Business Analyst in IT: Roles & Responsibilities in Software Development

Business Analyst in IT: Roles & Responsibilities in Software Development

28 September 2022 • 23 min read

Why hire a business analyst in software industry? If you’ve ever worked on digital product development, you understand the importance of having a comprehensive team. BA is one of its integral members.

The global business analytics market reached over $76 billion in 2021. Companies increasingly engage BA experts and invest in this niche, making the market grow to $122.5 billion in 2027.

A business analyst is a link between a company and its technical operations. This expert does everything to ensure your business achieves its goals, stays ahead of competitors, attracts more customers, and, most importantly, releases the highest quality software possible.

Business analytics is much more than a set of numbers and boring reports. It’s thorough work that allows you to make data-driven decisions for your company’s benefit.

Today, we’ll talk about the business analyst role and responsibility for any organization involved in software development. We’ll list the core skills of this expert and elaborate on the BA process in IT.

Softermii has significant experience in business analysis, and our products like Streamotion, SmartStart, and MediConnect prove this. We can share valuable insights from our background and are ready to provide qualified business analysts and a development team to create first-class software for you.

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What Does a Business Analyst Do in Software Development

Each organization must pay close attention to factors that affect the whole team or company.

Some of those factors are people:

  • Project manager
  • Head of department
  • Director
  • Business analyst

Another factor would be all the positions involved in direct communication with the development team or other departments and affecting each employee.

The schema demonstrates typical collaboration within the team (secondary connections are not provided) and sets up when the analyst is missed.

Business analyst in software industry

The state without a business analyst is chaotic and affects each employee.

Thus, the business analyst helps to streamline numerous company processes, and primary BA roles include:

  • Evaluating business data
  • Improving decision-making within the company
  • Increasing the company’s profits
  • Optimizing the software development process
  • And much more

Why Is a Business Analyst Not a Product Manager or a Project Manager?

We shall endeavor to explain the business analyst’s meaning. If you were uncertain about some element of a business analyst in software industry, this should answer all your questions.

No business analyst job description would be complete without explaining how these three positions work together. Sometimes, all three individuals come from similar backgrounds and have equivalent knowledge. However, they all focus on different areas, even if their overall goal is the same.

By combining those roles, a company misses huge opportunities, mainly in financial gain and client satisfaction. It affects the whole team, and negative consequences will soon appear.

Let’s discuss the differences between the IT business analyst, product manager, and project manager and why each role requires different responsibilities and should not be combined into one position in the agile software development team.

Project Manager vs. Business Analyst

Project managers are mainly responsible for initiating, planning, and executing a project and successful closure or maintenance. They must also define the project while managing tasks. Building a team that will perform the work is within their purview.

Business analysts focus more on the end product results that should meet business objectives. The roles of BA are to get the client’s demands, assess the client’s business model, market needs, and competition, and transform that into technical requirements for future product development. They also measure future business value and ensure that the end products satisfy the client.

Product Manager vs. Business Analyst

You could think of a product manager as the executive manager on that project. Often this role takes place more on the client’s side in case of outsourcing the project development.

Product owners (as they are sometimes called) build and control the product roadmap and strategy execution. Their area includes measurements of the product’s profit and loss (P&L) and overall responsibilities for the product. They coordinate all communication between marketing, sales, development teams, and forecasting as well in some cases.

While again, business analyst responsibilities are almost focused on clients, aka business objectives. They present these needs to the engineering team in the same language, in tech documentation and wireframes, and ensure that all business requirements are met during the entire development stage.

How Business Analysts, Product Managers, and Project Managers Work Together

A business analyst works closely with the project and product managers to coordinate the client’s demands and engineering teamwork. It is their job to ensure the requirements are defined and understood so that the software team can build according to them.

Role Description and Required Skills for a Business Analyst

To choose the right business analyst for your company, you must understand the main roles and skills of such an expert. For this purpose, we have prepared a comprehensive list for you.

Roles of a BA

A business analyst typically undertakes the following duties:

Business Idea Clarification

The role of a business analyst here is to define your digital product’s goals. Your BA clarifies the software’s key metrics, for example, its value proposition, KPIs, and audience acquisition methods.

Product Development Planning

The responsibilities of a business analyst also include helping with the planning of digital product development. This expert starts from the goals of the business and, based on them, distributes areas of responsibility among employees.

Requirements Approval

The business analyst compares the developed product documentation with business requirements. In this way, this expert helps deliver results that align with business goals.

Product Development Process Standardization

The business analyst role also includes streamlining software development. This expert standardizes the entire process and ensures that employees adhere to all business goals and requirements.

Skillset of a BA

Which skills are necessary for a decent business analyst? Please take a look at them below.

Analytical Thinker

It is quite logical that a business analyst should be able to analyze information. This skill enables an expert to look at problems or issues from different angles and find the most effective solutions.

Decision-Maker

Although the business analyst acts as an intermediary between the team and the business owner, he is often responsible for making decisions. Therefore, it should be a reliable expert who can assess the situation and take action.

Problem-Solver

This fundamental skill follows the previous one. If your business analyst can confidently make decisions, then he should also be able to solve various problems. Such an expert should study the issue from different angles, determine the available ways to solve it, and choose the most effective strategy.

Documentation and Visualization Skills

A business analyst must be able to present the information correctly and accessibly to the team. That is why he must have visualization and documentation skills.

Role of IT Business Analyst in Software Development Process

Okay, now, you should have some understanding of the IT business analyst’s key responsibilities. Let’s go into more detail about the BA’s duties and tasks during different development stages. That will reveal why engaging a BA is so critical if you haven’t thought one was necessary before.

Planning & Research Phase

The planning phase is when you begin the journey toward bringing a new product to market. It is an exploratory process, during which the software BA estimates the volume of future efforts.

Here the first communication between clients and a software development business analyst occurs. At this point, the BA assesses the client’s business model, market, and competitors and figures out what pain point the business owner or potential product users have.

The business analyst looks at a market gap that they are trying to fill and analyzes the market and existing competitors’ solutions if they are. In simple terms, BA validates your application or software business idea and adjusts it if it is necessary.

These observations will be reflected in business requirements and the initial technical offer.

BA collaborates closely with a UX researcher and solution architect at this stage. Together, they study the product’s market potential, the needed functionalities, and the tech stack to build on the platform.

Nonfunctional & Functional Requirements Preparation

After the business and market analysis, the product’s course should clearly be understood.

User Research & Mapping

Now, technical business analysts and UX researchers have started the first step in the UX design process. They create customers’ journeys or user stories. That is a description of features from the end-user point of view, along with all cases of how users will use the future product.

It is another vital stage where things can go awry if you don’t have a BA steering the project in the right direction. BA is exactly that person who ensures that a supposed user flow matches the business value that was previously approved.

Wireframing

After user mapping, business analysts and UX researchers put all the data from audience research and journey to construct the primary wireframes. These are like visualized concepts of how the system elements should interact with one another.

Specifications Documenting

Next, the BA will describe how the system should behave. A business analyst must consider the system’s quality attributes when drafting this documentation. These include security, usability, performance, reliability, availability, and scalability. The constraints of its functionality should also be established.

The documentation should reflect what engineers should implement that meet users’ needs.

It is a critical role of the business analyst for any product. The deliverables at this stage are research, wireframes, and specifications.

Creating Product Backlog

By this point, the BA and the PM create a sprints backlog, e.g., the tasks list for each sprint, depending on the priority. They’ll ensure that all business aspects discussed earlier have been achieved up to that point.

The business analyst helps assess which clusters of tasks are most relevant from the business point of view.

The deliverable at this point is a documented backlog.

Design Development Phase

It is an area where the presence of a BA is also vital. A product business analyst works with UX/UI designers to develop designs according to wireframes while meeting the business and users’ needs and creating exciting UX. Similarly, they should ensure engineers can develop all those functionalities.

Development Phase

It is the stage when the software development process starts. The business analyst’s role is to ensure that the development meets approved business requirements and specifications.

While the BAs do not work with developers closely, they watch over the development process during Scrum and Standup meetings (if you run the project under Scrum software development methodology), ensuring all requirements are met.

The deliverable for this phase comes in the form of a released business software product.

Maintenance Phase

It is typically considered the phase where improvements and necessary changes happen. The BA’s responsibilities for this stage include gathering customer feedback regarding the software or whatever else has been produced.

They compare the outcome with the supposed business value. If there is room for improvement, they identify it and advise on how to accomplish it.

Gathering User Feedback

Another IT business analyst role is uncovering the strengths and weaknesses of the finished product from a business standpoint.

Delivering the Next Backlog

Based on the feedback, the BA will now shape the volume of business issues that need improvement. They can recommend changes, including the removal of unwanted elements.

It is how the backlog for the new development round comes into focus. The deliverable will be an improved business software product.

Summing up, here is a quick visual overview of business analyst tasks on a software development project:

Business analyst role and responsibility

Business Analytics Common Tools and Software

As you can see, business analysts take on a lot of responsibilities. To increase the efficiency of these tasks’ execution, such experts use certain tools. So let’s look at the software that helps BAs make product development more successful.

Project Management Tools

A business analyst in software development partially takes project management responsibilities. That is why such experts need specialized tools, for example, Trello, Asana, or Jira. This software allows the BA to distribute tasks among team members and monitor their performance conveniently.

Documentation Tools

The responsibilities of a business analyst include preparing documentation, and there is also specific software for this. The most convenient tools are adapted for collaborative work when the whole team can view documents. Confluence and DokuWiki are examples of such software.

Modeling Tools

A business analyst is also involved in building wireframes. The expert needs software to simplify this process. These are tools such as Lucidchart, Microsoft Visio, or draw.io.

Average Business Analyst Salaries

Let’s now see how much money business analysts make in different countries. We have prepared a table with approximate numbers according to data from PayScale:

Business Analyst Annual Rate by Country

Country

Annual Rate

the US

$71,178

the UK

$42,053

Germany

€51,942

Switzerland

$103,394

the Netherlands

€46,213

Ukraine

$15,034

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As you can see, salaries in different parts of the world differ significantly. For example, hiring an in-house business analyst can be quite costly if you are from the USA or Switzerland.

What if we told you there is a nice way out of this situation? Now outsourcing of specialists is gaining more and more popularity. It’s much cheaper, plus you can choose from a wide talent pool.

Ukraine is a top destination for locating a business analyst for software development. So if you want to improve your software and company, you can contact Softermii — your reliable Ukrainian BA vendor.

Business Analysts’ Certifications

Certifications are another thing you should pay attention to when choosing a candidate for the business analyst position. It will help the expert to confirm his qualifications and you to be calmer about the specialist’s skills.

In addition, you can provide your business analysts with training courses to obtain certification so that the expert can constantly improve.

Several organizations offer BA certifications: IIBA, IQBBA, IREB, and PMI. Those certifications include:

  • IIBA Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA)
  • IIBA Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)
  • IIBA Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA)
  • IIBA Agile Analysis Certification (AAC)
  • IQBBA Certified Foundation Level Business Analyst (CFLBA)
  • IREB Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering (CPRE)
  • PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PBA)

Benefits of Having a Business Analyst in Your Team

Hopefully, you understand that the BA role is necessary if you want product development to go smoothly. Here are the top benefits the business analysis will bring to your team and how it matters for your project’s success.

Technical Requirements Become Clear; the Dev Team Works More Effectively

Your BA can dedicate the time to making your business objectives and needs clear and precise. Your financial backers will appreciate that.

The technical requirements will become clearer. Also, there will be less chance that your dev team will get frustrated with the development plan. The chances of delays for the finished product will be much lower.

Your BA Can Save Your Time

Clearer project requirements are to your advantage, and that’s something else a BA can do for you. If your BA knows what they are doing, you won’t have to waste time explaining what needs to be changed to the devs.

If developers have to make fewer changes, they can more rapidly finish building the product. That means your company and investors will see a profit sooner.

Lower Development Costs

If requirements are set and less time is needed for implementing changes, you’ll save on development costs and avoid unforeseen expenses. You do not want to be in a position where you have to make numerous changes to the product, nor do you want to postpone the launch.

With a BA in place, your initial budget has a better chance of staying intact.

You Know What Needs Your Product Is Meant to Satisfy

Your business analyst in tech can be sure of having pinpointed your target audience. By meeting their needs with your product, you have much less chance of losing money or even going bankrupt.

There is Less Stress in Communication, and Your Team’s Attitude is Healthier

Project development can be hassle-free with the assistance of a BA. They can help everyone get on the same page, including product testers, developers, the product owner, and the project manager.

Business analysis is a tool for working out even the tiniest details before the project begins. The risk of misunderstandings during development decreases dramatically. That’s why BA is critical in a healthy and productive work environment for in-house or the distributed team you manage.

When Do You Need a Business Analyst?

A business analyst is an essential member of any development team and the type of project of any complexity and industry. Still, it is crucial to understand when you are ready to hire a BA.

Let’s first define when you do not need a business analyst. If you work in a field where market requirements will not change for at least five years, it’s the only case. Here, the project manager will be enough.

In all other situations, you need to hire a business analyst. For example, these are the circumstances when you have an idea for a product but don’t have precise requirements, software specifications, etc. Here, BA will help with the well-thought-out strategy development for your business.

How Softermii Can Help with Business Analysis in IT

The Softermii team includes more than 120 experienced IT professionals. There are many qualified business analysts among these specialists.

Our BAs have a background in working with both startups and established businesses. Thus, we already have over 100 successful projects, 25 of which are startups.

In general, any product development needs a business analyst in tech. Let’s see how such an expert can help using some of our projects as an example.

Streamotion

Software development business analyst

Streamotion is a mobile eCommerce app for live stream sales.

Since the application entered the developing market, it was impossible to do without a business analyst. Our expert analyzed the Livestream commerce market and helped create a new channel for attracting customers. Furthermore, thanks to our BA, the app could attract a younger audience.

As a result, Streamotion got more than 20,000 installs in the first two weeks, and users spend an average of 25 minutes daily on the app.

SmartStart

Business analyst in software development

SmartStart is a web and mobile finance management application.

Our client wanted to develop an app that would be useful for people who lack an understanding of financial management. Our business analysts had to help come up with a comprehensive solution for tracking expenses, loans, financial goals, etc.

As a result of the work done by BA and other team members, our application has gathered more than 24,000 subscribers and registered 1,296,000 transactions.

MediConnect

Business analyst for software development

MediConnect is a mobile app that connects doctors with healthcare product companies.

Our business analysts had to work on increasing the efficiency of interaction between doctors and product companies and opening new sales channels with direct consumer communication. Our experts studied other healthcare apps’ thoroughly to make MediConnect user-friendly.

As a result, more than 9,000 doctors use our application, and we have connected 360 product companies to MediConnect.

Conclusion

It is best to hold off on starting any IT projects without a proper business analyst. Such an expert helps overtake competitors, find your strengths, solve problems, and earn significant profits. So, if you have a software idea, start looking for a BA today.

We have extensive expertise in various software development services for different projects and industries. Hence, thanks to such experience, our BA team can make a personalized quote for your project considering the market and tech trends. So, contact us if you have any questions on this subject or your future product.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does business analytics outsourcing cost?

Outsourcing is a cooperation model typically aimed at lowering expenses. So, expect to pay less for BA outsourcing.

The average rate will depend on the country and a particular company. Yet, we advise you to opt for Eastern European specialists since low costs and decent quality are guaranteed.

I have a business idea but no requirements. Do I need a business analyst?

Yes, you need one. Such an expert will help you grow your idea into a viable solution that will bring you substantial profits.

How do I know if I need a junior IT business analyst or a senior BA?

A senior BA is an expert with over ten years of experience. Accordingly, his salary will be significantly higher than that of a junior with one to three years of experience.

It would help if you started from your financial capabilities and the needs of your business. For example, if you are a startup at the initial stage, you may not need to hire a senior business analyst and vice versa.

How many hours do business analysts work on one software project?

The number of working hours on the project depends on the chosen cooperation model with the business analyst. If you hired such a specialist for a full-time job, it would be 40 hours a week. If you have a more flexible model of cooperation, then the number of hours may be less.

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