You don’t have to be a business graduate to be familiar with the core functions of a working business; finance/accounting, marketing/sales, human resources, and operations.
However, within these core functions, there must be some sort of mechanism that takes place so that the business can function productively.
These mechanisms are the systems in which various activities occur in a coordinated way. Now a system can be anything from extremely simple to extremely complex.
People working together in teams is a system to make sure the workload is divided evenly, hierarchies are systems that allocate levels of responsibility and accountability, and the accounting practices an organization uses are also systems of keeping their assets and liabilities in check.
Before we move on ahead in the article, an important distinction should be made so that it is clear what systems usually imply in the context of business; when we talk about systems for business, we mostly mean automation and mechanization of various work activities.
This means that business systems have a very close link with elements of information technology (IT).
So system analysis for business becomes a very interesting area to explore because of the complexities that arise with it. Moreover, understanding how these systems actually aid business processes is also important to fully appreciate and utilize them to the best of their capacities.
Analyzing a business system is all about identifying the problems said system is installed to fix. After all, if the main problems or causes that require a system to be fixed are not catered to properly, then the system is just pulling expenses.
Ideally, the need identification is done before building or implementing a system. Once clear problem areas have been identified, the system is then worked on in a series of phases depending on the organization.
The process may vary according to the business scope as well as scale, but in general, these are the main steps that are involved in analyzing systems.
Just like any other activity, whenever something new has to be done, the professional way to go about it is to have a proposal ready. This is done to get all the important people, especially the decision-makers, on board.
Now there aren’t any fixed guidelines on writing proposals, but good proposals should talk about the problems that exist, how it impacts the organization as a whole, and the proposed system or systems that can fix them.
It should also mention the stakeholders and their perceptions regarding the proposal of a computer system.
The Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC)
SDLC is basically a conceptual model that is designed to help in solving problems. In this process, the aim is to plan, create and ultimately test the proposed information system to assess its usability.
To develop this lifecycle, several different people have to get involved to give their input. This would include software engineers, system engineers, and a project manager, along with an established development team.
Although the cycle can be molded to be used in different ways depending on the needs of the business, here are some of the key steps that are involved:
- Investigation and Analysis: here, the problem we have discussed is identified and analyzed to know how far it goes and what it needs to be fixed.
- Requirements Identification: here, the purpose is to identify the shortfallings of the current systems or lack of systems to know what is actually required.
- System Design: now, people get to work on designing the proposed system. All the work needed in terms of construction, communication, operating systems, security, hardware, software, etc., is mapped out.
- Development: the system is finally developed and then handed over to end users.
- System Testing: the end users, as well as the creators, test the system repeatedly to identify potential bugs, glitches, and crashes.
- Evaluation: once the system clears the tests, it is evaluated to know whether or not it should be fully integrated.
- Maintenance: the system is regularly checked and updated as it is used.
The first two steps are very critical because they lay the foundation for what is to be built and used. Because every organization has selected resources that can be exhausted at one point in time, it is only possible to fix the biggest problems that will benefit the most overall.
Moreover, knowing exactly what the plan will be like to achieve this is also critical. Being cautious in the first two steps is going to reduce the amount of waste both in terms of resources and time.
Extensive feasibility reports are also made for every system or change that is proposed. After all, it is always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to business.
As you can understand now, analyzing a business system isn’t an easy task and actually requires a lot of work to be put into it. It is always motivating to look at the benefits of investing in something before you actually do it, no?
- It helps in implementing new changes in the workplace. Analyzing the existing systems or potential systems helps in identifying feasible changes that will ultimately add to organizational well-being.
- It is a good way to identify and, therefore, proactively mitigate any risks related to the organization.
- It can make the systems of the business to be the competitive edge of the company; having efficient business systems can become a core competency.
- It saves a lot of effort and resources because the work is so meticulous. The organization only invests in what it actually needs in terms of human resources, systems, machines, technology, etc.
- It can actually create more jobs in the organization, as technology experts are always needed. Maintenance also requires people of a certain qualification.
Every organization has a different set of objectives, goals, strategies, and visions. Businesses existing within the same industry vary a huge deal in their working mechanisms. So the systems best suited to fit an organization depend on many factors.
Although the type of business systems used depend entirely on the specific business and its emerging needs, there are a few business systems that can be found in almost every organization that does business on a large scale. Some of them are:
Enterprise Management System (EMS)
They are made up of huge software packages and have the option to be customized to suit organizational needs.
It is a very elaborate system that includes a lot of data about important things in the company, such as information on mergers and acquisitions, scorecards of organizational performance and goal achievement, and performance management.
The EPR also deals directly with important long-term strategies of the company.
Employee Management System
This system is used for HR practices as it takes care of recruitment. It is designed not only to shortlist and hire the people who are a good fit for the organization but also to fire any employees who don’t perform up to the mark.
It makes it easier to sort through huge candidate pools out of thousands of aspiring applicants, which would otherwise have to be done manually.
Financial Management System
This one is responsible for streamlining all financial processes of the company, including the types and amounts of transactions that take place, the accounting methods and practices, and other financial activities.
Information Management System
This system is responsible for safeguarding and organizing important information concerning the business. It stores, organizes, and retrieves all of the information that is fed to it.
Moreover, it makes the information available to the people in the organization who need it.
Customer Development System
It makes it possible to streamline all interactions with the customers of a business from the first point of interaction right up to the last point.
It helps in generating leads which are then converted to customers. Every interaction with that customer is stored in this system to make it easy and efficient to form profiles and tend to queries. It also helps in creating, maintaining, and managing customer accounts.
Many careers can transpire because of business systems, such as becoming a data scientist, IT consultant, Information Systems manager, software engineer, and so much more. After all, these roles are needed to keep business systems up and running.
But when we speak about business system analysis specifically, the perfect job role would be this:
To be able to perform this job role, you will have to thoroughly understand the industry practices as well as market dynamics that the organization exists so that you have a grip on what you are working.
You will also have to identify all primary and secondary stakeholders, you will have to understand the internal and external environment of the organization, and you will have to realize the capabilities and talents of the people working there.
This is because you will be recommending changes via implementing certain systems which will have to be operated on, thereby requiring training and competency.
The business analyst’s job is to study the organization, its aspirations, and current practices that they use to recommend beneficial changes.
An organization might hire you to recommend changes for a specific project, or they may want your expertise for a much larger scale that spans multiple departments.
This is why you also need to work on strong communication skills because, in many instances, you will have to coordinate between many different people and departments.
Your work would be to understand their vision and identify all the hindrances and hurdles that exist which stop them from achieving their goals. Though not in all cases, in most, you will have to recommend a suitable business system to help streamline processes.
Though it is a very demanding and challenging job role, it also pays really well. In the United States, the average annual salary of a business systems analyst is $85,875. Quite handsome.
The best part about this job is that you don’t necessarily have to have a degree in IT-related subjects; anyone who has excellent analytical and problem-solving skills can qualify to be one.
There are so many sectors and industries, each with different dynamics and needs, that your unique set of skills will surely land you a good job. Having a degree in business studies or management sciences would aid you in getting shortlisted.
Having a degree in IT will improve your chances. You can always brush up on your knowledge of IT by taking courses.
If you have made your way all the way down here, then chances are you found this article to be useful. By now, you should ideally have a very good understanding of what business systems are and how they need to be analyzed.
We briefly discussed the steps which are involved in system analysis for businesses and also the advantages of doing all of this work.
The article also dived into some important business systems being used in the market today. We also talked about a very interesting and lucrative career that can be made as a business system analyst.
All in all, it is a safe conclusion that system analysis for business is a very important and relevant field of work that has a lot to contribute. There is no shortage of opportunities to fix existing or emerging businesses by implementing the right changes. This analysis makes it possible to save resources, time, and effort, making it a very important need for every organization. So when are you deciding to become a business analyst?