4.3 Roles, Skills, Responsibilities

Broadly speaking, the people who do business language analysis are business modelers.  Data modeling is a good background, as are other disciplines that involve classification, such as biology and library science.  Academic background in linguistics, semantics, or systems theory would be ideal preparation.  Experience in building information systems, particularly object-oriented systems, provides the background to appreciate the benefits offered by business language analysis. 

A modeler may work alone with documents and other language sources from the domain, to pro-duce a model.  It is much more effective, however, if the analysis is done with a small team that searches sources for terms, writes definitions, classifies terms, writes documentation, and maintains the repository.  It is essential that the team or individual modeler works with domain experts from the business to validate the definitions, relationships, and conclusions that are developed in the course of the business language analysis. 

It is not the role of business language analysts to dictate language, but rather to understand all the ways terms are being used, and their implications for system requirements.

Business language analysis may be tied to a particular project, in a constrained time period.  However, it is more valuable if it becomes institutionalized as a permanent business function.  At a certain point the number of new terms being discovered will diminish, because the effort is achieving completeness of coverage.  This provides the opportunity to evaluate the completeness and adequacy of the enterprise-wide information system.

The language of the business will continue to evolve.  With a highly tuned sensing mechanism, the information systems organization can stay abreast of the evolution of the business, as re-flected in the evolution of its language.