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!
Is a Business Analyst an IT Job?
Being a business analyst is not restricted to being an IT job as it completely depends on whether a business analyst wishes to specialize in the IT sector. The title given to a business analyst in the IT sector would then be IT, business analyst. However, business analysts in other industries are expected to have the core knowledge about IT and the business software that can help make the business processes more efficient.
- Strategic management: This level is known as the analysis level, where a business analyst is responsible for evaluating and calculating the business strategies and identifying the strategic point of view of the company. This step is the most crucial as the other steps are largely dependent on defining, evaluating, and calculating the business strategic management.
- Analysis of Business Model: This level involves the business analyst to evaluate the current business policies employed by the company. It allows the business analyst to implement new policies for the business model and keep a check on the previous ones.
- Designing the Process: As the name suggests, this business analyst level involves designing and creating a model for the business processes. A business analyst utilizes all his skills at this level.
- Analysis of Technology: A business analyst also analyses the technical systems to ensure that there are no severe consequences.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Business Analyst
A Business Analyst has a different set of roles and responsibilities to perform at different development phases. Let us take a look at the responsibilities of a business analyst at different development phases of a product.
- Researching business problems- A business analyst assesses the business model by figuring out the pain points of the business such as the market gap that the company has to try and fill in or low-level customer acquisitions, among others.
- Deciding on the expected business value– A business analyst understands the product’s course through the selected market segment.
- Drafting nonfunctional requirements- A business analyst drafts the non-functional requirements.
- Drafting functional requirements– A business analyst also prepares the functional requirements, which are the product features to be implemented by the engineers. Therefore, a business analyst has to clearly draft the functional requirements for both developers and stakeholders.
- Creating the main backlog-By this step, the outline of the project is already prepared. Now a business analyst is responsible for creating a backlog where all the discussed business aspects are reflected.
Solution design phase
By this phase, the primary decisions by the stakeholders are already made, business requirements are identified, evaluated, and approved. In this phase, the business analyst plays an essential role to compare the scope of the project with the promised business value. Here are some responsibilities of a business analyst in this phase:
As the name suggests, in this phase, the product team initiates the tasks as per their allocated roles. In this phase, the business analyst ensures that the development is aligned with the approved business requirements and values.
This is the last phase of the development process. In this phase, the business analyst is responsible for gathering feedback from the end-user and getting this feedback incorporated for the necessary changes. Here are some roles of a business analyst in this phase.
What Techniques do Business Analysts Use?
Here is an overview of the techniques used by business analysts and their core skillset. In order to analyze business processes, a business analyst uses several techniques. Some of the common techniques used by a business analyst are as follows:
- SWOT Analysis– A business analyst uses SWOT (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis to analyze the business processes.
- MOST Analysis– A business analyst uses MOST (Mission, objective, strategy, and tactics) analysis for analyzing and planning the details of what the organization is doing and should do.
- Mind Mapping- It is the technique for graphically representing the concepts and ideas for better analyzing and strategizing.
- PESTLE Analysis– A business analyst uses PESTLE (Political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental) analysis to identify the changes in the business.
- Brainstorming-A business analyst performs brainstorming to find solutions, generate new ideas, and for finding facts.
Skills of a Business Analyst
- Technical skills– A business analyst possesses technical skills such as data modeling, stakeholder management, and knowledge of IT.
- Analytical skills– A business analyst must have analytical skills as one of the core responsibilities of a business analyst is to analyze huge amounts of data and business processes to arrive at a desirable solution.
- Problem-solving– A business analyst is often called a problem solver as they are responsible for coming up with solutions to the organization’s problems.
- Communication skills- A business analyst should have strong communication skills as they have to clearly communicate the ideas, requirements, and business value to the stakeholders, development team, or higher management.
- Research skills– A business analyst is responsible for conducting market research for the upcoming product.
What do business analysts do?
Over the course of a career, business analysts may move between distinct roles, at times focusing more on project management and others concentrating on innovation. Some professionals may be drawn to management positions on the IT side of the business.
A responsive role
Unlike some positions with clear daily responsibilities, business analysts often find themselves in positions where they must define their objectives before moving forward with a project. The authority to make decisions and follow through on objectives is what draws analytical thinkers to the role.
- Strategic planning: The analyst works with senior leadership to identify opportunities to improve the business’s operations.
- System design: Working with IT teams, the analyst will explore possible solutions, analyze needs, and develop sustainable processes.
- Research: Analysts may consult with subject matter experts, internal stakeholders, and other resources to better understand business requirements.
- Development: Experienced analysts work closely with teams to ensure their solutions are actionable and effective. Depending on their background, they may assist in the technical implementation of IT solutions.
- Reporting: Analysts generate financial reports to help senior leaders understand the impact of new solutions.
Effective business analysts are highly adaptable. The beginning of a new project may be filled with uncertainty. As analysts collaborate with other stakeholders, they will likely uncover technical issues and operational problems requiring creative solutions.
Developing solutions to unique problems is one of the skills for which analysts are valued. Organizations that need to increase their visibility into complex business challenges rely on analysts to not only solve problems, but also ensure that their solutions are carried through to fruition. For that reason, analysts will often work with teams to document their solutions and evaluate them for further improvement opportunities over time.
Essential traits of successful business analysts
The role of business analyst comes with many responsibilities which can change at a moment’s notice. Job demands and responsibilities shift frequently, requiring analysts to be prepared for anything that might come to their attention.
Effective analysts are able to thrive in conditions where ambiguity prevails. Often, business leaders turn to business analysts when they’re not sure of their next move. The analyst needs to be able to assess the situation, design a path forward, and be prepared to make changes when necessary.
- Excellent communication skills: Business analysts typically work with stakeholders from various departments. To effectively convey their ideas, analysts need to be able to engage leadership as well as people working in IT roles.
- A flexible attitude: The nature of the role means that every project is likely to have unexpected issues. Analysts must be flexible and resilient in the face of opposition.
- Multidisciplinary technical skills: Modern business analysts need a robust understanding of IT. They also need to understand the financial context of the organization’s IT structures so they can make useful decisions.
- Creative problem solving: Business analysts should be curious. They need to explore problems from every angle so they can determine the best possible solution.
- Attention to detail: As business analysts move between high- and low-level strategies, they must ensure their message can scale accordingly. They should be able to understand the impact their decisions will have on every part of the business.
- Strategic thinking: By melding deep knowledge of technology with business strategy, analysts can create new value for organizations. This means they need to be able to analyze and understand how their projects relate to the company’s wider goals.
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!