Difference between business analyst and system analyst

Analytical roles in IT are divided according to the main sphere of the knowledge area: whether it’s IT specifics or customer’s business domain...
5 September 2016
Quality assurance
The article by a1qa

By Anton Trizna, Head of the a1qa Business Analysis TCOE, and Elena Goropeka, senior business analyst at a1qa.

The terms “business analyst” and “system analyst” are regularly misunderstood and used interchangeably. But in fact, these are two different positions with different duties and set of skills. We’ve decided to learn how these two positions differ and what commonalities they share in what relates to QA consulting specifics.

First, let’s take a look at the commonly applied definitions.

Who is a business analyst

BABOK (Business Analysis Body of Knowledge, a table book for business analysts) says that there are many job titles that may perform business analysis: business architect, data analyst, business consultant, process analyst, requirements engineer and system analyst, etc.

BABOK also outlines that the business analyst should ensure that the delivered solution will enable the company to produce the expected outcome. And the solution doesn’t need to be an IT-system. From this perspective, we can assume that the business analyst is a general role applicable to the group of professions working with business requirements to ensure the achievement of the set goal.

Very often analytical roles in IT are divided according to the main sphere of the knowledge area: whether it’s IT specifics or customer’s business domain.

Where does the analyst fit in?

Where does business analyst fit in

At a1qa, we have adopted the following differentiation:

  • The business analyst will use business analysis methodologies to gather the customer’s requirements and check them for possible challenges to produce a high-quality solution.
  • The business analyst in IT is the analyst who will solve customer’s problems by proposing to develop and implement certain IT-systems.
  • The system analyst is responsible for defining technical aspects of the developed IT system, the platform, integration means, and developed system role among the company’s products.

Business analyst’s main focus is to identify customer’s needs and justify the necessity of the project implementation. Typical tasks performed by business analysts include:

  1. Discovering customer’s needs and problems.
  2. Designing of the project scope.
  3. Functional and non-functional requirements elicitation.

In the last stage, a system analyst may already come into play. However, the performed duties will vary. A BA won’t consider the implementation platform and technologies and will pay much attention to the customer’s objectives and preferences. At that rate, the gathered requirements should be measurable, clear and correct. An SA will choose the most appropriate technology and platform to meet all functional requirements.

At times, the platform and technology may be specified in advance. If so, the primary goal is to correlate functional requirements with the chosen software means, adapt them in accordance with the platform terminology and interaction interfaces to ensure proper developers’ work.

After addressing all the requirements, analysts start consulting development and testing teams. A BA will present the requirements from end-user’s perspective, while an SA will put emphasis on the platform.

Highly professional business and system analysts will possess the following knowledge and skills:

Business analyst or SA

Following the division of the areas of responsibilities, business and system analysts will deliver different sets of documentation. A BA will create the vision and scope document, widely accepted business requirements document and software requirements specifications.

An SA will present the concept of IT solution and indicate the platform on which the system is to be developed, technologies, programming language and interaction interfaces.

Summing it up, in practice, it may be hard to differentiate between both roles as they may intercross on the project.

The titles themselves don’t matter a lot. What is really important is that all employees should be aware of the duties both specialists perform and what problems they are expected to solve.

More Posts

31 August 2022,
by a1qa
4 min read
Why do bugs get missed? Learn the problems and tips to avoid them
Still, finding overlooked bugs after the app goes live? Let’s find out why this happens and how to fix it.
Quality assurance
Test automation
21 February 2022,
by a1qa
5 min read
Continuous testing 101: a comprehensive guide
So many companies take a chance to introduce continuous testing. What is it like, and how to smartly implement it? Let’s get to know in the article.
Quality assurance
Agile and DevOps in eCommerce QA_mini
30 September 2021,
by a1qa
5 min read
Agile and DevOps: Boosting the quality of eCommerce apps
What benefits do Agile and DevOps bring to eCommerce business, and how QA helps with that? Find it out in the article.
Quality assurance
AR/VR testing infographics mini
30 August 2021,
by a1qa
< 1 min read
AR/VR testing in retail: turning challenges into opportunities
Welcome to read the infographic on AR/VR in retail: new shopping experiences, issues, and how to address them with QA.
Quality assurance
6 October 2020,
by Dmitry Tishchenko
4 min read
A clear view of smart team scalability
Get to know how to scale your team sagely and gratify end-user needs and fast-paced tech-market requirements.
Quality assurance
6 August 2020,
by Elena Yakimova
5 min read
How to arrange fruitful joint work with an outsourcing QA team
The head of the web apps testing department sheds light on how to establish more transparent and effective work on the project cooperating with a remote QA team.
Quality assurance
4 June 2020,
by Vitaly Prus
4 min read
SAFe vs. Scrum, and PI planning essentials
Let's shed some light on the SAFe differences from Scrum that are to be considered by the development and QA teams who have migrated from Scrum.
Quality assurance
29 April 2020,
by a1qa
4 min read
5 lessons we learned from COVID-19
Here are five key lessons the businesses need to learn during this pandemic to somehow achieve the planned outcomes. 
Quality assurance
17 April 2020,
by a1qa
5 min read
QA-focused retrospective: identifying and solving project problems
The a1qa experts came up to consider an effective approach to identify project bottlenecks and get rid of problems successfully.
Quality assurance

Get in touch

Please fill in the required field.
Email address seems invalid.
Please fill in the required field.
We use cookies on our website to improve its functionality and to enhance your user experience. We also use cookies for analytics. If you continue to browse this website, we will assume you agree that we can place cookies on your device. For more details, please read our Privacy and Cookies Policy.