Staffing the Business Analyst Function

March, 2007

The role of the business analyst is among the most important in the IT organization, serving as a bridge between the IT organization and the users it serves. Yet year after year, Computer Economics surveys show that business analysts are among the most challenging positions for the IT manager to fill. The requisite combination of qualifications–technical knowledge, business perspective, and interpersonal skills–is difficult to find in a single individual. Understanding the right number of business analysts to hire, therefore, is an important first step in planning to staff this important function.

This Research Byte is an executive summary of our full report, Business Analyst Staffing Ratios.

The function of business analysts actually comprises two job functions:

  • Business analysts, whose primary job function brings them directly into user business functions to gather user requirements, define or design business processes using information systems.
  • Customer (user) relationship personnel, who serve as a liaison between users and IT, represent the user community to the IT group, and ensure that IT systems are effectively utilized by the organization. These IT personnel are often the contact point when systems and services are outsourced to a third-party developer.

In many companies, the jobs of the business analyst and customer relationship manager are combined, and in others they have a great deal of overlap in responsibilities. Therefore, in the full version of this report, both of these labor categories are referred to as business analysts to simplify the terminology.

Our study found that business analyst staffing metrics vary considerably by organization size. The full version of this report provides detailed statistics that can be used to understand typical staffing ratios for business analysts in small, medium, and large organizations. Staffing ratios are presented as a percentage of the total IT staff, and also as a percentage of the application programmer and system analyst staff. 

The full version of this report also analyzes the impact of outsourcing status on these ratios. In other words, does the practice of outsourcing some or all of application development influence the number of business analysts that are required?

February 2007

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, Business Analyst Staffing Ratios. The full report is available at no charge for Computer Economics clients, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website at (click for pricing).

Do you also need staffing ratios for other IT job functions? Consider this collection of all of our staffing ratio reports, which bundles them all into a single report at a significant discount: IT Staffing Ratios–Special Report Bundle