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A systems analyst uses computers and related systems to design new IT solutions, modify, enhance or adapt existing systems and integrate new features or improvements, all with the aim of improving business efficiency and productivity.
They must possess a high level of technical expertise and clear insights into current business practices. Depending on the employer, clients may be internal, e.g. departments within the same organisation, or external.
They liaise and report to internal and external clients and stakeholders, including colleagues and developers.
An increasingly integrated approach is being adopted as the role evolves, where the client is involved throughout the development process. The analyst acts as liaison between the client and the developers.
They conduct a cost analysis and agree the timeframe to implement the proposed solution. They specify and shape the system requirements and operations, the user interface and output and present the proposal to the client. They work closely with the client team, including commercial managers and software developers, during both the report and implementation phase.
Job titles in the IT sector are fluid, changing with advances in technology, and also varying between organisations.
It is vital to look closely at job descriptions rather than job titles e.g. analysts may be known as systems or business analysts and the trend is currently towards including the term 'solutions' in the job title.
Fourth generation languages (4GL) and object-orientated programming simplify technological language resulting in less of a need for detailed or formalised specification requirements, so traditional boundaries between systems or business analysis and programming have eroded. Overlap with project management is also common.
Analysts work with their organisation's particular IT system but also with a client's legacy environment so need to be able to adapt to different programming languages.
Work activities also depend on the size and nature of the employer organisation and the focus of clients' business demands, but typically involve:
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