This article was written in response to being asked the question “What is a Systems Analyst?”

Systems Analyst is becoming an outmoded term. It used be applied to those analysts who did ‘requirements analysis’ prior to computerising part of an enterprise.

The Systems Analyst usually worked in the IT Department of large enterprises and saw the enterprise primarily in terms of its computer systems – a vital, but restricted, view of the world.

Their role today is normally taken by the Business Analyst (BA’s). As the name would suggest, these people usually work in the business and their view of the enterprise is primarily a business view as opposed to a purely IT or systems view.

Good BA’s should be able to use all of the following modeling techniques:

Function Modeling
Data Modeling
Process Modeling
Information Flow Modeling
Procedure Modeling

In many organisations (far too many) the task of Data Modeling is done by a separate team of Data Analysts (who are usually part of the IT department) and this causes a disconnect in most projects. This is mainly due to the Data Analysts not working with the BA’s and utilizing the information gathered by them to determine the necessary Data entities of the enterprise. This is why, to be a good BA you need to be able to use ALL of the techniques listed above.

A BA does not have to know programming languages or design techniques, but knowledge of these will give a more complete view of the overall development cycle.

If you are interested in becoming a BA or if you are already a BA but do not have ALL of the techniques listed above then visit the Integrated Modeling Method website where you can find further information and articles on the subject.

John J Owens – John is an inspirational business entrepreneur with a unique talent for seeing the simplicity and elegance underlying any enterprise – even if it is hidden …
Business process modelling