How a Business Analyst bridges the gap between business and IT

5 minutes

The Business Analyst understands both business and IT. So, they are often held responsible for bridging the gap between the two groups.

Improving the efficiency of a business relies on two separate groups working together. There are the executives, who set the requirements of the business moving forward. And the IT team, who have the technical capability to carry out the developments. The problem arises as each group has a different speciality. They might use different terms and not fully understand what the other does. This can lead to some pretty unrealistic goals being set. Of course, when these goals aren’t met, the two teams will be asking questions of each other and the divide widens. 

So, there needs to be someone who specialises in both areas and understands the language. They will work as an interpreter, ensuring both groups work together. Yes, you’ve guessed it, this is where the Business Analyst comes in. 

What is the role of a Business Analyst?

Business Analysts are often responsible for bridging the gap between business and IT. They understand both the technical and business parts of the exchange. So, due to their expertise, they provide the key link between the two parties. 

The role of a Business Analyst allows them to maximise the efficiency of a business. When starting out, Businesses can expect an Analyst to work with external stakeholders. Here, they will determine which areas of the business need improving. To do this, they will gather feedback on products, services and business functions. 

The Business Analyst will analyse their findings with data models and suggest improvements. They will then evaluate the potential opportunities and risks of these changes. To reinforce their findings, the Analyst will also create written documentation.

Although the exact process might differ. All Business Analysts aim to take care of business needs and maximise performance. Well, now you know what a business analyst does. Here are the steps they take to bridge the gap between business and IT. 

Open the lines of communication between teams

Business Analysts are often stereotyped to be good with numbers. But, they need to do so much more than that. They have to be adept at setting up relevant communication channels. Without official communication lines open, executives might ask for project updates too much. This can be counterproductive, as the IT team might feel like they are being watched. 

To counter this, Business Analysts will set up structured communication methods between teams. They will do this by replacing long email threads with project meetings to discuss progress.

Interpret key terms and language

Just like countries, different teams use different languages. Some terms might appear the same but have another meaning. This is where constructive communication between teams can break down. Projects can fall apart because of this, as the meaning behind the messages gets lost.   

Once again, this is where the benefit lies in having a Business Analyst onboard. They understand the technical language used by IT teams. But, also the business terms laid out by executives. This allows them to explain the key language to each team. In turn, this limits confusion. It also helps each team appreciate how the other side is contributing to the project. With the help of an Analyst, the language barrier is reduced and everyone is on the same page.

Develop goals and build trust between teams

Generally speaking, management set goals and the IT team carries them out. But, if the executives don’t understand the IT team's process, they might set unrealistic goals.

When a Business Analyst comes in, they will assess any current proposals. This will include a cost-benefit analysis, which will help to see if the goals are realistic. Here, the Business Analyst will suggest alternative goals. These will be mutually beneficial for both parties. The goals will meet the needs of the business, while still achievable for the IT team. 

Trust between teams can be hard to come by. But, this changes with a Business Analyst. The Analyst works by guiding the IT team towards the goals. When the Executives see this, they will become more trusting of both the Analyst and the IT team. This improves harmony among the teams, which will improve the efficiency of projects. 

Use data insights

Data-driven decision-making is becoming increasingly important for businesses. This is due to its objective nature. With data, you can see which strategies work and which ones don’t. This eliminates bias, as it leads to a more practical route forward. 

Data insights play a massive role in business analysis. It reveals problems with business processes and systems. But, with data, Analysts can provide solutions that might not have been spotted. Also, the cost is factored into the decision-making process. This ensures a business only spends within its means. This can help companies to make key decisions, which improves performance and growth.  

Put forward long-term communication processes 

Establishing lines of communication is all well and good in the short run. But, this also needs to carry over into a long-term plan. Otherwise, there’s the risk that the teams revert back to their old ways. This threatens to dismantle all the hard work contributed by those in the business. Instead, Business Analysts help to maintain efficiency by setting up long-term communication processes. This also works to bridge the gap between business and IT.

This communication process could happen in the form of weekly updates. Each meeting should include recent achievements and reminders of next week’s goals. These regular updates will inspire and motivate the teams throughout the project.  

Produce documentation 

A Business Analyst can help overhaul a business’s products, services and processes. But, if there’s no record, it’s hard to see how the Business Analyst has helped the project progress. Essentially, with documentation, the business can see the history of the project. It allows them to see which steps were taken at what time. Where details might usually be forgotten, this approach means it's all accounted for. 

With documentation, a Business Analyst is supporting long-term projects. They do this in many ways. Most notably, they reduce the costs and timeframes associated with the projects. They also identify stakeholders, assess processes, encourage growth and measure success. With the information to refer to, businesses can improve their future decision-making process. 

Are you in need of a Business Analyst to revamp your business? If you are then Pareto can help. We match industry-leading companies with talented Business Analysts. If this interests you, head over to our Project Solutions page for more information.

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