In large organizations, there’s often a significant knowledge gap between the high-level management staff like the CEO, Managing Director or President and technical employees like engineers and programmers.
When these two parts of the company communicate directly with each other, issues can arise due to miscommunication. Often, the result of non-technical staff working directly with IT and other technical teams is an expensive disaster for the company.
The role of a business system analyst is to bridge the gap between the two different departments, offering a combination of technical knowledge to assist engineers and other technical staff and experience working with corporate management teams.
In this guide, we’ll explain the role of a business system analyst in greater detail to help you understand their importance. You’ll also learn the most important skills a business system analyst should possess for success within a large organization.
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How business system analysts break down information
One of the most important parts of a business analyst’s job is breaking down large processes into smaller tasks. Essentially, business system analysts systematize the important aspects of a business that make it function properly as a whole.
While the CEO is responsible for the company’s high-level decision making and the engineers and designers are responsible for creating tangible products, the job of a system analyst is to turn high-level decisions into tangible products.
Businesses without a system analyst – or, in the case of large organizations – a team of system analysts – often end up producing products and services that fail to align with the goals of management due to poor mid-level management.
A good business analyst breaks down a large project into smaller segments to keep track of, ensuring it runs according to schedule. This process can also often require the business analyst to make sure the product meets the original requirements.
In order to excel in their position, a business system analyst needs to be very good at communicating with people of many different professional backgrounds. Learn the keys to effective communication in our Compelling Communication course.
Bridging the gap between business, production and sales
Most of the examples in this guide look at the relationship between different parts of a large business in the context of a tech or software company. Business analysts play a role in any type of company that makes things, whether they’re tangible or not.
One of the most important responsibilities of a business system analyst is to bridge the metaphorical gap between the different departments of a business. Most of the time, these departments are business, production and sales.
Every company has a different department hierarchy. Some, like Apple, prioritize the design of their products. Companies with department hierarchy generally have one-day influence – the design department influences others, which don’t influence it.
Other companies focus on sales. Microsoft is an example of a technology company with a heavy focus on sales. Many of Microsoft’s software is designed with features suggested by existing customers based on the needs of its sales department.
Neither structure is ‘better’ than another – they’re simply different. In all companies with many department, a business system analyst bridges the gap to make sure that all departments remain on the same wavelength with regard to key decisions.
Some of the most frequent corporate clashes occur between business departments – teams of executives with limited technical knowledge – and a technical team with an understanding of its technological limitations, but not the company’s goals.
In this situation, a business system analyst would effectively bridge the gap between the two departments by explaining the concerns of the technical department to the business department in clear, simple language that reflects its goals and priorities.
Aside from requiring technical and business knowledge, a business system analyst needs to have a great understanding of corporate diplomacy. Learn more about the importance of corporate diplomacy with the 7 Tools to Communicate Tactfully.
Qualifications required to become a business system analyst
Since business system analysts work in a variety of industries, the qualifications and experience required to build a career as a business system analyst vary. Most of the time, system analyst positions require some formal IT training.
This is because of the large number of business system analysts that work in a role that links IT and business development departments. However, technical computer and IT knowledge isn’t always essential for developing a system analyst career.
Useful college degrees for business system analyst jobs include computer science, information technology, business studies and management and mathematics. The science-based subjects are also a good background for business system analysts.
As with many careers involving both technical knowledge and business skills, the best preparation for a good career is experience. A combination of hands-on work experience and the right degree makes accessing system analyst jobs far easier.
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Salary expectations and career progress for business system analysts
While business system analysts play an important part in the smooth operation of a large organization, they’re rarely a role that people stay in over the long term. Most business system analysts have less than 20 years of experience and eventually step into management or technical positions from the analyst role.
In the United States, Canada, Australia and most other Western countries, business system analysts can expect to earn from $50,000 to $70,000. As of 2014, the median income for a business systems analyst in the United States is $62,235.
Of course, with the right negotiating skills and excellent on-the-job performance, it’s possible to rise above the median salary. Learn how to negotiate a salary that values your input at what it’s really worth today.
Learn more about becoming a business system analyst
As large organizations become increasingly dependent on information technology and automation, the gap between the abilities of high-level managers and technical staff is growing ever wider.
Business system analysts bridge an important gap between the managerial and the technical, making them a valuable asset to large organizations, and making a career as a business system analyst a secure and potentially lucrative future.
Would you like to learn more about becoming a business system analyst? Read our blog post on developing a business analyst résumé to learn which skills, credentials and abilities will have the biggest positive effect on developing your career.