Business Analysis 101 for Salesforce Admins

By Richard Cunningham

As an organization grows, it typically demands larger and more complex software solutions. It needs more sophisticated configuration than Lightning pages, reports, and even flows to meet user and customer demands.

At the same time, Salesforce Administrators can find themselves at a career crossroad. A growing organization will need additional Salesforce resources and may offer new career opportunities for roles including architect, business analyst, consultant, or developer.

In this article, we’ll examine why Salesforce Admins looking to broaden their business horizons should consider a role in business analysis. We’ll explore the role of a business analyst (BA), as well as the techniques and types of documents they produce – any admins might be surprised at how much of this they are already doing on a regular basis!

An Administrator as a Business Analyst

Rebecca Saar (Senior Director of Admin Marketing at Salesforce) wrote on the Salesforce Blog

“Salesforce Administrators work with stakeholders to define system requirements and customize the platform.”

A BA also works with stakeholders to define business requirements. First, analysts understand the requirements and verify their understanding with business stakeholders. Once they have confirmed the requirements, they share their understanding with technical stakeholders to design and develop a solution.

You can already see that there are a number of similarities between these two roles. 

The Business Analyst Mindset

“The Future of Admin Success” session at Dreamforce 2021 emphasized the importance of having a learner’s mindset. Continuous learning, combined with a curiosity about business needs, forms the foundation of a Business Analyst’s mindset.

Successful business analysis starts with learning the business, including its goals and needs. It postpones solution development until stakeholders agree on well-defined requirements. 

Deferring development can challenge Salesforce Admins accustomed to quickly delivering configuration changes, reports, and workflows to solve specific problems.

As business analysts, Salesforce Administrators broaden their scope from managing orgs to improving business processes.

Improving business processes can take several solution versions to meet business needs. Therefore, an admin becoming a business analyst should put major business process improvements into versions, rather than solving them all at once. 

The latter option may seem daunting to a system administrator who is used to delivering smaller, more complete solutions. Instead, the first version fulfills mandatory requirements, followed by versions delivering lower priority features.

A business analyst should have an ally, such as a manager or product owner, to help rank solution features in different versions.

READ MORE: How to Become a Salesforce Business Analyst

Business Analysis Techniques

The infographic below shows an overview of the business analysis process. It starts with capturing and acknowledging business needs with stakeholders. 

Next, business analysts curate business needs into requirements. They then learn to understand them.

Finally, they show their understanding to stakeholders, editing requirements and diagrams according to stakeholder feedback.

As well as requirements, business analysts deliver process maps and concept maps.

They occasionally use concept maps to show business-specific terms in boxes connected by arrows. The arrow labels show the relationships between concepts, and each arrow shows the order in which the concepts are to be read, as shown in the concept map below:

A process diagram shows steps as activity boxes connected with arrows labeled to show activities’ inputs and outputs:

Each box represents a process that drills down into more detail in another process diagram. For example, here is the diagram for Step 2:


Business analysis offers administrators the opportunity to broaden their horizons by working on higher-impact solutions, helping stakeholders to determine exactly what goes into each solution. 

Business analysts develop interviewing, presentation, and negotiation skills that are valuable in any position. As we’ve seen, administrators may already be using some of the same skills and techniques required. From implementing customization decisions to learning how the organization makes decisions in a larger scope, the evolution from admin to business analyst is a natural step.

Business analysis can also lead an admin into an architect role, or even towards business operations. So, as you can see, business analysis provides invaluable skills for a Salesforce Admin’s career, no matter which direction it’s heading in!

The Author

Richard Cunningham

Richard is the founder of Purposeful Architect, and chief blogger.

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