April 14, 2003
Bridging the Gap
By Mary Stevens
What do you call an employee who works with a company's top brass to define a business
problem, collaborates with departmental staff to hammer out the requirements and helps the IT
crew determine the best technology to use to solve it?
Increasingly, this employee is likely to be tagged "IT business technologist" or "IT business
analyst." But whatever the official title, these workers are also called "in demand."
In the last year, business technologists typically pulled down annual salaries well above
$100,000, according to the latest "Quarterly IT Insider Professional Salary Survey Report,"
released by Foote Partners LLC, a New Canaan, Conn., consulting company that follows IT
salaries and bonus pay (see chart below). Bonuses for business technologists nationwide
typically range from 7 to 15 percent of salary, according to the Foote study.
Just what is an IT business analyst? In general terms, an IT business analyst acts as a liaison
between non-IT employees who have a business problem to solve and the IT department, which
is charged with finding the solution. Ideally, an IT business analyst is both tech-savvy and a great
communicator because these two sides of a company often speak very different languages.
In addition to defining business problems, IT business analysts
must be able to collaborate across divisions to build consensus
about requirements, apply metrics and perform modeling to
work out solutions, experts say.
"It's like a little bit of what lots of IT people used to do," said
Tina Joseph, director of sales at B2T Training LLC, an Atlanta-
based corporate training company that has specialized in
training business analysts for 10 years.
The title of IT business analyst isn't new—nor is the job
description. But, say experts such as Joseph, the role is
growing in importance in this era of bare-bones IT budgets and
sky-high cost-cutting pressure.
Increasingly, as companies realize their survival might depend
on it, the