The role Business Analysts play, and the titles they receive, vary from organization to organization and from project to project. They have a whole realm of responsibilities covering enterprise analysis, planning and monitoring, elicitation, requirements analysis, requirements management and communication, and solution assessment and validation.
The BA title is very suiting to an analyst that can perform within all the knowledge areas; however, many analysts specialize in, or are only required for, a specific area within that realm. In that regard, the Business Analyst title is a generic title that includes all analysts working within the realm of business analysis.
A Business Analyst may also be known as a Business Consultant, Strategic Analyst, Product Manager/Owner, Service Request Analyst, Agile Analyst, Data Analyst, Business Intelligence Analyst, Decision Analyst, and so on. I’ve provided a quick reference guide here to some other common BA titles and roles. Some of these get so specialized that they have their own body of knowledge outside of the BABOK.
A Business Process Analyst, as the name implies, focuses on analyzing current and future state business processes and develops process/workflow diagrams. They are also known as Business Process Engineers/Modellers, Workflow Engineers, or Business Analysts.
IT Business Analysts are the most common of all analysts and their work begins once an IT project is kicked off. They are mainly involved in requirements and focusing on the functional aspects of the solution. Other common titles for this role include Business Analyst, Requirements Engineer/Analyst, and Application Consultant/Analyst.
System Analysts are like the IT Business Analysts, but are more focused on the design of the system and the technical aspects of the solution. Other titles they go by are Systems Engineer and Business Analyst.
Business Systems Analyst encompasses both the roles of the IT Business Analyst and the Systems Analyst.
The Requirements Analyst is much like the Business Systems Analyst, but is more focused on just the requirements. Their role does not begin as early as the IT Business Analyst and they do not stay as long as the Systems Analyst. Requirements Engineer, Functional Architect/Analyst, Business Systems Analyst, and Business Analyst are other titles for this role.
Usability/UX Analyst refers broadly to those involved in interface design or the user experience of an application or website. Other titles include User Interface/Web Designer, Usability/User Experience Professional, Interaction Designer, and even Business Analyst.
Quality Assurance Analysts are not just testers. Their responsibilities can also include developing quality standards, performing quality audits, and making improvement recommendations. They can also be known as Systems Analysts, Software Quality Analysts, or Business Analysts.
The Business Architect, also known as the Enterprise Analyst/Architect, sets the strategy for a business unit within an organization by shaping and fostering business innovation initiatives. Many Business Architects began their career as a Business Analyst.
And finally there are Management Consultants. They advise and influence those in charge of a business. They can also be known as Management Analysts, but generally not as Business Analysts. However, if a Business Analyst is able to become a trusted advisor, they then can earn the title of a Management Consultant.
Some of the roles within the titles are more strategic, while others are more tactical or operational. All, however, define and deliver outcomes that are best for a company, which is what Business Analysis is all about.