In the past few years, it has been noticed that the global population has generated tons of data and reached an all-time high. Studies suggest that humans produce 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day by using smartphones, social media sites, and websites like Google. Around 90% of this total data worldwide is created in just the last two years. This increasing number has led us to rely on quantifiable information in business. Various enterprises across different industries use consumer habits, preferences, and other data insights to assist in making decisions. Even in business, 81% of organizations rely on population data to gain greater customer insights and recognize trends.
Growing Need For Data Professionals
However, to make this 2.5 quintillion byte of data useful for organizations much has to be done. The professionals handle analytics responsible for taking the unstructured captured information generated online and translating it into a format that the human brain can understand. And this process of developing, analyzing, and communicating data is executed by several individuals in the field, and each of them takes responsibility for a particular component of work: These individuals are:
- Data Analysts: They are responsible for the technical work that includes sifting through the data, drawing conclusions, and communicating effectively via practices like data visualization and verbal storytelling.
- Business Analysts: They are responsible for evaluating past and current business data with the primary goal of improving enterprises’ decision-making processes. Business Analysts are closely working with the stakeholders to recognize goals, best practices, and other active methods to gather and analyze data related to the requirements of a specific organization.
- Data scientists: They are similar to business analysts as they primarily focus on processes through which the data is gathered for business usage. However, what differentiates them from business analysts is that Data scientists focus on the technical aspect of these processes. They evaluate storage, acquisition, and initial data analysis, and then they apply data science methods for measuring effectiveness.
These three play a crucial role in the overall usage of data analytics in the business world; however, business analysts’ work makes the most direct impact on the organization. Mainly, business analysts help businesses improve processes, products, services, and software via data analysis. They straddle the line between IT & business to bridge the gap and enhance efficiency. This article discusses the necessary skills, responsibilities, and career outlook for the business analyst field.
What Is A Business Analyst?
As said above, Business Analysts, often called BAs, take the ownership to bridge the gap between IT and business via data analytics for assessing processing, determining requirements, and delivering data-driven recommendations & reports for both executives and stakeholders. These Business Analysts get involved with business leaders and users to understand how data-driven changes to processes, products, services, software, and hardware can enhance efficiencies and offer value. BAs articulate those ideas while balancing them against technologically feasible, financially, and functionally reasonable. As per their role, they might work with data sets to enhance products, tools, software, hardware, process, or services.
Who Is Business Analyst?
In recent times, Business Analysts have emerged to play a vital role in the current business scenarios. While some people might assume that Business Analysts have the role of making money for the business, that’s not true in the direct context. However, indirectly, the actions and decisions are taken by BAs impact the organization’s financial prospects.
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What Does A Business Analyst Do?
Business Analysts are mainly responsible for communicating with the stakeholders and eliciting, analyzing, and validating requirements for changes to business processes, information systems & policies. ABA takes charge to improve business enterprises’ productivity, efficiency, and profitability. Business Analysts help the organization succeed by:
- Understanding what business does and how it does
- Determining how to enhance existing business processes
- Identifying steps/tasks supporting the integration of new functionalities
- Designing new functionalities for implementation
- Analyzing the impact of integrating new functionalities
- Integrating new functionalities
Essentially, Business Analysts are the professionals who analyze a business or an enterprise by documenting its systems & processes, assessing its business model, recognizing vulnerabilities, and devising solutions.
These are the other job titles that Business Analysts go by, such as:
- Business Architect
- Business Intelligence Analyst
- Business Systems Analyst
- Data Scientist
- Enterprise Analyst
- Management Consultant
- Product Owner
- Product Manager
- Process Analyst
- Systems Analyst
- Requirements Engineer
- IT Business Analyst (for software methodologies)
As we have explained in detail about Business Analysts, now let’s understand the difference between business analysis and business analytics.
Difference Between Business Analysis & Business Analytics
Business Analysis has to do more with the functions and processes, whereas Business Analytics covers data and reporting. Yet, several enterprises use these terms interchangeably.
Here we cleared the difference between business analysis and analytics; now, let’s understand the use of business analysis.
Why Use Business Analysis?
Today, technological advancements take place at a breathtaking pace; hence the business world faces rapid, constant changes. These innovations change how we live and work; thus, businesses must adapt well to these changes or get left behind.
Today Business Analysts are the ideal professionals who can help organizations sail smoothly through these changes. And once navigated through the changes, businesses and organizations emerge as more competitive, more robust, and better equipped to well-handle the ever-evolving world of digital business.
After understanding the use of Business Analysis, let’s explore the roles and responsibilities next.
Roles & Responsibilities Of Business Analysts
Business Analysts can be from any business sector as their role varies as per the sector. Mainly Business Analyst is classified into several categories, such as:
- Business Analyst
- Usability or UX Analyst
- Functional Architect
- Data Analyst
- System Analyst
- Business System Analyst
- IT Business Analyst
- Business Process Analyst
Understanding The Process Of Business Analysis
The Business Analysis process consists of numerous steps, and the needs & situations of each company are different. However, the general process involves:
- The first step is to get oriented by clarifying the business analyst’s role, determining stakeholders’ perspectives, and getting familiar with the project’s history.
- Next, list the primary business objectives, identify the expectations of primary stakeholders, reconcile conflicting expectations, and ensure the goals are clear and actionable.
- It is time to define the scope of the project. It is necessary to create a clear statement of the project’s scope – more like a rough roadmap of all steps to be followed by project participants.
- Carve a Business Analysis plan and list steps, timelines, and deliverables.
- It is crucial to define requirements, and for that, you require precise, concise, and actionable requirements based on the analysis of information collected so far.
- Support technical implementation. After all, various solutions need software, so it is essential that BA closely works with the IT teams.
- This step involves implementing the solution, where BA must create clear documentation and train the end-users.
- Last, it is necessary to assess the value, like how the project performed, how much progress the organization makes, and any necessary follow-ups.
Among the various aspects of Business Analysis, one is its techniques, so next, let’s learn about that.
What Are The Different Techniques Of Business Analysis?
Here we present the various Business Analysis techniques, they are:
- CATWOE (Customers, Actors, Transformation Process, World View, Owner, and Environmental Constraints). This technique identifies main parties & processes potentially affected by actions undertaken by the business. The technique allows BAs to comprehensively evaluate how a proposed business action affects different parties & business elements from all angles.
This technique prioritizes requirements by presenting a framework that evaluates every demand. The measures it takes to assess are: Is it a must-have or should-have? Is that something that could improve the product or make it an ideal future element?
- MOST (Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics). BAs use these elements to carry out a comprehensive internal analysis of the organization’s goals and state how to handle each plan.
- PESTLE (Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal, and Environmental). BAs use this model to evaluate different external factors that could potentially affect the enterprise and address them.
- SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). This process helps identify an enterprise’s areas of strength and weakness and translate them into opportunities and threats. This knowledge helps in determining the appropriate allocation of resources.
- Six Thinking Hats. This technique directs a group’s line of thinking by brainstorming alternate perspectives. The six hats of this technique involve White (to focus on logic, data), Black (potential negative outcomes, what might go wrong), Red (uses gut feelings, intuition), Green (use creativity), Yellow (focus on positives), and Blue (process control, keeping the bigger picture in mind).
- The 5 Whys. Usually found in Six Sigma and business analysis techniques, ere the series of questions, are posed with ‘Why?’, which helps BAs identify the origin of the problem by asking why a situation is then posing ‘why?’ question to that answer it goes on like this.
So far, we have covered several aspects of Business Analysis, next let’s focus on the benefits.
How Does A Business Benefit From Business Analysis?
Business Analysts are great as they bring in a disciplined factor that makes it easier to create and manage change within an enterprise. They are responsible for recognizing vulnerabilities, defining requirements based on feedback and stakeholder communication, organizing and implementing solutions, and monitoring results.
The present business world is quite competitive, and hence, businesses of all sizes need to make the most of every possible advantage they can get. Here a business analyst comes around as a valuable resource to identify the best moves, both on a strategic & tactical scale.
A business analyst allows the enterprises to better understand themselves and their needs and effectively offers ways to meet them.
Here are the many benefits of having a Business Analyst for your business, and next, let’s move on to the benefits of getting certified.
What Skills Are Necessary For A Good Business Analyst?
Business Analysts are mainly judged based on four attributes, they are:
- Analytical Skills: A Business Analyst with exceptional analytical skills will always stand out. The role of BA consists of handling the basics of business analysis, data analysis, workflow, user/stakeholders’ inputs, documents, etc.
- Leadership Skills: A Business Analyst must be highly-skilled in directing their team members, forecasting budget and helping the team solve problems, and much more.
- Business process & planning: A Business Analyst must be skilled in planning project scope, understanding & implementing project requirements, identifying resources necessary for the project, etc.
- Technical Skill: A Business Analyst for the IT sector must be well-versed with the technical aspects like operating systems, hardware capabilities, networking, database concepts, SDLC methodology, and so on.
Certifications For Business Analyst
According to IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis), a professional Business Analyst can get the certification of CBAP (Certified Business Analysis Professional). CBAP offers two types of certificates, and the certification exam is computer-based and it comprises multiple-choice questions. The two different types of certifications are:
- Certification of Competency in Business Analysis: For this certification, at least 3750 hours of work experience is pre-requisite
- Certified Business Analysis Profession (for senior-level): At least 7500 hours of work experience is a pre-requisite for this certification.
Off-shore students can apply for the online certification exam.
Bootcamps For Business Analyst
The certifications are designed to offer proof of skills that BAs already possess, whereas Bootcamps are created to teach new skills and enhance their current skillset. Bootcamps can be workshops held for a course of a few days or full-fledged courses led by instructors that run for weeks or months. Those who are keen can choose a learning style as desired by them. These courses are conducted both physically and online, or even a business enterprise can decide to bring a Bootcamp to their enterprise to run a three-day workshop.
Few boot camps run for free, whereas others might need a subscription fee or a one-time fee ranging from $100 – $2500, as per the program. These are designed to offer hands-on experience and help build the resume and portfolio.
Salaries Of Business Analyst
Presently the data industry is experiencing a positive career outlook. IBM has predicted that soon there will be 2,720,000 jobs in the USA for data professionals, as the demand for these roles is at an all-time high. Business Analysts fall right in line with this trend, and even the average salary for this role is $85,260 annually. The Business Analyst’s salary can also vary as per the location of the individual. A report from PayScale states that compensation for business analysts in San Francisco exceeds the national average by 27 percent, followed by Seattle at twelve percent, and Boston at seven percent, among the others.
Some Other Job Titles & Salaries For Business Analyst
The positions are defined by the skillsets required by that role in the workplace. For instance, several job titles correlate with the work of a business analyst, such as:
1. Information Security Analyst
The average salary for this role is $99,730 per year, and it is expected that the job outlook will increase by 31 percent by 2029. The role of these individuals is to keep computer and technology systems safe within an enterprise, and their work closely relates to the protection of corporations from cyberattacks.
2. Computer Systems Analyst
The average salary for this role is $90,920 per year, and it is expected that the job outlook will increase by 7 percent by 2029. The role of these individuals is to optimize an organization’s efficiencies by evaluating a company’s technical systems & procedures.
3. Operations Research Analyst
The average salary for this role is $84,810 per year, and it is expected that the job outlook will increase by 25 percent by 2029. The role of these individuals is to assist the enterprise in investigating complex issues, solving problems, and enhancing decision-making practices based on analytical and mathematical investigations.
4. Business Data Analyst
The average salary for this role is $68,346 per year. These individuals are responsible for gathering and interpreting an organizations’ data on their behalf. Business Data Analysts often present this data to stakeholders to identify trends and areas that need to improve.
The role of a Business Analyst is considered entry-level within an enterprise, which means there is a massive opportunity for growth.
How To Find Success As A Business Analyst In 2022?
In the present times, Business Analysts play a crucial role in solving business problems using technological solutions. Today’s business world demands Business Analysts to find solutions for business problems and transform business models via technology architecture and software application. Hence, to help the business improve their product via data analysis, BAs would need to be more creative and innovative in their mindset.
To succeed as a business analyst in today’s time, it is vital to:
- Eager with the idea of remote working: Since the pandemic created havoc, remote working has become a mandatory part of most businesses. And hence a Business Analyst must also be okay with the idea of working remotely. This will require employees to develop adequate infrastructure to smooth the transition from an in-office working environment to a working-from-home. There are some challenges, but on a brighter note, they will have extra time gained from the time spent otherwise spent on traveling. Remote working also allows employees a better work-life balance, increases product, saves resources and money, and leaves no room for office distractions.
- Constantly train and get new certificates: It can be great for Business Analysts to train, learn new skills, and gain certifications continually. The few certifications that BAs can get are ECBA, IIBA, CBAP, BA, and CCBA. Using these certifications, Business Analysts can enhance confidence, decision-making ability, management proficiency, and mentor skills. This way, the analysts can always keep their skills sharp and ready as per the business world demands.
- Adopt technology: To better analyze business struggles and develop solutions, analysts will need to better engage with stakeholders via technological tools, like Webex, Zoom, Go-to-Webinar, and Go-to-meeting. These platforms allow analysts to get regular feedback to solve problems associated with various business models.
- Have a plan: It will be great for the Business Analysts to create a schedule of day’s tasks and time spent on those tasks. While planning, ensure the team is on the same page and constantly updated. Keep the team updated when going for a coffee, lunch break, or other breaks. Also, ensure your availability during stipulated work hours and create a proper plan to manage your time well.
- Maintain work discipline: While working remotely, Business Analysts should keep their workplace clean, organized, comfortable, and free from distraction.
Ultimately, the role of a business analyst is to deal with various layers of a business enterprise, as that’s why they are classified into various categories, such as Business Process Analyst, IT Business Analyst, and more. Business Analyst assists businesses in analyzing their products, services, processes, and systems to enhance existing processes and make profitable decisions via data analysis and insights.
A good Business Analyst is equipped with leadership skills, analytical skills, technical skills, business processes & planning. Tools that are helpful for Business Analysts are SmartDraw, Blueprint, TopTeam Analyst, etc.
By Hiring a Business Analyst, a business can benefit immensely as they significantly contribute to the smooth working of the company and its processes.