The systems analyst is a key person in the success of a new IS. Their primary role is to establish what exactly the need or needs of an organisation are so that the IS can achieve the maximum level of effectiveness for the organisation. Many new IS can fail such as when Ford Motor Co. had to abandon a new purchasing system which had cost $400 million and when Avis Europe cancelled their new Enterprise Resource Planning System which had cost in the region of $54.5 million. The systems analyst can play a key role in avoiding these failures. The information that is gathered from identifying the IS needs of an organisation is very important as all major decisions are made based upon this information.
The systems analyst uses different ways of finding out the requirements of the end users. Such techniques include interviews, observations and questionnaires. Once all of this information is colllected from the end users the systems analyst then goes about analysing the data. They critique the data and try and draw up charts and diagrams of how the system may work when it is built. This step is repeatedly carried out by the systems analyst and often they would have to go back and change their plans if some part of the IS plan is not they way it should be. They then recommend to the organisation what software, hardware and tools they should purchase to build the IS with. They then give the computer programmers advice and instruction as to how to program the system. They continually monitor the development of the system to ensure its success.
In 2008 it was estimated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that the average salary of systems analysts was nearly $80,000. This is quite high but I believe it to be justified by the importance of the role the systems analyst plays in the building of a successful information system in an organisation and the amount of work that has to be done by them.