Business Analysis vs. Technical Business Analysis

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Jan 21, 2019
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With the increasing growth in knowledge and information about the aspects of Business Analysis and technical analytics domains, there is a notable increase in confusion when it comes to the real difference between Business Analysis and Technical Business Analysis. In fact, the two are often used interchangeably. However, the differences between the two practices are prominent. In this article, we will discuss each practice and the set of skills required to claim being a business analyst or a technical business analyst.

What is Business Analysis?

Business Analysis can best be understood as the practice that enables change in a given organizational context by outlining the existing needs and recommending solutions to the said needs so as to deliver value to the stakeholders. In its simplest form, Business Analysis is a discipline that helps organizations resolve their existing obstacles by first pinpointing the existing problems, analyzing them, and solving them. Simply put, Business Analysis entails identifying a given organization’s needs/obstacles and providing solutions to the said problems.

In many organizations, the only way to deal with a given problem is by changing the existing techniques/method/processes that are not working. This is precisely what Business Analysis entails – identifying and fixing business problems. It can also be referred to as the discipline of enabling change. It only makes sense that whenever a given organization’s problem is solved, the organization will benefit (either in terms of input or profits). In so doing, Business Analysis will have created and added benefit to the people associated with the given organization. In the end, Business Analysis always finds a way of delivering value to the stakeholders.

Technical Business Analysis

Technical Business Analysis is quite a complex role. Some companies end up mistakenly looking for Business Analysis when their current issue could best be solved by Technical Business Analysis. So, what is technical business analysis?

Technical business analysis is a second tier of business analysis dealing with the sole purpose of interpreting business requirements into systems and technology language that can then be easily understood by a technical audience. In so doing, Technical Business Analysis comes in as an entity of bridging between business problems and its technological solutions. The role of technical business analyst can only be appreciated after business analysts has executed its duties of identifying business problems. It is from there that the technical business analyst would take the business requirements developed by the business analyst and develop them into technical artifacts.

In the end, a business analyst would identify existing business problems of a given company which may emancipate from a business process or even system, then a technical business analyst would use technology to provide technical solutions to those problems. As such, Technical Business Analysis involves itself with the aspect of analyzing, transforming, and finally resolving the existing business problems by using technology. However, while it may appear that Technical Business Analysis is closer to technology than the business itself, technical business analysts do involve themselves intimately with business processes and functions.

Key differences between Business Analysis and Technical Business Analysis

Business Analysis
  • Concerns itself with business techniques, functions, and processes.​
  • Employed when a given organization needs to solve complex obstacles as well as bringing a much needed positive change to the organization.
  • People required to execute business analysis are Business Analysts, and Functional Analysts.
  • Its areas of impacts include technology, organization, process, business, and enterprise.
Technical Business Analysis
  • Concerns itself with converting raw business requirements into technical business artifacts.
  • Rely on technology to provide technical solutions to business requirements
  • Knowledge in use of computer, computer software, and technology is required to doing the role of technical business analysis.

The skills also needed to execute business analysis also significantly differ from the skills required for the execution of technical business analysis.

Skills needed in executing Business Analysis

One must always keep in mind that Business Analysis tend to be a multi-faceted discipline that requires that an individual to have a number of different skills to excel in it. It is such skills that will enable one to be able to figure out the current requirements of a business and proceed to comprehensively document them so as to figure out the solutions needed. Such skills include.
  • Fundamentals skills - One must possess management skills, communication skills, problems solving skills, as well as research skills.
  • Business Analysis skills – comprehension and documentations skills are paramount to this role especially when coupled with creativity and elicitations skills.

Essential skills needed to excel in Technical Business Analysis


  • Technical skills – knowledge of software and IT skills are paramount to becoming an effective business analytic.
  • Data analysis – It is paramount that an individual must be able to use logical techniques to analyze, describe, and evaluate data so as to be able to make meaning out of it.
  • System analysis – The individual must also be able to study a business activity using technological mean so as to find solutions to a given business function.
  • Functional specifications – the individual must also be able to explain in detail how a given technological solution would meet a given business requirement.
  • System integration specification – the individual must also be able to bring different technological entities together so as to fix a given problem.
  • User acceptance testing (UAT) – After developing the solution to a given business requirement or problem, the individual must be able to walk others users through the software as a form of testing to showcase how the solution would work in a real life situation.
  • System integration testing (SIT) – The technical business analyst should be able to develop SIT test cases. This skill requires a deep understanding of how systems are integrated in the enterprise level.

Conclusion

As explained above, the very fact that Business Analysis takes a universal approach in its applications as well as by it working on a set of predefined practices, it is used by companies that want to tackle their current problems and obstacles. The main premise of Business Analysis is the fact that it helps solve business problems creating value to the organization’s stakeholders. This means that Business Analysis entails figuring out opportunities that can be used to solve business obstacles and improve the existing business processes.

Technical Business Analysis, on the other hand, is mostly used when the business requirements developed by a business analyst need technical solutions. Technical Business Analysis creates the very foundation through which business requirements can be solved by using technological solutions. This is the case as technical business analysts always take business requirements identified by the business analyst and proceed to use technology to find technical solutions for them.


Author: Adam Alami, PhD Fellow, IT University of Copenhagen

Adam Alami is a PhD fellow at the IT University of Copenhagen. Adam has a wealth of experience in information technology practices. He started his career as a software developer, then moved to business analysis and project management. His 20 years’ experience revolves around major business transformation projects and process improvement. He accumulated a wealth of cross industry experience in major projects in the areas of Enterprise Transformation, Integration, Migration, and Systems Modernization.

He has a track of academic achievements. He holds a Bachelor degree on Software Engineering from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM) and a Master degree on Computing from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).

Email: adamalami2016@gmail.com

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Featured
Jan 21, 2019
13716 Views
2 Comments
26 Likes

COMMENTS

Petera01 posted on Thursday, January 24, 2019 5:48 AM
Adam, I think your technical business analyst might be what was once termed a system analyst. In-fact 25-30 years ago Systems Analysis was all encompassing. There are so many different job titles now that skills merge and overlap frequently. Ultimately, I believe the core skills used in analyzing process and systems have not changed it just the application of them in today's environment/ business world.
mancillat posted on Sunday, February 17, 2019 8:35 PM
In the company I work for in Brazil, the described role fits well in the software architect role. I'm a business analyst and I'm always looking ahead to the upcoming demands, gathering and documenting requirements. When something is scheduled to enter in the pipeline, I hand off it to a software architect, who does exactly what is described in the article: turn business requirements into technical solution and thereby clarify the path to the development team.
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