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System Analysts are IT professionals who act as a mediator between clients and technical team. They are responsible for integrating business requirements into technology and ensure smooth functioning of the business operations. They use both business and technical knowledge for analyzing business processes, computer systems, and infrastructure to develop effective strategies that can help in accomplishing daily needs of the organization. To perform their job, system analysts have to be proficient in programming language, the configuration of systems, and multiple operating systems.
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for system analysts is projected to grow by 9 percent in the next ten years. Important roles and responsibilities of system analysts are:
Roles of System Analysts
Act as a middleman and an architect.
System analysts liaise between customers, IT persons, and stakeholders to develop information systems capable of delivering business requirements. The integration of technology into business requirements has to be futuristic. It means systems analysts have to develop information systems that are easy to upgrade in the future if the need arises. They have to design an information system architecture according to the user’s requirements which acts as a blueprint for the programmers. For that, they need to know exactly what users want and also have to build good relationships and rapport with them to understand their requirements as well as convey correct and complete information to the development team.
Agent of Change
System analysts are also known as an agent of change since they use different approaches to bring changes in the information system that can facilitate business operations. The biggest hurdle for the role of system analysts is the skepticism of people about accepting the change. So, they prefer users' participation for easy exchange of information. When stakeholders, management, and clients are ready for the technological changes, a final system is made.
Investigator and Monitor
In defining a problem or finding reasons for the failure in a system, system analysts play a role of an investigator. They gather information to determine or investigate why an existing system is not working well and is facing problems and what changes should be implemented to solve these issues. After creating alternative solutions for problems, system analysts monitor the information system regularly and take steps to avoid increased costs, and the waste of resources and time.
Motivator and Sales Person
Effective user participation and training with proper motivation to use the system are important factors to achieve system acceptance. Another important role that system analysts play is of a salesperson, which involves selling a system to the users. This process takes place at each stage of system life cycle. To play the role of a motivator and sales person, system analysts have to hold good communication, sales, and persuasion skills.
Responsibilities of System Analysts:
Defining User Requirements
The basic and most important step for system analysts is to understand user’s requirements clearly. To get the hang, they have to interview users and prepare questionnaires, observe the current system, and plan system configuration. This phase is important to understand how the current system functions and what users want from the new systems. Participation of users is needed so that their views related to the system are taken into consideration to build the new one.
Large systems do have various requirements which are not equal and are, therefore, not possible for the team to implement all of them at the same time. Also, various types of users in the organization have different types of information needs that cannot be satisfied due to various constraints such as limited resources, budgetary constraints, time sensitivity, feasibility, etc. Therefore, system analysts have to prioritize users’ requirements using their social and analytical skills.
Gathering Data and Facts
System analysts act as researchers and gather various facts and data with the active cooperation from the users of the system. They consult users from time to time to obtain necessary information related to the system, and whether there is any last-minute requirement. This process is important because analysts have to organize and document information into functional specification to solve to develop a system.
Analyzing the Problem
After gathering data and facts, system analysts analyze various problems, their causes, and effects on business operations. They analyze and identify the requirements to be fulfilled through technological means. They remove unnecessary data, focus on the important ones, and change or modify the working system accordingly to make it more user-friendly.
System analysts help IT users to solve information problems by using different approaches in which one good source of solutions is to take suggestions from others. With this approach, analysts develop and evaluate a set of possible alternative solutions and then compare and choose the best one to implement. They have to compare the alternative solutions on the basis of cost, benefits, risk factors, etc. and decide the best with management's help.
System analysts are responsible for drawing precise and clear specifications for programmers and managers to understand easily. That includes text, documents, and flow charts for visual understanding of computer programmers. These are presented in a detailed form as they lay the foundations for optimal functioning of the system.
Designing and Evaluating Systems
At last, when the analysts are done with the preparation of the system's specifications, they design and implement the system along with the development team so that the management’s goal is achieved. With the knowledge of advanced programming tools, they act as an architect and develop new systems. After the system is developed, they test the performance and recommend necessary modifications.
Due to the various roles and responsibilities of a system analyst, he/she has to be a multifaceted personality who is able to manage and coordinate with various people.