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System Analyst

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.


  • examine existing IT systems and business models;
  • analyse systems requirements;
  • undertake product development;
  • implement, configure and test feasible solutions.

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.

Typical work activities

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:

  • liaising extensively with external or internal clients;
  • analysing clients' existing systems and business models;
  • mapping and documenting interfaces between legacy and new systems;
  • understanding software development lifecycle;
  • translating client requirements into highly specified project briefs;
  • identifying options for potential solutions and assessing them for both technical and business suitability;
  • conducting requirements analysis and preparing specific proposals for modified or replacement systems;
  • developing solutions and related products;
  • producing project feasibility and costings report;
  • presenting proposals to clients;
  • working closely with colleagues, developers, testers and a variety of end users to ensure technical compatibility and user satisfaction;
  • ensuring that budgets are adhered to and deadlines met;
  • drawing up, supervising and documenting testing schedule for complete system;
  • overseeing implementation of a new system including data migration;
  • planning and working flexibly to deadlines;
  • supporting users on change control and system updates;
  • providing training and user manuals to users of a new system;
  • keeping up to date with technical and industry developments.