A Business Systems Analyst is a tech professional who is responsible for analyzing business systems and understands what the technology needs are. It’s definitely not a role that you think of as a little kid when your parents ask what you want to be when you grow up.
A Business Systems Analyst is one of those roles that you just fall into as you develop professionally. Unless you’re studying Information Systems, Computer Science, Business Administration or a related field, it’s not likely that you’d naturally consider a career in this role.
Other related roles are Business Analyst and Systems Analyst. These roles are sometimes used interchangeably and require some of the same job functionalities. They also come with similar salary ranges.
A Business Analyst (BA) is a person that understands business needs and can communicate technical needs to business. While a Business Systems Analyst (BSA) or Systems Analyst (SA) understands the business need and can design and implement solutions.
The role of a Business Systems Analyst (BSA)
A Business Systems Analyst wears many hats. But at their core, one of the major responsibilities is to analyze business systems. These systems could include, but are not limited to the processes and software related to:
- Project management
- Client relationship management
- IT ticket tracking
- Software decommissioning
- Software implementation
In my role as a Systems Analyst and Smartsheet Consultant, clients come with the intention of improving their business processes. The goal is to implement a software that will help them to streamline and automate their work.
A Business Systems Analyst should be able to look at their current processes and the technology they currently use and make recommendations.
Before making a recommendation, if your team does not have a dedicated Business Analyst, the Systems Analyst is responsible for gathering requirements.
This process is very important and takes a lot of skill and a curious mind. Ultimately, this part drives the success or failure of the solution.
After a recommendation is made, depending on your company, the Systems Analyst will design a solution that addresses each business requirement.
Decoding the BSA Lexicon: Making Sense of the Jargon
There are many terms you’ll need to understand when considering a role as a BSA. You not only need to understand technical terminology, but business terminology as well.
To do the job well, you’ll want to make sure you really understand what’s needed and make sure all parties are on the same page.
Coming up with common terms or creating something like a dictionary or legend, is a really good idea when speaking with clients.
More than anything, you want to make sure that you and your client are talking about the same thing. Language is very important.
Here are some common business and technical terms that you want to be familiar with beforehand.
User Story – A business requirement that defines a specific system functionality.
Integration – Combining one or more systems together.
Data Flow – The flow of data from one source to another.
Process Mapping – Usually via a diagram that shows how business processes flow.
Metrics – A quantifiable unit used to measure and track production and performance.
Prioritize – The act of placing the importance of one thing over the other.
User Interface – How the user interacts with the computer.
Use Case – A scenario that describes the way a system can be used.
User Acceptance Testing (UAT) – Testing done by the end user to validate a completed requirement.
There are other terms you will learn along the way that are business and/or domain specific. But learning basic IT, systems and business language will take you far.
BSA Bootcamp: Mastering Digital Tools and Techniques
Embracing the role of a BSA requires a multifaceted skill set, including a plethora of digital tools and techniques. And in today’s tech space, fluency in these tools isn’t just an asset, it’s necessary to be successful in this role.
Navigating the complexities of the business and technology intersection requires a lot of wit and some finesse. So if this sounds like you, the role might be a great fit.
As a BSA, SA or BA, you should be equipped with the tools to uncover patterns, identify trends, and extract actionable insights from the data you are analyzing.
Understanding how to use specific platforms like Power BI, Tableau and other data visualization tools aren’t as important as understanding the mechanics behind slicing and dicing a data set to tell a story.
Once you understand how it’s done, it’s simple to use different tools to perform the task at hand.
Process mapping using tools like Visio and Miro are great for visualizing the process. You should also use the correct process mapping shapes. See illustration here.
Key Takeaway: Data analysis is a way to transform raw unfiltered data into business insights that foster efficient decision making.
Confidence in the Field: Crafting Your BSA Persona
Becoming proficient in this role is 50% technical and 50% confidence and professionalism. It’s very important in any role that you cultivate a persona that is open to receiving constructive feedback, confident in your abilities, and open to collaboration. Although this work is challenging, it’s definitely rewarding with the right attitude and drive.
Effective Communication: Bridging the gap between technology and business is fundamental to the success of this role. It’s all about being able to communicate effectively between the two.
You’ll need to know how to translate complex technical jargon into understandable terminology for stakeholders. In the same fashion, you’ll need to be able to translate business needs/requirements into technical terminology for developers.
Explaining the why behind implementing features, integrating systems and communicating business strategies clearly and concisely builds trust and ensures alignment.
Problem Solving Mindset: Challenges will present themselves in the ever-evolving tech landscape. Knowing how to navigate them with grace is your job.
Having a problem-solving mindset to approach obstacles is a sign of your willingness and ability to grow.
Because problem solving involves trial and error, you have to be okay with messing up yet having the resilience, intelligence and technical thinking skills to overcome.
Being proactive in your approach is a great way to effectively showcase your expertise and leadership within a team.