Business analysis is a research discipline of identifying business needs and determining solutions to business problems. Solutions often include a software-systems development component, but may also consist of process improvement, organizational change or strategic planning and policy development. The person who carries out this task is called a business analyst or BA.
Business analysts do not work solely on developing software systems. Those who attempt to do so run the risk of developing an incomplete solution.
Although there are different role definitions, depending upon the organization, there does seem to be an area of common ground where most business analysts work. The responsibilities appear to be:
To investigate business systems, taking an holistic view of the situation.
This may include examining elements of the organisation structures and staff development issues as well as current processes and IT systems.
To evaluate actions to improve the operation of a business system. Again, this may require an examination of organisational structure and staff development needs, to ensure that they are in line with any proposed process redesign and IT system development.
To document the business requirements for the IT system support using appropriate documentation standards.
In line with this, the core business analyst role could be defined as an internal consultancy role that has the responsibility for investigating business situations, identifying and evaluating options for improving business systems, defining requirements and ensuring the effective use of information systems in meeting the needs of the business.