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What is a good business analyst career path?

Not all career paths look the same, but there are generally similar points where the journey begins. The path of a business analyst career is no different.

What is a business analyst?

Business Analysis – along with systems analysis – refers to all activity related to the set of systems conducted by a business. This includes communication between clients and stakeholders in order to provide the ideal service as well as fulfilling the objectives the company sets out to achieve.

A business analyst is a person charged with the duties of business analysis and usually has a dynamic role which offers solutions for faulty or suboptimal systems with the intention of providing the most efficient processes, saving the employees time and the business money.

As you learn more about the world of Business and Systems Analysis, you’ll find that the position is broad and allows a range of exciting career development.

Business systems analyst careers

When it comes to a career path, one of the important things to remember is that there is always a position to work towards. Forwarding your career can happen in several ways and the path can look different to each business analyst.

Business analysis has a strong focus on working with software systems in order to make certain processes within a company automated. As a result, business analysis and information and technology (IT) are often connected as career options, since the two are closely linked. This is coupled with the fact that business analysis is dynamic and meaning the defined role can be multi-faceted.

The general careers, with differing levels of executive management, of business analyst include:

Business analyst

A general business analyst concentrates on the business side of systems analysis. This means liaising with stakeholders, ensuring systems are operating smoothly, and evaluating the running of the company to certify that deadlines are being met and goods and services are being provided with both the correct quality and quantity.

Business researcher and specialist

A researcher is tasked with conducting an investigation into how the company’s product or service is performing and how that performance can be improved. This includes analysing competitor’s strategies and systems to see what is working well for them and implementing the best-suited set of systems into the business. The researcher might also be responsible for monitoring new systems in place to gauge the level of efficiency over time.

Systems analyst

This position is closely linked with IT as it is a role of software analysis. The systems analyst takes the research done by the business specialist and implements systems in a way that works best for the company and team members. A newly implemented system should not hinder workflow, and operations should run smoothly during the transition.

Business advisors

Business consultants are often freelance or externally hired individuals who are experts in their industries. The consultant can be tasked with different duties, but usually this consists of finding and implementing refined systems into the company in order to achieve certain goals laid out.

Moving your business analyst career forward

While there are different paths you can take to move up in business ranks, there are several important traits which every successful business analyst needs. These are:

Hard-working

A business analyst should be able to tackle tasks with fervor so that the business can drive forward and grow with the right protocols in place. Hard-work is a key characteristic of a successful individual, and it goes a long way in progressing your career forward.

Always learning

In order to find out the best systems for the company, the business analyst should be constantly learning on the job. Updating the knowledge-bank is an essential part of the analysis.

This could also include taking a short course in management or analysis with the intention of developing new skills in a theoretical way so that they can be practically executed with excellence.

Constantly listening and adjusting

A good leader knows that listening to the feedback of their employees is crucial to their work experience. Similarly, a good analyst knows that considering the opinions of the stakeholders is vital to business relationships. Adjusting the processes in place when necessary shows that feedback isn’t falling on deaf ears.

Focused on improving

The purpose of business analysis is to improve the systems of a company. This means that the business analyst should also be focused on improvement; whether self-development, work relationships or the processes used in the company. Aiming to be the best brings you one step closer to becoming the best.

What are the stages of a systems development life cycle?

Stages of systems development

Systems development life cycle: The different stages

In business, any systems which are implemented into the operations must go through several processes before they are fully integrated into the company infrastructure. The seven stages of systems development (commonly known as the SDLC) refers to the process of taking a theoretical model of a business system and making it a fully functional protocol in a company which is used practically in business runnings.

The importance of the stages of systems development in business analysis

One of the fundamental aspects of business systems analysis is to consider the value and the efficiency of the systems within a company. This means it is important to evaluate the life cycle of the different systems in the business and analyse whether the systems are worthwhile implementing. Before any of the stages of SDLC are run in a company, it is crucial to first evaluate the benefits of the system. From there, the business systems analyst can look into conducting the first stage of the systems life cycle.

What are the 7 stages of the systems development life cycle?

The systems development life cycle, once a five-stage process, is now made up of seven different stages of development. These stages in order are:

1. Planning

Anyone who is involved in any stage of development will tell you that the most important systems start out with a good plan. Without a planning phase, it is difficult to have an idea of what needs to happen and when it needs to happen.

In the planning phase in systems development, the systems analyst should focus on what the system is aiming to achieve and use that information to find a way to achieve that goal. Evaluating the systems already in place is also important in this phase as there might be a pre-existing system which might offer a cheaper solution with some improvement.

The business systems analyst should also look at what resources are needed while remembering what is available, and how it can be used.

2. Requirements analysis

Before looking to launch a new system, it is important to first understand what is needed to develop the system successfully. The business systems analyst should have a good idea of what the company requires from a particular system while considering what the client needs from the company. The point of a good system is to marry the two needs at the most efficient and cost-effective manner. In the requirement analysis phase, the analyst should draw up a list of everything needed from the company to develop the best system, all the while bearing in mind what resources are actually available.

3. Designing

Once all planning and requirements are in place, the plans are handed over to the systems architect who can then start working on the design of the systems. Often the systems to be designed are based on software or IT infrastructure. This means that the systems development designers will likely be IT specialists or software developers.

4. Development

Once the fresh designs are ready, the relevant team members can start working on the development of the systems. In this phase, the blueprint of the system moves from model to practical as the developers flesh out a fully functional system.

5. Testing

At the end of the development phase, the systems might look fully operational, but it is important that they are first tested before going live. This irons out any kinks in the systems to make sure that it is working as perfectly as it should be. In the testing phase, the system should undergo critical scrutiny in different scenarios. If any bugs or issues are found, the team should set to resolve them without upsetting the rest of the system.

6. Integration and execution

The integration phase sees the first launch of the system. In the ideal situation, execution is so smooth that no effort is required when the integration happens. If it is possible, integrating a new system into a company should be automatic and streamline.

7. Operations and maintenance

Even though testing should have resolved any issues that might arise, it is still important to monitor the new system to ensure it is operating correctly. It is also important that the system undergoes frequent maintenance so that can continue to run smoothly.

From a research standpoint, it is crucial to monitor the system to gain an understanding of whether it is benefitting the business as expected and how the performance is influencing workflow. For the first few months after launching a new system, the business systems analyst should report on how it is running and the difference it is making.

What is the role of a business analyst?

Business Analyst

Making sure a company’s systems are at their peak performance is one of the most important components in business analysis.

The business systems analyst (also referred to as a BSA) is responsible for optimising systems and protocols within a company. This means making sure that all systems are improved to run at their maximum efficiency.

Although the BSA is involved in all processes of a business, the focus is usually on information technology (IT) systems. The purpose of conducting a systems analysis is to identify what is working successfully and what is hindering progress for the business. A good BSA is able to find and upgrade or remove any outdated systems as well as developing new systems to improve the company’s functions.

The main role of a business systems analyst

The most important role of the business systems analyst is to promote efficiency through the systems used in a company. This is broken into two components:

  • Improving and optimising current systems in the business; and
  • Creating new systems to support the company’s strategies.

Although it might sound like a simple process, business systems analysis is in-depth and requires time and research to achieve the best results. The BSA should be able to conduct an investigation into what processes are inefficient and explore ways to better or replace the problematic system.

The business systems analyst should also keep a keen focus on what is externally expected of a business, and should find ways to align the systems with the needs of the public while ensuring the company’s work performance remains productive.

What is the role of a business analyst?

The business component of business systems analysis is personal with a strong focus on human resources and building relations between stakeholders or clients and the business. The result of this is that the business analyst is able to gather information from the stakeholders in order to make sure the right systems are correctly in place as well as liaising with clients and providing information of how practical aspects of the business are going.

What is the role of a systems analyst?

The systems component of business systems analysis puts a spotlight on the systems, protocols and process of the business. This is where the optimisation and improvement of systems, such as software, human and manufacturing, is developed.

There can be different roles for these two components and often the business analyst in a company works very closely with the systems analyst. An individual can be tasked with both roles; for example in the case of a small company or for a large company focused where the business systems analysis can focus solely on one department.

You receive the fundamentals in both business and systems analysis through our 12-week long Business and Systems Analysis short course, where you will learn how to use innovation to drive company growth as well as understanding how to tackle issues in a creative way.

Business systems analyst jobs requirements

Like most career paths, business and systems analysis can be considered a trade in itself or it can vary depending on the company, the experience and the skill set of the analyst. This means that business analyst careers could have different requirements or duties linked to the work. That being said, there are general responsibilities that every BSA should set out to accomplish.

The job requirements of a business and systems analyst can be broken down into the following capabilities:

What are the skills required for a business systems analyst?

  • The ability to collect any necessary information in order to analyse the protocols and functions of a business.
  • The understanding to consider the aims of the company and ensure that the systems put in place are aligned.
  • Capabilities to design software and computing systems to aid in the workings of the business, such that maximum efficiency can be ensured.
  • Insight to identify any problems in the company’s methods and find suitable solutions.
  • Evaluation progress skills to regularly analyse information with the intention of defining what systems work well and which ones need improvement.
  • The understanding to liaise with stakeholders and clients and make sure what is expected is clear.

Everything you need to know about Business and Systems Analysis

As the name implies, business systems analysis is the surveying and evaluation of different processes and systems in a business. The focus of the work is usually on the automation in the mechanisms of the systems, which means that it is often closely linked with Information Technology (IT) systems. Through analysis of a business’ tools, infrastructure, systems, and even the work that the team does, the analyst can explore ways to improve the business by optimisation.

Owing to the nature of the position, the business systems analyst (BSA) often works closely with individuals managing different departments in a business, as well as any line managers, project managers, or operations managers in the field.

Business analyst job description

The business systems analyst in a company is accountable for the assessment and improvement of systems in the business. Basically, the BSA is responsible to make processes in a business work in the most efficient way. This happens through research, strategic testing, planning and implementation of new, optimised systems.

The BSA must consider how the trajectory of the company’s functions affect the future of the company, and should explore ways of putting plans in place to cater for future needs and growth.

One of the key components in business systems analysis is how the Systems Development Life Cycle can influence the success of a business. The BSA should look for ways to implement the right system at the right time in order to move the business forward in the direction of excellence.

What is the role of a business system analyst?

A successful BSA has several responsibilities that they juggle on a daily basis. The role requires working with both systems and people in a way that promotes productivity. This means that the business systems analyst:

  • Looks to identify issues in current systems to ensure fruitful business growth.
  • Focuses on functions of the business to improve important systems.
  • Works closely with organisation structure designers to develop and implement new processes.

On a relational and human resourcing front, the BSA offers a unique perspective because they are looking at the business from a critical point of view. This means that they can empathise with customers or stakeholders who are hoping to expect the best from a company. The result is that the BSA:
– Liaises with customers and stakeholders to understand what they want.

– Communicates with field experts and researchers to find the best way to offer the required processes.

– Interacts with different department managers to ensure the systems are running correctly.

With “analysis” in the title, it is unsurprising that research is a crucial component in the business systems analysis field. Investigating better ways for a company to perform tasks is possibly one of the most important parts of being a BSA. Therefore, the analyst:

– Analyses the needs and requirements of the employees, the business, the customers and stakeholders.

– Looks for problems in the business and finds ways to solve the issues.

– Investigates designs and new technologies to apply to the business model.

What does a business analyst do?

A BSA analyses all of the working systems, protocols and processes in an organisation, evaluating aspects of the business with regards to what works well and what systems should be changed or removed. The business systems analyst looks at the practical workings of the business with the intention of improving methods and making systems more efficient.

The BSA of a company also considers what clients and stakeholders want and need from the business and look for productive, creative ways to provide what is required.

The different types of business systems analyst jobs

Since business systems analysis is connected so closely with IT, the two career paths often cross and link up. The role itself is dynamic and multifaceted, with a focus on different aspects related to the systematic approach of the business.

Although becoming a general business systems analyst is a career option, there are also branches in the field ranging from entry-level to top-end professionals.

Business analyst

This is both a general career for a BSA and an encompassing term for the field. The business analyst is responsible for the optimisation of systems by focusing on the structures within the company. This involved evaluating the state of the business and conducting constructive criticisms for the unhelpful or inefficient protocols and providing solutions to improve them. The key focus for a business analyst is on the business systems more so than the technology.

Marketing researcher and specialist

Although this might sound like a marketing role, it still has a key attention in the field of analysis. A marketing specialist works with product reviewers and other marketing researchers in order to discover what systematic strategies of sales work best. From there, the marketing research might use competitor products to analyse the performance of the business from a sales point of view.

Systems analyst

While business analysts concentrate on the operations in and related to the business, the systems analyst has to pay close attention to the technology behind the company. This role, in particular, is linked to IT and software systems. The systems analyst is responsible for considering and converting the high-levels of a business’ needs into operational workflow and applicable programs that developers can engineer into software for the business.

Business consultants

A business consultant is specialised in specific industries and is focused on providing their experience and expertise to a business. The consultant looks to implement new systems – based on their industry knowledge – into the company’s processes to target particular objectives.

What skills are needed for business and systems analysis?

A successful BSA usually has a broad position with specific focuses. Because of the dynamic role, they are able to tackle the variety of tasks through a honed set of skills. While work experience helps to develop the necessary expertise, aiming to sharpen the skills necessary for the career is recommended. The characteristics required to be a great business analyst are:

Adaptive

In business, things go wrong despite the amount of time spent planning. Unexpected issues arise and that’s okay. However, it requires the person developing the systems imperative to the workflow to be able to work around the obstacles, rather than getting stuck by them. A BSA needs to be able to adapt to changes in a business in order to perform to the best of their ability.

Good at communication

In any field, it’s crucial to be able to communicate a message clearly. In business systems analysis, this is double as important. Whether to a team member, a manager, or a stakeholder, a BSA must be able to explain exactly what they mean. If not, important instructions with regards to the systems of business could be confused, which might lead to an excessive inefficiency in time and money.

Relational

It is important for a business systems analyst to be able to interact well with customers and stakeholders. Since these business relationships are critical to growth and potential investment and revenue, the BSA needs to be skilled at conducting meaningful exchanges with individuals. The analyst should be able to get along with people in order to build and develop good relations between on behalf of the business.

Good with time management

A BSA is tasked with developing systems which make work run as smoothly – and as timeously – as possible. It, therefore, should be in their nature to be efficient and understand the importance of good time management. In any successful business, work happens on time and any successful  BSA knows this and ensures that the right systems are put in place to make sure it does.

Creative thinking

“Analysis” might not sound appealing to the imaginative individuals, but there’s an element of creativity involved in looking for new ways to improve old tasks. In order to develop simple ways to optimise complicated systems, there’s a reasonable amount of out-the-box thinking which needs to happen.

Business systems analysis using the 5W and 1H approach

Since one of the fundamental purposes of business systems analysis is to improve processes in a company, it is important to consider what problems exist in the systems in order to solve them.

Using the 5W’s and 1H technique, the BSA can identify, define and find issues. This approach is taught in detail in our Business and Systems Analysis short course.

The 5Ws and 1H:

  • What is the problem that needs fixing?
  • Why is it important to fix?
  • Who is involved? Is the customer affected or is it an internal issue that needs resolving?
  • When was the issue discovered and when did it start?
  • Where is the issue?
  • How can it be fixed?

What are the stages of systems development life cycle?

The systems development life cycle, commonly referred to as the SDLC, is the process of turning a theoretical model of business systems into a functional and practical one and involved the implementation thereof.

The SDLC was once a five-step process but has been revised to a cycle with seven phases of development. These stages are:

  1. Planning
  2. Requirements analysis
  3. Designing
  4. Development
  5. Testing – and integration
  6. Execution
  7. Operations and maintenance

Planning

In order to start, you need to have a plan. In the planning phase, the BSA considers the scope of the project with regard to a number of points, such as how many things need to change, what exactly can be implemented, how long a systems overhaul might take, and the budget required compared to the budget available for a project. Planning thoroughly looks at the resources and how they can be used.

Requirements analysis

Where planning has a focus on what needs exist from the business side, requirements analysis looks at what is required from the stakeholders and customers. In this phase, a list defining the necessary tasks ideal for both the business and the customers and stakeholders is created.

Designing

Following the planning and requirements analysis phase, the systems architecture team can start work on designing the protocols which will be developed and implemented into the business. These designs work to start putting the correct infrastructure in place.

Development

Under the development phase, the software necessary to implement the newly developed processes is created. The software is practical, functional, and usually remains in testing until ready to launch.

Testing

Before a new system can be fully integrated into a business, it needs to be tested to make sure there are no lingering bugs or issues in the software. Not only does the software undergo testing to ensure it is working as it should, it is also tested for quality purposes. It is important to test the system multiple times, and under as many different scenarios as possible to make sure it works under all situations and to avoid simple issues in the future.

Integration and execution

Once fully tested, the systems are launched into the business. Where possible, this should be an automated process, ensuring that the new systems are integrated smoothly. In the best case, this phase makes a difference with the least effort to change the existing systems in place.

Operations and maintenance

Once launched, the new software and systems in place should be monitored to ensure that they are aligned with the company as they have been planned, developed and tested to do. If any problems arise, they should be resolved as quickly as possible. If any systems need maintenance, it should be scheduled and automated where possible.

Business analysis salary

According to Payscale, the average salary for this position in South Africa is R353,303 per annum.

Business systems analysts can expect to earn the following according to their occupational level:

Occupational level:Average annual income:
Entry-levelR350,165
Mid-career professionalR490,798
Top-end professionalR640,000

A bonus remuneration within this field varies according to your experience and ranges from R7,000 – R150,000.

How to become a business analyst

You need to work hard to become an expert figure in business systems analysis by taking every opportunity presented. Gaining experience in the industry is an important way to learn on the job quickly.

Taking a short course in business systems analysis is highly recommended as a means to gain the important and practical knowledge necessary to excel in the field. Through MasterStart, you learn how to both identify and tackle a problem in the best way possible as well as gather in-depth knowledge in analysis related to internal systems and competitor research.

Meet Business & Systems Analyst Course Facilitator, Professor Pete Janse Van Vuuren

Professor Pete Janse Van Vuuren is an experienced and highly motivated executive level management professional with diverse technical proficiencies and wide-ranging business, financial and academic competencies. He has a total of 30 years’ experience with a key focus on the IT industry. With a wealth of experience across technical, financial and academic verticals, he boasts 25 years’ experience in general and senior management positions.

Pete set up and ran three IT-related businesses, and is currently the CEO of The Thinking Cap with his key engagements being: Research Fellow – Wits School for Electrical and Software Engineering, Faculty Member and Visiting Professor (Wits Business School, UCT Graduate School of Business, US Business School and UFS Business School) Adjunct Professor – CPUT Faculty Member – Duke University Director – Wits JCSE Director and Co-Founder – CIO Council of South Africa.

This driven leader presents excellent training and mentoring talents whilst improving business effectiveness by inspiring, leading, and coaching employees.

Pete has both theoretical and practical expertise, having set up three IT-related businesses. Currently he is the CEO of The Thinking Cap with his key engagements being the Research Fellow at the Wits School for Electrical and Software Engineering, Faculty Member and Visiting Professor (Wits Business School, UCT Graduate School of Business, US Business School and UFS Business School) Adjunct Professor – CPUT Faculty Member – Duke University Director – Wits JCSE Director and Co-Founder – CIO Council of South Africa.

Not only is Pete richly experienced in his industry, but he also creates excitement in the field and is outspoken in how important business systems analysis is to the success of a business.

He advocates that a good Chief Information Officer (CIO) is not afraid of disrupting the business model and that a company should rethink their business structure in the direction of taking advantages of technological processes. Pete offers crucial knowledge on how to correctly implement systems which can shape a company to generate revenue.

What is Business and Systems Analysis?

The field of Business Systems Analysis is an important one to grow a company through healthy, sustainable expansion. But what is the career exactly?

The industry of business systems analysis is focused on researching and evaluating the systems and software of a company.

Although the role of a business systems analyst (BSA) can be a general one, involved in different departments of a company, the position usually has a key focus on information technology (IT) and computing systems which can be used to optimise company systems.

This means that the BSA should have a thorough knowledge of IT systems as well as how software development, testing, and integration can be incorporated into functional business systems.

What does a Business Systems Analysis do?

The business systems analyst of a company usually has an overview of a company, often more than the CEO because of how broad the role is. The technology behind the business is vital to how well the company functions, and it’s up to the BSA to ensure that the technology in place is the best it can be.

Business and Systems Analysis course

Through our 12-week long Business and Systems Analysis short course, Pete will walk you through important aspects related to the field.

In the course, you will learn fundamental processes which will help you identify, define and solve problems in business systems. You will study different strategies to improve the company’s systems, such as the 5Ws and 1H approach.

Pete goes through the business systems analysis process from start to finish, offering convenient solutions to complex issues. In the course, you will be taught how to use software and technology to plan and develop methods which can help you – and the company executives – achieve goals set out.

This course is recommended for new Business and Systems Analysts, as well as professionals experienced in the career. Pete offers practical points that can be implemented easily.


study systems analysis online

Are you new to business and systems analysis?

business and systems analysis as a career

There’s never the “right” time to make that smart career move. You need to go after what you want in life. If you’ve been hovering over the idea of advancing your career and moving into the analytical aspects of your organisation, then you have more than likely considered getting to grips with a Business and Systems Analysis online short course.

What is Business Systems Analysis?

Business and Systems Analysis is concerned with identifying areas that could be improved and optimised to increase business value. As a business analyst it is your job to think outside of the box, developing innovative ways that allows the organisation to function more efficiently at its optimum productivity rate. You will be at the forefront of driving positive change by establishing a clear and effective path for business growth.

What is the Earning Potential in business and systems analysis?

An enticing reason to pursue a career in Business and Systems Analysis is the earning potential. According to PayScale, South Africans working within this field, are doing really well for themselves. Not only are these employees doing well but the majority of employees within this industry reported highly satisfied working lives/environments.

Occupational level Average annual income
Entry-level R350,165
Mid-career professional R490,798
Top-end professional R640,000

What Skills Do You Need to Pursue Your Career in Business and Systems Analysis?

When you work in the business analyst world, you require specific skills that help organisations increase productivity through various channels and methodologies.

It can be incredibly challenging to secure gainful employment within this industry without any formal qualifications.

Get a qualification that allows you to prove your worth to your company. These are some of the essential skills that a Business and Systems Analyst needs:

1. Develop methodology documents based on self-initiated interviews, diagrams, surveys and workflow analysis.

2. Research and analyze all aspects of existing business practices and procedures.

3. Communicate with heads of all departments about common frustrations, hindrances and other issues that interrupt their workflow.

4. Create detailed plans for execution and implementation of new processes, including budgetary guidelines and key personnel.

5. Nominate and work with a project manager to develop new project plans and see them through to completion.

6. Oversee the life cycle of changes to business systems and prepare detailed reports for executive management.

You may already have the necessary skills to do this kind of work but you just need that head start. Earn a certificate that provides you with real-life workplace skills that you can start implementing almost immediately.

MasterStart offers an online short course in Business and Systems Analysis, which you could use to advance your career and make bold moves within your organization, to get that increase you’ve been longing for.