Business analysts are business professionals that concern themselves with evaluating the overall structure of a given business, including such important facets as sales and marketing, management, accounting, systems management, facilities, and labor. The range of analysts run the gamut from the Accounting business analyst to the IT business analyst. After making an objective evaluation, the business analyst usually offers constructive suggestions on how to improve the efficiency of specific areas of the company, with an eye to increasing both the stability and the profitability of the company.
For many years, a business analyst would apply general principles to just about every type of company, regardless of the industry affiliation. To a degree, this was often successful, as the basic principles regarding risk management, communication processes, utilization of labor, and process management translate well into just about any business setting. As computer technology emerged in the middle of the 20th century, the IT business analyst emerged as a way to help companies convert to electronic data use rather then relying strictly on traditional methods. Today, many business analysts continue to provide this level of service across the business community, often helping many struggling companies to make changes that put the operation on a better foundation.
In recent times, it is not unusual to find a business analyst who focuses on a particular industry or a limited set of business functions. One modern example is the business analyst that specializes in evaluating the information technology infrastructure of a company. The IT business analyst tends to focus on the quality of the computer hardware used in each department of the company, the efficiency of the network that links all sections and locations of the company together, and how efficiently information flows from one area to another using software and databases. Often, the IT business analyst that specializes in IT functions is able to offer constructive advice on how to integrate one or more components of the system, or possibly migrate to a new software package or network. This is done with an eye toward streamlining the flow of data and improving the bottom line for the corporation as a result.
An IT business analyst may require anywhere from a few days to a year in order to complete a detailed analysis of a company and develop a comprehensive report that identifies strengths, weaknesses, and suggestions for changes. In some cases, an IT business analyst may choose to contract with the client to remain on board while the upgrades or enhancements are implemented.