Software has become an integral part of almost every type of work. For most businesses out there, software is the main component for speeding up processes and elevating the overall quality of production and customer service to the next level.
The progress that we as people have made in the realm of software development during these last 5-10 years has significantly changed the global market. The business world is now moving faster than ever and companies are turning to software to help them expedite their business operations.
Building or adopting the best type of software that has the ability to serve the company with proper insights and enable it to work smarter and faster is now a top item on almost every major company’s priority list.
However, even though the desire is there, most companies still struggle to build/adopt/adapt solutions that will actually help them successfully optimize their work, reduce cost, fully automate mundane tasks, and claim better positions to attract customers.
The main reason why this is still so hard for many enterprises out there has a lot to do with how they think about these technological solutions and how they start building them. Speaking from experience working with various enterprise-level clients, most of them don’t have a business analyst that’s involved in the software development process right from the start.
In this article, we at Share IT would like to dig deeper into the roles and responsibilities of a business analyst in the software industry and underline its importance in the whole software development cycle.
In order to understand why you need a business analyst when thinking about a potential technological solution for your business, it is of crucial importance to first understand how successful software is actually made.
The software development cycle is a process that a team of software engineers follows inside of a software development team or company to create the best solution for the company’s or client’s needs. In a nutshell, it can be described as a detailed plan that consists of steps that the team needs to take to develop, maintain, replace and alter or enhance specific software.
The end goal is always the same: develop or redesign high-quality software systems and meet both the customer and the real-world requirements.
These are 6 essential steps that every software development cycle goes through to ensure that the project gets completed:
The work that happens under every single one of these stages is self-explanatory. Even though it's hard to say which one of these stages is more important than the other (because everything that happens during this software development cycle has a significant effect on the overall success of the product), the planning part is definitely of key value.
The work you do here will either make or break the entire project. Before you move ahead with any type of plan, you need to be 100% sure that your plan is worth the hassle - meaning, that you have identified an actual pain-point for your customers and that you can solve with a specific solution.
This is where business analysts enter the picture and make a difference.
In layman’s terms, a business analyst is a person that identifies the need for a specific technological solution and determines if a particular idea is in sync with what the customers actually need.
Business analysts wear multiple hats during the software development cycle and play an integral part during the entire process.
Apart from identifying specific customer needs and understanding the problems that need to be solved (which are part of the planning stage), business analysts are usually responsible for the collection of all the specs and narrowing the information down to something ‘doable’. They are the ones who try to keep all ideas grounded and make them feasible and practical.
A business analyst’s job is also to advise the company on which features it would be best to focus first. As soon as this part is done, you can start drafting the requirements specifications. They are goal-driven, which means that they have a deep understanding of the problems that the software needs to solve and they are able to eliminate unexpected costs such as rebuilding efforts. Having such a role in the software development process usually means that the customer will see less unnecessary expenses, which is always a good thing.
Companies that don’t have a business analyst in their ranks are usually the ones that end up with products that don’t really hit the mark with their customers. These companies usually try to jam as many features as possible into a single solution, which tends to backfire. Everyone who has any experience with software development will tell you the same thing - the bigger your product becomes, the harder it is to maintain an optimal speed of the system.
Business analysts demystify tech jargon for people who are not tech-savvy, but also help the developers understand a customer’s business needs if they’re not immediately transparent. With that in mind, it’s safe to say that the role of the business analyst is critical in the software development cycle because they ensure that information is correctly distributed and understood across both sides.
As you probably know, it takes a while to develop custom software and that process is often filled with unpredicted obstacles that come into play out of the blue and tend to slow things down a bit. When that happens, it’s important to be frank with the client and present the information in a solution-focused way. A business analyst is the one that keeps the communication between all stakeholders active and works to improve the flow of information by knowing the strong and weak points of the team members.
This individual is usually responsible for updating the customer on the progress of the project and guiding the development team towards a potential solution. Without this person keeping the flow going and looping everyone in, there will be a need to redo certain parts of the software and cause a lot of headaches on both sides. The business analyst updates all stakeholders during all phases of the software development life cycle and makes sure that development is always moving forward, with everyone’s best interests in mind.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article in its entirety. As you can see from everything written above, business analysts are key figures in the software development lifecycle that bring a lot of good for all stakeholders involved in the creation of a particular project. At Share IT, we have a committed business analyst that helps our clients win. If you want to find out more about the way we work, you can learn more about it here. If you have a project in mind, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.