Nowadays, it is much harder to find a company that does not use a software to run their business operations than one that does. The popularity of software solutions has led businesses to raise their expectations and to require their software solutions to do much more in a shorter period of time. This is exactly why throughout the years the role of a business analyst in a bespoke software development project has become inevitable.
Despite that fact, many companies believe an accurate business analysis is not necessary for their product as they know well what they want. However, business analysts ensure that what you want is what you actually need and make sure the end product meets those needs. Importantly, no two projects are the same as every company has different specifications and thus requires a different approach. An experienced business analyst is there to help you.
What do business analysts do
With the growing need for business analysts on every software development project, their responsibilities go beyond the traditional role of requirements gathering. As business analysts guide you through the entire process of software development, they often step into the role of the project owner. This allows them to provide you with the best solution there is. In order to achieve that, business analysts take care of the following processes:
- Requirements specification
In the very beginning, business analysts interview company representatives to get to know their concerns, the problems their company is facing and solutions that software can provide. They either conduct the interview by asking many questions or studying and analysing the documentation. They need to know exactly what you expect the software to do.
Why it’s important
If a business analyst does not learn about their customer’s vision, developers may end up building a completely different product. This is the most important phase of business analysis – understanding what customers want.
- Needs identification
After business analysts discover what you want, they narrow it down to what you actually need. They connect your vision of a software solution with what is possible to develop and create a project that is realistic and practical. Having experience in the software environment, business analysts can advise you on which features are useful and which may work the opposite way. After these two steps, a software requirements specification document is written down and approved by all the parties.
Why it’s important
Omitting the business analysis, you may quickly discover the software solution is not efficient enough. Too many features may be slowing down the speed of your system. Business analysts help you to make use of the opportunities a bespoke software can offer.
A business analyst needs to understand what you want, you and your company need to understand what you can have, and there is also the development team which needs to understand what they can make out of your expectations and needs. A business analyst translates your specifications into mechanical tasks to make sure developers create exactly what you want.
Why it’s important
Developers often use technical jargon which may cause a lot of misunderstandings or even scare you off. Depending on their level of understanding of the business domain, they may also find it hard to understand your needs. Business analysts are there to make sure the product you receive is exactly what you expected.
The process of developing a bespoke software solution is long and requires cooperation between all of the parties on all levels in order to succeed. Business analysts not only serve as translators but also as mediators between you and the developers. Knowing both the weak and strong points of their team and your expectations, they improve the communication flow.
Why it’s important
Without proper communication, you never know what exactly is being built and developers are not sure if this is what you expect. It may often lead to your disappointment and the necessity of rebuilding the software. Luckily, business analysts update you on every phase of the software development process, making sure the product meets your needs.
Why is business analysis important
There are many benefits of a business analysis which you can notice right from the beginning of the bespoke software development process. However, some of them are only noticeable after the software is implemented and these are:
- Boosted efficiency – running a thorough analysis of both your expectations and the market in general, business analysts make sure your vision is the best way to achieve success. Knowing the software industry, they know how to improve your efficiency even more. It is advisable to take the risk and trust the business analyst.
- Lowered costs – with all the parties understanding what the software is for, there is no room for rebuilding the product or other unexpected costs. Business analysts choose the best solution for you and your company.
Business analysis in agile projects
Depending on the model of software development, the role of business analysts varies. In more traditional models, a business analyst gathers the requirements, translates them to the developers and their job is finished. However, when a software company is following the agile methodology, a business analyst takes an active part throughout the whole process. Repeating their tasks on every phase, they make sure what is being built meets your expectations.
TO SUM UP
When you find your company is in need of a bespoke software solution, knowing what you want is not everything. A proper business analysis is an inevitable step if you want to be sure you receive the best version of the product which will boost your productivity and allow you to beat your competitors. Experienced business analysts not only ensure your software is flawless, they also improve the entire development process.
If you would like to talk about how HeadChannel Ltd. can help you improve the workflow of your company, give us a call on +44 (0)20 7099 6399. We have developed countless custom applications and every one of them has made a huge difference for the company. Feel free to use the contact form as well.