You are correct. In a automation project, the requirements will be looked into by the business analysts first before reaching the developers.
The business analyst will go through all the requirement specifications and understand the business process and how it should be automated. Apart from the documentation and the requirement collection, a BA has another major role to play here.
Sometimes the process the client bring to us may not be efficient. There could be so many manual steps that are even repeated in a single iteration. And the process might not be streamlined in a proper way. Hence, in automation projects, most of the time there is a part where we should properly improve and standardize the process. This is one of the most important aspects of the automation. I’m highlighting this point because there are many people who really don’t bother about this aspect. I’m not sure about other countries, but in here I hear lot of complains from companies that they just come and automate and the process never gets standardized. This standardization really brings value to customers. Without it, the idea of the automation will not be successful. So this is a responsibility of a BA to understand the requirement and tey their best to standardize it before working on the automation. BA and a BPO guy should get involved in this.
Once everyone is happy on the standardized process, then the BAs can pass in the work to the developers. BA and the client should give a good idea about the standardized process to the technical consultant/ architect and then they will decide how the automation should be designed and developed.
Hope it helps…