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Defining the role of the business analyst: the business analysis service framework

Paul, D. (2018) Defining the role of the business analyst: the business analysis service framework. DBA thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

This thesis reports on an empirical study into business analysis (BA), a professional IS discipline. This subject is deemed relevant for investigation for three reasons: the volume of BA practitioners employed worldwide; the continuing problems reported regarding IS project outcomes; and the lack of empirical research that has been conducted into BA. A key area of concern for IS projects is the definition of requirements, an area that falls within the BA remit. However, there is limited extant literature concerning BA and there is ambiguity with regard to the business analyst role. Role theory (Solomon et al. 1985) suggests that a lack of role clarity can diminish performance and cause uncertainty on the part of practitioners and customers. Therefore, the aim of this research is to clarify the role of the IS business analyst and offer a service definition that will support the effective conduct of BA work. A conceptual framework for this study, adapted from the work of Pettigrew et al (2001), is used to examine the business analyst role from four dimensions: the organisational and personal context for BA; the content of IS projects; the process standards, skills and techniques for performing BA; and the outcomes from BA. Case study research has been carried out to explore perspectives on BA. The case is the Business Analysis Manager Forum (BAMF), a professional organisation for managerial-level business analysts. Selected BAMF representatives, all designated BA specialists, shared their experiences and observations regarding the business analyst role, activities and work practices. The data provided by the BA specialists was analysed using template analysis in order to identify themes within the data. Service science provided a theoretical basis for examining the activities performed by business analysts, the skills and techniques used, and the potential for value co-creation with business stakeholders. This enabled the identification and definition of the core services offered by business analysts. The study resulted in the development of two artefacts that are intended to support understanding and recognition of BA: the Business Analysis Service Framework, which defines six services and their corresponding activities, techniques and value proposition; and the business analyst T-shape, which has applied the T-shaped professional concept (Spohrer and Maglio, 2010) to define the skills and techniques required of professional business analysts. These artefacts are proposed as a means of clarifying the business analyst role for practitioners, their business stakeholders and future researchers and, as such, offer a positive contribution to BA theory and practice.

Item Type:Thesis (DBA)
Thesis Supervisor:Tan, Y. L. and Michell, V.
Thesis/Report Department:Henley Business School
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Henley Business School
ID Code:80476

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