. Business Analysis often gets confused with Business Analytics, and the role often gets confused with the role of a project manager.

Let’s start with the definition of business analysis put together by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA):

Business Analysis is the “practice of enabling change in an organisational context, by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders.”

In simpler words, business analysis is a professional discipline that focuses on improving a business by identifying its needs and discovering opportunities for growth or improving existing processes.

The Role of a Business Analyst.

A business analyst usually gets onboarded by a Sponsor to address a specific business problem or concern, or to improve a specific business process.

To understand the situation and enterprise, organisation, department or project, a business analyst begins their journey by reading all relevant documentation and sourcing information from stakeholders.

Stakeholders can be internal (managers, subject matter experts, front line workers etc.) or external (customers, competition, regulators etc.) Once they have collected enough information, they usually pass that on to a consultant, designer or solution provider.

Conversely, a business analyst could be representing a solution provider and working for a company that needs the solution customised to their needs and requirements.

The role does not end there. Most BAs are involved in collecting feedback once a solution is implemented. This is to ensure continuous improvement.

It is evident that skills such as communication, collaboration and investigation are at the heart of a business analyst role.

What Business Analysis is not.

People often confuse the role of a Business Analyst with that of a Project Manager. As opposed to the Business Analyst’s objectives, the Project Manager’s objective is to manage resources and to make sure a project is on track and completed on time. The two roles might be combined in smaller organisations, but segregating the roles ensures efficiency and accountability.

Business Systems Analyst is a subset of the BA role with a strong focus on technology and its implementation. Since a lot of business are going through digital transformations recently, this role has become synonymous with the BA role.

Finally, people often confuse Business Analytics with Business Analysis mostly because the two roles sound similar. Business Analytics is an entirely different discipline that focuses on collecting business data. Business data and insights are of great value to a business analyst, but also to many other internal stakeholders.

Hopefully this article has given you a better idea of what a Business Analyst role is and what is it not. In future articles, we will further discuss and compare various roles and disciplines as well as growth opportunities for the BA role.


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