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The Functional Analyst, an important role in changing IT systems

If you consider that User Experience is key for conducting well-adopted changes then the Functional Analyst plays the most important role in your client adoption strategy. Indeed, the Functional Analyst plays an important role as it touches the look and FEEL of applications or visual interfaces… and this is key to engage the user in its journey with you! Our functional analyst Judicaël Ihorimbere explains.

The Functional Analyst, a change driver

 Companies thrive in complex environments driven by multiple changes and continuously adapt their processes to meet new requirements. The data and processes are continually evolving and these continuous changes impact deeply the way organizations work.
In this context, what about the role of the Functional Analyst? Why are they an important pillar of changes in IT systems?

Functional Analyst change driver

Functional Analysts, alongside other analysts and stakeholders, usually contribute largely to the implementation of these changes. Therefore, a good understanding of the requirements of the system by the functional analysts is needed to implement those changes.

Most people agree that changes follow the business strategy and objectives of the organization. Business analysts gather information from the client through different techniques. The business analyses are given as input to the functional analysts.

The Functional Analysts proceed then with a deep investigation of the needs of the organization and other stakeholders to implement the IT systems changes.  The Functional Analysts use several techniques. Those techniques include interviews and close analysis of the current IT procedures and systems of the organizations.

The Functional Analyst: looking for a team solution

The tasks of the Functional Analysts require both good communication commands and the capacity to work as a team as many people are involved in the build of the system. In my view, the role of the functional analysts is central as they interact with several stakeholders, gathering and providing detailed information. These skills are important to gather useful information from different sources.

Functional Analayst team work

Alongside this, the Functional Analysts are responsible for the provision of correct analyses of the existing solutions and the assessment of the different options. It seems obvious that the responsibilities of the Functional Analysts are important as they are the ones that transcribe the business requirements into functional documents to make a meaningful link between business and IT.

They will conduct analyses, measure various areas of performance and provide improvement to existing solutions. They are usually required to assist in reviewing and creating documentation.  Therefore, they need to be proficient in examining and understanding the gathered information, particularly in areas of system changes.

To sum up, the role of Functional Analysts includes that they gather, define and document business requirements on behalf of the business process owners, business system owners, subject matter experts, users, and other stakeholders. The Functional Analysts produce a wide range of documentation that meets applicable standards and is appropriate for its intended audience. They also write understandable user interface text, online help and guides and edit the work of others as well.

It seems to me that the Functional Analysts need to be creative in their job. This is helpful to provide adequate solutions as the Functional Analysts consider different perspectives to find the best solution to the IT systems changes.

Everything around User Experience

Secondly, it seems likely that Functional Analysts play an important role in leading the functional design, setting the system configuration, and providing support of applications. Their core activities also include gap analysis and end-user support.

Functional Analyst User Experience

Therefore, I would suggest that the Functional Analysts are responsible for solving systems and design concerns. The Functional Analysts’ analyses the user needs to retrieve functional and cross-functional requirements. To make it, they collaborate with the support team, developers, engineers and managers. Hence, they will identify the required resources for each role. In most time, the Functional Analysts work with other staff on systems integration, deployment and optimization.

In most organizations, the functional analysts will develop test plans and test cases as well. From my experience, the functional analysts are responsible for project status reporting, identify risks and set mitigation efforts; which strengthens their central position.

The Functional Analyst: responsible for the optimization of the evolution of IT systems

Thirdly, as I usually see it in my daily tasks as a functional analyst, I believe that the Functional Analysts are the key figures that analyze existing and potential content of the IT systems. They focus on reusing and single-sourcing opportunities to increase efficiency.

Their role is creating and assisting the developers in their development lifecycle, support the lifecycle improvements and the modifications as requested.  They interface with several functional areas providing support on one or more functional modules, recommendations as well on business processes to increase quality. Finally, they produce detailed functional and design specifications suitable for implementation.

Functional Analyst optimizing

As far as I know, the Functional Analysts work also with quality assurance in the design and performance of acceptance tests, change control, and release management processes. In this regard, the Functional Analysts are also responsible for understanding and complying with pertinent departments fulfilling responsibilities common to all supervisory, professional, and administrative positions; which reflects again their principal role in the IT systems changes.

In conclusion, IT systems changes cannot be implemented without the involvement of the Functional Analysts. The Functional Analysts remain an important pillar of IT systems changes. The Functional Analysts support other stakeholders to analyze user needs and determine functional and cross-functional requirements. Their goal: aligning these to the business requirements. They perform functional analysis to identify required tasks and their interrelationships. They work closely with engineers on systems integration, deployment, optimization, and support project status reporting as well as risk identification and mitigation efforts. Their analysis of existing and potential solutions with a focus on reuse and single-sourcing opportunities to increase IT systems efficiency. The Functional Analysts assist IT architects in the transition to and maintaining of content development and storage architecture. In the end, the Functional Analysts remain indispensable actors in the IT systems changes.

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