Is Business Analyst similar to Systems Analyst?

Thursday, May 14th, 2009 - career change, Job Advert, Job Application, job hunting, jobs board

Business Analyst or Systems Analyst

Business Graph
Creative Commons License photo credit: nDevilTV

Andrew asks: Is Business Analyst similar to Systems Analyst? I am being put forward for a ‘Business Analyst /Data Analyst role’. I need to re jig my CV (or bits of it) to fit the Business Analyst terminology and buzz words. I think of myself as an analyst programmer, and my cv is written along those lines. But my roles have always included systems analysis – and Wikipedia says that systems analyst is an alternative title for the business analyst role. What are appropriate phrases -or buzzwords- for a Business Analyst cv -that a systems analyst might use?

In answer:
Two different but related functions in a business.

A Business Analyst works at the business level in the company. They analyse flow of process and information through a company: how the sales process works, how the company interacts with customers, how it delivers its products, how it handles money and finances. Outputs from this process would include the need for supporting systems, both in terms of processes, people as well as – if needed – computing resources

A Systems Analyst works at the operational level of a company, often in a computing area. They will work to deliver and optimise the procedures set out by a Business Analyst. Looking at both the current computing systems as well as the companies changed processes, they would supplement and optimise each for flow, production and up time. Hence they will change the way the system works and is set up to match new procedures, and optimise the existing system for efficiency and uptime at best cost.

It is a step up, a compliment in reality. As it is an internal move, get hold of a copy of the Job Description (available from HR or an existing incumbent), and note the key skills/competencies required. As it is an internal move, you don’t need – and shouldn’t – slide or adjust your skills to those required competencies. They think you have the capability – hence they asked you to apply; but accept you need some training to develop. If they thought you had the skills already, you would have the job – hence accept the training need gap, but be realistic in where it is.

Good Luck!

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