Benefits of involving an external business analyst

How to meet all your business users’ requirements and get the right IT solution? Hire an external business analyst.
30 July 2018
QA consulting
The article by a1qa

In the era of digital transformation, any enterprise that doesn’t want to run out of business should fully leverage the opportunities of digital technologies.

Digital transformation is about changing the facet of every company, from back office operation to customer relationships. However, it all starts with a series of IT projects. And here the question is: who will supervise the process making sure that all business requirements are implemented?

Very often business approached one IT vendor who provides a full range of services: from business analysis to the solution development and testing.

However, this solution provokes several bottlenecks.

What are the possible problems of assigning all project tasks to a single contractor?

  1. The IT contractor always puts its own interests first. The executor’s analysts are more likely to think about future labor inputs and the technical feasibility of the platform / technology used by his/her team. Part of the laborious requirements can be omitted deliberately.
  2. Secondly, the customer will not have sufficient expertise and time to monitor the quality of the requirements specifications from the business analysts of the executor. Consequently, business users can obtain an IT solution that is completely different from the expected one.

How to avoid additional costs and get the best IT solution?

One way to solve the problem is to organize your own staff of business analysts and other IT professionals.

However, searching and hiring of personnel, maintaining costs, the need to motivate and retain staff may cause certain bottlenecks.

Taking into account all these factors, the organization of the BA department cannot be considered as the best option.

Although there exists a simpler solution. It presupposes hiring an independent business analyst.

Functions of an independent business analyst

External business analyst is involved into a project as a separate contractor, but not in conjunction with the development team (executor).

The functions of an independent business analyst do not differ from those of the in-house. During the work, the specialist will do the following:

  • Define the goals and scope of the development project
  • Elicit and document business and user requirements
  • Elaborate and document functional and non-functional requirements
  • Maintain the project at all stages
  • Solve all issues related to the requirements for the IT solution together with the development team
  • Take part in testing the developed functionality of the IT solution.

What are the pros of hiring an external business analyst?

  1. An independent business analyst first and foremost observes the interests of business users, rather than developers, as he doesn’t belong to their team.

Business users are the ones who have an impact on the assessment of the business analyst performance.

The analyst will strive to dive deep into the customer’s domain, understand business needs and elaborate the image of the future IT solution, taking into account the real users’ issues and the domain’s specific nature.

The external business analyst is not interested in elaborating unnecessary functions and modules, as well as disregarding the users’ wishes if they demand high labor efforts.

  1. The business analyst is responsible for communicating with the executor on all matters related to the requirements.

An independent business analyst becomes a liaison between business users and developers. It is he who will account for the requirements to the executor and ascertain the details with the business users.

Firstly, it removes a huge burden from business users. It is always easier to discuss detailed requirements with one person who understands the business context.

Secondly, the risk of requirement misinterpretation by developers is significantly reduced. Business requirements are worked out in advance and presented for technical specialists in an understandable way.

  1. The business analyst is a professional in an IT sphere.

During testing and IT solution functionality acceptance, the external business analyst tracks the function implementation, UX, the design quality, the correspondence of the function developed to the users’ initial requirements.

Thus, he/she reduces the burden on business users, as well as does not allow the executor to take advantage of insufficient customer expertise and “push” the design solutions that are far from being suitable.

An external business analyst values the experience in a customer’s domain rather than detailed knowledge of various IT platforms.

Therefore, from the perspective of long-term cooperation, an independent business analyst increases competence in the specific nature of the customer’s work.

(S)he can also be involved in a wide range of IT projects in future, regardless of different technologies / platforms / programming languages.

Whereas, the customer often cannot obtain the development of all the necessary IT solutions from direct executors, as they just do not have the appropriate technical expertise.

Book a non-obligation talk with the a1qa Business Analysis specialists and find out how they will help your business on the way to digital transformation.

The external analyst’s involvement yields benefits to the developers as well

It may seem that the involvement of external business analysts negatively sways the executors. In reality, the situation acutely diverges.

If the project lacks a business analyst, the corresponding functions are conveyed to one of the developers or software testers.

The issue is that such specialists possess neither specific knowledge in the field of business analysis, nor a sufficient incentive for performing such work.

This situation causes bottlenecks in communication with business users, misinterpretation of their requirements, errors in describing the business logic of the future IT solution.

Such flaws result in tremendous expenses, as fixing these issues often requires a radical change in the business logic or architecture of the IT solution.

Undoubtedly, the executor will have to bear enormous cost. That is entirely unsustainable.

Summing up

Duly elicited and fully implemented product requirements constitute the basis for a successful IT project.

One should always bear in mind that working with requirements lies within the work scope of a business analyst.

BA is the one who fully understands the domain and the wishes of future users, as well as formulates requirements to technical specialists in a clear and easy-to-understand manner.

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