It’s a competitive market out there, and businesses that want to succeed need to take advantage of every tool and resource within their reach. Smart decisions help businesses thrive, and reliable information is the key to intelligent decisions.
Enter business analysis. You are about to get a primer on business analysts—learning what they are, why they are needed, what they do, and how to become one. If you’re running a business, you may realize why you need one in your organization, while those of you who are looking for a good career may have just found one!
Let’s take our first steps into a business analyst’s world by first understanding what is business analysis.
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What is Business Analysis?
Business analysis is a combination of gaining insight from data using specific techniques, and performing tasks to identify the needs of a business—then, recommending changes and providing solutions that produce value for the stakeholders. Many of the solutions potentially have software and digital data-based components, but can also incorporate organizational changes, like improving processes, developing new policies, and engaging in strategic planning.
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What Does a Business Analyst Do?
Business analysts are agents of change—professionals who analyze a business or organization, by documenting its systems and processes, assessing its business model, identifying vulnerabilities, and devising solutions.
Business analysts go by many other job titles, including:
- Business Architect
- Business Intelligence Analyst
- Business Systems Analyst
- Data Scientist
- Enterprise Analyst
- Management Consultant
- Process Analyst
- Product Manager
- Product Owner
- Requirements Engineer
- Systems Analyst
Bear in mind that some organizations also use the term “IT Business Analyst.” Although there seems to be no clear consensus regarding the differences between the two positions (and, in fact, many organizations use them interchangeably), some circles note that the IT Business Analyst works more with software methodologies.
Once the business analysis definition is locked down, the more curiosity-driven reader may follow up by asking, “In that case, what is business impact analysis?” Business impact analysis is a practice that’s of particular relevance in these days of pandemic-induced business shutdowns. Business impact analysis, or BIA, aims to predict and identify the financial and operational impacts of business disruption. You can be sure that before many businesses closed temporarily due to the coronavirus, they launched business impact analysis studies.
Now that we have gone through to understand what is business analysis, let us next look at the difference between business analysis and business analytics.
Difference Between Business Analysis and Business Analytics
We should take a moment and clarify the distinction between these two concepts. Business analysis is more concerned with functions and processes, while business analytics covers data and reporting. Still, many organizations use the terms interchangeably.
As we have learned what a business analyst is, let us understand business analysis uses.
Why Use Business Analysis?
Thanks mostly to the breathtaking pace of today’s technological advancements, the 21st century’s business world is one of rapid, constant change. Innovations change the way we live and work, and businesses must be able to adapt to these changes or get left behind.
Business analysts are the ideal professionals to shepherd any organization through the tricky terrain of change. Once they navigate through those changes, businesses emerge more robust, more competitive, and better equipped to handle the ever-evolving world of digital-based business.
After having understood what is a business analyst, let us next look at the business analysis process.
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What is the Business Analysis Process?
These are the widely accepted steps in the business analysis process. Each company’s needs and situations are different, however, so there may be some variance.
- Get orientedMake sure to clarify the business analyst’s role, determine the stakeholders’ perspective, and get familiar with the project’s history.
- Name the primary business objectives. Identify the primary stakeholders’ expectations, reconcile conflicting expectations, and make sure the objectives are clear and actionable.
- Define the project’s scope. You need a clear and complete statement of the project’s scope—a rough roadmap of all the steps the project participants must follow.
- Create a business analysis plan. List timelines, steps, and deliverables.
- Define requirements. You need concise, clear, and actionable requirements, based on analyzing the information gathered so far.
- Support the technical implementation. Since many solutions require using software, the business analyst needs to work closely with IT teams.
- Help implement the solution. This step involves creating clear documentation and training end-users.
- Assess value. Did the project work? How much progress did the organization make? Are there any needed follow-ups?
While looking into the various aspects of business analysis, we have learned what is business analysis so let us next learn its various techniques.
What are the Different Techniques of Business Analysis?
Countless hurdles and obstacles face any company that wants to stay on top of the heap. Fortunately, there are also a handful of varying business analysis techniques—brace yourself for a flood of acronyms.
- CATWOE (Customers, Actors, Transformation Process, World View, Owner, and Environmental Constraints). This technique identifies the main parties and processes potentially affected by any action the business undertakes. This technique helps business analysts to thoroughly evaluate how a proposed action will affect a collection of different parties and elements.
- MoSCoW (Must or Should, Could or Would). This process prioritizes requirements by presenting a framework where every single demand is evaluated compared to other requirements. Is it a must-have or a should-have? Is it something that could improve the product or something that would be an ideal future element?
- MOST (Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics). Business analysts use these elements to conduct a detailed and complete internal analysis of an organization’s goals and how to handle each one.
- PESTLE (Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal, and Environmental). Business analysts use the PESTLE model to evaluate the various external factors that can potentially affect their company and how best to address them.
- SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). This technique identifies a corporate structure’s areas of strength and weakness, translating them into opportunities and threats. The knowledge gained helps determine proper resource allocation.
- Six Thinking Hats. This analysis process directs a group’s line of thinking by brainstorming alternate perspectives and ideas. The ‘six hats’ in question are White (focus on your data, logic), Red (uses gut feelings, emotions, intuition), Black (potential negative results, what can go wrong), Yellow (focus on positives, optimistic), Green (creativity), and Blue (process control, the big-picture overview).
- The 5 Whys. Commonly found in Six Sigma and business analysis techniques, this series of leading questions, all posed with “Why?”, helps business analysts identify a problem’s origin by asking why a situation exists, then raising another “why?” question to the answer, and so on.
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We have understood so much about business analysis, beginning from what is business analysis, the process, uses, and more. Let us next look at the benefits.
How Does a Company Benefit from Business Analysis?
Business analysts bring a disciplined approach to creating and managing change within an organization. They identify vulnerabilities, define needs based on feedback and stakeholder communication, organize and implement solutions, and monitor the results.
In today’s competitive environment, businesses of all sizes need every possible advantage that they can get, and the business analyst is a valuable resource for identifying the best moves to make, on both a tactical and strategic scale. Furthermore, business analysts make ideal project managers.
By employing a business analyst, companies gain a better understanding of themselves and their needs, and how best to meet them. As we have learned what is a business analyst, the various techniques, the business analysis process, and more let us look into the benefits of getting certified.
The Benefits of Certification
The certification process yields advantages to the professional and organization alike. For the individual, certification imparts skills and training that any good business analyst needs to succeed. Business analysis is not a career where you can mostly learn as you go! Entering a new position with a complete and robust skillset is the only way you will succeed.
Certification also grants you a tangible milestone, an easily measured achievement that tells prospective employers, “I know what I’m doing.” When you sit down for that interview, your certification is a verification of your qualifications. Certification helps you open the door to a better, more lucrative career in business analytics.
For the organization, certification assures the business that they have the right choice for the position. The interview process can be tricky, fraught with uncertainty. It’s also time-consuming and costly, so the organization should strive to make the right choice the first time by ensuring a mutually beneficial fit. Certification assures the candidate’s competency in the subject matter.
We have learned what is business analysis, next, let us look at the skills and qualifications of a business analyst.
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What Skills and Qualifications Does a Business Analyst Need?
When we talk about what is business analysis and what makes a good business analyst, we must focus on the relevant necessary skills. Business analysts required a range of soft and hard skills, including experience in either IT or business-related backgrounds. For the IT side, that means knowing how to pull, analyze, and report on data trends, as well as sharing that information in a clear way. For the business side, you need to have at least a basic understanding of how systems, tools, and products work.
Business analysts should have a bachelor’s degree in Business or a related field, or alternately, an MBA. Furthermore, most businesses want the candidate to have some work-related experience in business analysis or a related field, usually about five years’ worth.
According to the Institute of Business Analysis, a good analyst needs the following skills and knowledge:
- Analytical thinking and problem solving
- Communication skills (oral and written)
- Interpersonal and consultative skills
- Costs benefit analysis
- Facilitation skills
- Detail-oriented and able to deliver at a high level of accuracy
- Organizational skills
- Processes modeling
- Knowledge of business structures
- Stakeholder analysis
- Requirements engineering
- Understanding of how networks, databases and other technologies work
How Would You Like to Become a Business Analyst?
Business analysts are in high demand and fetch excellent compensation. Salary.com reports an annual average of USD 75,400. If this sounds like a smart career move to you, then check out Simplilearn’s new Post Graduate Program in Business Analysis in partnership with Purdue University.
The program is designed to hone your expertise in the latest business analytics tools and techniques, including planning and monitoring, data analysis and statistics, visualizations, Agile Scrum methodologies, and SQL databases.
On the other hand, if you wish to become a pro business analyst, and add a shining name, i.e., Carlson School of Management certification to your resume, you must join umn business analytics course. Leverage the UMN edge today, explore more and enroll right away!
Business analysts assess how organisations are performing and help them improve their processes and systems. They conduct research and analysis in order to come up with solutions to business problems and help to introduce these solutions to businesses and their clients.Is business analyst and business analysis same? ›
The BA Times explained the primary way business analytics professionals differ from business analysts: “A business analyst doesn't work with data and is mostly concerned about processes and functions. On the contrary, reporting and data are the key components of a business analytics professional's job.”What is business analyst in simple words? ›
Business analysts are agents of change—professionals who analyze a business or organization, by documenting its systems and processes, assessing its business model, identifying vulnerabilities, and devising solutions. Business analysts go by many other job titles, including: Business Architect.What are the three main roles of a business analyst? ›
Business analyst job description
Creating a detailed business analysis, outlining problems, opportunities and solutions for a business. Budgeting and forecasting. Planning and monitoring.
IT business analysts are experts in both business administration and information technology. Their primary responsibilities include liaising between IT and the executive branch, improving the quality of IT services, and analyzing business needs.Does business analytics require coding? ›
While the ability to program is helpful for a career in analytics, being able to write code isn't necessarily required to work as an analytics professional. Apart from the above languages, statistical software such as SPSS, SAS, Sage, Mathematica, and even Excel can be used when managing and analyzing data.Who gets paid more business analyst or data analyst? ›
The average data analyst's salary could go up to $72,250 per year. It also depends on the company, job role, and geographical location matters. A data business analyst's salary is typically higher, averaging $78,500/year. Again, the candidate's skillset, profile, company brand, and location factor in.What is the best course for business analyst? ›
- Business Strategy: University of Virginia.
- Google Project Management:: Google.
- Introduction to Data Analytics: IBM Skills Network.
- Data Analysis and Visualization Foundations: IBM Skills Network.
A business analyst's daily job duties include identifying business issues, collecting and recording data, analyzing data, and evaluating and presenting data solutions. They work with several groups including customer service management, product development, business operations, and business clients.Does a business analyst do testing? ›
So, a BA doesn't run testing, but they can participate in preparing test cases. For example, a BA specialist can check if the tests are written in conformance with the requirements. A Business Analyst can also be on the list of people authorized to sign a testing plan.
Business analysis is the process of developing information, knowledge and plans for business change. This generally involves information gathering, measurement & calculation, solution design and resolution of issues. The following are common examples of business analysis.Is SQL required for business analyst? ›
SQL is the language in which we can tell the computer to perform that operation. With big data and relational databases being the new norm for most companies, SQL knowledge is a prerequisite for almost any business analyst job.Is business analyst a stressful job? ›
Business analysis could become stressful in some way at some point in time. But it doesn't mean, only your job is stressful and other jobs are easy to do. Every job could lead to a stressful situation but it is up to the person, how he/she handles it.Is python required for business analytics? ›
Python is one of the most popular languages for business analytics today and continues to grow at an astonishing rate. It's commonly considered one of the easier programming languages to read and learn—its programming syntax is simple and its commands mimic the English language.What is an entry level business analyst? ›
Entry-level business analysts, or junior business analysts, support the collection and analysis of data for a business or organization, providing better solutions, technology integration, or systems improvements.What is a key role the BA plays? ›
The key role a business analyst plays when conducting an analysis of a business is requirements management. The modern business environment is complex and the business analyst's role is to maintain requirements through constant change by using innovation to do so.Does business analyst require technical skills? ›
Technical skills are important for business analysts because they provide the tools analysts need to identify and address issues and create solutions. Business analysts seek to improve processes for departments or entire organizations by analyzing existing policies and systems and making recommendations.Is being a business analyst Hard? ›
Being a business analyst can be tough. Being a business analyst can be tough because, at one point in your career, you'll have to deliver inputs or outputs for a project despite encountering many problems and roadblocks that make being a business analyst a tough job.Is business analyst a non tech role? ›
As someone who may be non-technical and have the role of a business analyst you may find yourself working outside of the information technology and engineering department and be more involved in business departments and responsible for identifying areas of improvement in process, organisational, people or informational ...Are business analysts in demand? ›
During the past several years, the demand for business analysts has grown—and there's seemingly no end in sight. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that during the next decade, the number of business analyst jobs will grow about 14%, almost twice as fast as the average for all roles.
Contrary to popular belief, business analytics does not involve extensive coding, math, or knowledge of computer science. It's a great career fit for those who enjoy solving complex problems and offering practical conclusions based on real business data.Can a non it person learn business analytics? ›
These skills are not related to programming, but take a bit of time to acquire. So, it is completely feasible and possible for a non-IT professional to become a business analyst.Do business analysts work from home? ›
They can work full-time, part-time, freelance, or as independent contractors across a variety of career fields. And, because much of the business analyst role includes data analysis and visualization (think: crunching numbers and creating graphs and pie charts), in many cases, their work can be done remotely.What is after business analyst? ›
Those who wish to move higher up in the profession typically begin to make a move after three to five years in the career. At that point, it's possible to move into project management, IT roles such as senior/lead business analyst, product manager, and consulting roles.Which is harder data analyst or business analyst? ›
Business analysts must have at least a working knowledge of the technology involved in analytics, though the need for hard technical skills is generally lower than for data analysts.Is business analyst a good career? ›
The simple answer is yes – being a business analyst is a good career choice and provides an opportunity for life-long learning and addressing challenges to provide solutions to business problems. You have the opportunity to work in different sectors and industries to apply your skills.Which is better data analyst or business analyst? ›
Data analysts tend to work more closely with the data itself, while business analysts tend to be more involved in addressing business needs and recommending solutions. Both are highly sought-after roles that are typically well-compensated.How long does IT take to become a business analyst? ›
It takes 4-years to become a business analyst.
Around 66% of business analysts have a bachelor's degree and 17% have master's degrees. The qualifications needed to become a successful business analyst include a bachelor's degree, certifications, and on-the-job experience.
A Project Manager is assigned with the task of resolving issues and managing resources of a particular project whereas a Business Analyst needs to ensure that the delivered project meets the requirements of the stakeholders.Who does a business analyst report to? ›
Rather than placing a business analyst as someone who “reports to X and manages Y,” most companies give business analysts a direct report (typically at a director or VP level) and let them work with people at all levels of the organization.
Business analysts typically work a standard a 40-hour week, but flexible hours and overtime may be sometimes be required.What documents does a business analyst prepare? ›
- Project vision Document.
- Business Analysis Plan.
- Business Requirements Document.
- Functional requirement specification (FRS)/ Functional Specification Document (FSD)
- System requirement specification (SRS)/ System Requirement Document (SRD)
Business analyst has to write different sets of test cases that need to design for UAT. Once UAT has done successfully the deployment will start at the customer's place, and the actual end-user will start using the software.Do business analysts perform UAT? ›
It is a must for a business analyst to have a thorough knowledge of the domain and its functionality. In software industries, the BA plays a vital role in user acceptance testing (UAT). It is important to validate and verify that the product is error-free and meeting the business needs.What are the four stages of business analysis? ›
Steps involved in Business Analysis Process
Requirement planning and Management. Requirement Elicitation. Requirement analysis and Documentation.
Try something along these lines: “As a business analyst, I would be able to contribute to your company immediately with my deep understanding of how to deliver business insights from raw data. I have experience working with SQL, data models, and in Agile product development.How do you perform business analysis? ›
- Step 1: Gather Background Information. ...
- Step 2: Identify Stakeholders. ...
- Step 3: Discover Business Objectives. ...
- Step 4: Evaluate Options. ...
- Step 5: Scope Definition. ...
- Step 6: Business Analyst Delivery Plan. ...
- Step 7: Define Project Requirements. ...
- Step 8: Support Implementation Through SDLC.
- What problem is this business having that you hope to solve by developing this project? ...
- What is the business doing at present to alleviate or solve the issue? ...
- What inside resources will this project be utilizing? ...
- Have you determined a vision for the project?
The three broad types of analysts include business process analysts, business systems analysts, and generalist business analysts.
This capital city of Karnataka has one of the highest numbers of job listings for various IT professions, including those for business analysts. For this reason, business analysts are also of the highest-paid IT professionals in the city. Business analysts earn an average annual income of ₹660,000 in Bangalore.What are the disadvantages of business analyst? ›
- Misconception of BA's scope of work. ...
- Created specifications do not satisfy the needs of the development team. ...
- Changing requirements or business needs. ...
- Conflicts with stakeholders. ...
- Undocumented processes.
Business Analysts work in the operations and management sector while Financial Analysts work in the finance sector. A Business Analyst works on the overall development of the business while a Financial Analyst works for the improvement of financial processes.What skills do business analysts need? ›
- Understanding the Business Objective. ...
- Analytical and Critical Thinking. ...
- Communication and Interpersonal Skills. ...
- Negotiation and Cost-Benefit Analysis. ...
- Decision-Making Skills. ...
- Programming Languages. ...
- Creation of Reports and Dashboards. ...
- Database and SQL.
In a technical sense, business analytics is not especially hard. You could train almost anyone with a bit of math ability to do it. We have software written by data scientists – who have a tough job – that can help extract useful stuff from a dataset.How can I learn SQL for Business Analyst? ›
- Learn Business Data Analysis with SQL and Tableau (Udemy) Source: Udemy.com. ...
- SQL for Business Analysts (DataCamp) ...
- Excel to MySQL: Analytic Techniques for Business Specialization (Coursera) ...
- Introduction to Data Analytics for Managers (edX) ...
- LearnSQL.com SQL Reporting.
A business analyst's daily job duties include identifying business issues, collecting and recording data, analyzing data, and evaluating and presenting data solutions. They work with several groups including customer service management, product development, business operations, and business clients.Is business analyst a stressful job? ›
Business analysis could become stressful in some way at some point in time. But it doesn't mean, only your job is stressful and other jobs are easy to do. Every job could lead to a stressful situation but it is up to the person, how he/she handles it.Is business analyst a high paying job? ›
Even Business Analysts in less technically demanding positions routinely earn an average salary that sits comfortably in the high five-figure range, and often into six figures for Business Analysts in senior positions.Is being a business analyst Hard? ›
Being a business analyst can be tough. Being a business analyst can be tough because, at one point in your career, you'll have to deliver inputs or outputs for a project despite encountering many problems and roadblocks that make being a business analyst a tough job.
While the ability to program is helpful for a career in analytics, being able to write code isn't necessarily required to work as an analytics professional. Apart from the above languages, statistical software such as SPSS, SAS, Sage, Mathematica, and even Excel can be used when managing and analyzing data.What is a typical day for a BA? ›
Like every other job a Business Analysts also have a chunk of work to accomplish on a daily basis. That includes attending team meetings, planning, analysis, documentation, and working on the challenges, reviews and many more. An agile business analyst has to handle a variety of work.Is business analyst in high demand? ›
Business analysts are increasingly in demand as organizations turn to data to make key decisions. These job growth predictions prove it. The future isn't set in stone, but job outlook analysts try to predict it anyway. To that end, various sources report good, if not tremendous, growth in business analysis.What are the disadvantages of business analyst? ›
- Misconception of BA's scope of work. ...
- Created specifications do not satisfy the needs of the development team. ...
- Changing requirements or business needs. ...
- Conflicts with stakeholders. ...
- Undocumented processes.
Entry-level business analysts, or junior business analysts, support the collection and analysis of data for a business or organization, providing better solutions, technology integration, or systems improvements.Is business analyst a finance job? ›
Business Analysts work in the operations and management sector while Financial Analysts work in the finance sector. A Business Analyst works on the overall development of the business while a Financial Analyst works for the improvement of financial processes.Which IT field has highest salary? ›
- Cloud Architect - $107,000.
- DevOps Engineer - $140,000.
- Blockchain Engineer - $150,000.
- Software Architect - $114,000.
- Big Data Engineer - $140,000.
- Internet of Things (IoT) Solutions Architect - $130,000.
- Data Scientist - $150,000.
After eight to 10 years in various business analysis positions, you could advance to chief technology officer, chief operating officer, project management office director, or work as a consultant.Which company is best for business analyst? ›
Top 10 Highest-Paying Business Analysts Companies.
|Company||Salary for Business Analyst|
They can work full-time, part-time, freelance, or as independent contractors across a variety of career fields. And, because much of the business analyst role includes data analysis and visualization (think: crunching numbers and creating graphs and pie charts), in many cases, their work can be done remotely.
Business analysts typically work a standard a 40-hour week, but flexible hours and overtime may be sometimes be required.How do I know if business analyst is for me? ›
If you enjoy helping people, asking questions, solving problems, and working independently, a career as a business analyst could be a good fit.