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!
What is business analysis in simple words? ›
Business analysis is used to identify and articulate the need for change in how organizations work, and to facilitate that change. As business analysts, we identify and define the solutions that will maximize the value delivered by an organization to its stakeholders.What does a business analyst really do? ›
Managing projects, developing project plans, monitoring performance, and ensuring timely turnover of deliverables. Communicate changes, recommendations, and procedures to business teams. Remain engaged with business leaders to help them understand how changes impact the goals of the organization.What skills should business analysts have select an answer? ›
You can answer this by stating that a business analyst must have exceptional communication and negotiation skills. Analytical thinking, problem-solving, and decision making are also vital attributes. A business analyst should have industry knowledge, business process management skills along with technical proficiency.Why do you want to be a business analyst Sample answer? ›
“One of the main reasons I want to be a business analyst is because I like to be able to see a direct relationship between my efforts and the company's success. In my summer work term, I was able to improve the company's operational efficiencies resulting in a cost savings of 2%.”What are the 4 types of business analytics? ›
- Descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics. ...
- Descriptive analytics. ...
- Predictive analytics. ...
- Prescriptive analytics. ...
- A data-led future.
The three most common types of analytics, descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics, are interconnected solutions that help businesses make the most of their big data. All of these analytics approaches provide a unique perspective.What are the three main roles of a business analyst? ›
- Analyzing and evaluating the current business processes a company has and identifying areas of improvement.
- Researching and reviewing up-to-date business processes and new IT advancements to make systems more modern.
- Presenting ideas and findings in meetings.
Critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making are three crucial strengths that are required from a good business analyst. Having industry or business knowledge and management skills are also a plus.What is the most important task of the BA? ›
A BA's primary responsibility is to drive the client's business processes by analyzing its present state and suggesting specific solutions for improving organizational needs. Business analysts are required to analyze and communicate information. They are responsible for the organization's development.What makes a strong business analyst? ›
Great BA's are good communicators, problem-solvers, and think critically. They can create requirements specifications, analyze requirements, create visual models, facilitate elicitation sessions, and use the necessary business analyst tools.
What does a business analyst do on a daily basis? ›
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.What qualities should a good business analyst have? ›
- Good communication skills. Business analysts must have communication skills as they have to communicate with a variety of stakeholders. ...
- Active listening skills. ...
- Problem-solving skills. ...
- Analytic skills. ...
- Multi-disciplinary skills. ...
- Decision-facilitation skills.
- First, take a look at the job posting. What skills are they looking for? ...
- Next, brush up on your knowledge of the company. Research their history, mission statement, and any recent news stories.
- Finally, practice your answers to common interview questions.
Changing Business Needs or Requirements
Business stakeholders frequently request revisions to requirements even after they have been finalized and approved, as experienced by Business Analysts. It might happen more once, even for the exact requirement, making it one of the most frequent issues.
The first sentence of your introduction should tell the interviewer that you want them to listen and understand who you are as a person and why they should care about what it is that you have to say. Remember, focus on your skills and experiences relevant to the role.What are examples of business analytics? ›
- Growing sales. ...
- Developing marketing strategies. ...
- Using predictive analytics. ...
- Improving financial efficiency. ...
- Increasing productivity through streamlined processes.
Business analytics is generally thought of in terms of its two main components: business intelligence (BI) and statistical analysis. Many organizations use BI for reporting, dashboards, visualizations, and online analytical processing (OLAP) of historical data analysis.What are the 7 analytical methods? ›
- Regression analysis.
- Monte Carlo simulation.
- Factor analysis.
- Cohort analysis.
- Cluster analysis.
- Time series analysis.
- Sentiment analysis.
- Descriptive analytics.
- Diagnostic analytics.
- Predictive analytics.
- Prescriptive analytics.
- Credit Card Companies. ...
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) ...
- Finance. ...
- Human Resources. ...
- Manufacturing. ...
What is Step 7 in the business analytics process? ›
Make a decision and measure the outcome
The analyst will then make decisions and take action based on the derived insights from the model and the organisational goals.
On the one hand, «business analyst» is an umbrella term for all roles in this list and many more (like “data analyst,” “enterprise analyst,” “process analyst,” “system analyst”).What is an entry level business analyst? ›
What Does an Entry-Level Business Analyst Do? 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.Do business analyst have targets? ›
Goal setting is crucial to the career development of a business analyst. Particularly when positions are data-driven, goals can provide focus and motivation. If you're a business analyst, learning more about goal setting can help you structure your performance and charter a path for career growth and development.Is business analyst an IT job? ›
The answer is no. Business analysts do work alongside technology professionals and software development processes. But they are not involved in coding / programming, that's the job of developers.Is business analysis a skill? ›
There are certain business analyst skills one need to develop and master in order to become a successful business analyst. The technical skills for a business analyst are also known to be a bridge between a company's business problems and technological solutions for a business.What type of person is a business analyst? ›
The average Business Analyst tends to be direct in verbalizing concerns without leaving anything up for interpretation, occasionally being blunt with feedback. The average Business Analyst tends to be an objective thinker who prioritizes accuracy and results.What is the most difficult part of being a business analyst? ›
One of the biggest challenges that business analysts face is knowing the project scope. The project scope is the “what” and “why” of a project. It is the foundation of a business analyst's job. Answering the “what” and “why” gives us a clear picture of our role in the project and how we will be involved.Which tools business analyst should know? ›
- Requirements management. ...
- Project management. ...
- Enterprise resource planning (ERP) ...
- Modeling / Diagramming. ...
- Wireframing. ...
- Collaboration / Communication. ...
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
“I have previous experience working with projects that had similar problems to yours. I also have excellent communication skills and further technical knowledge that would be an asset to your company. The mix of technical and team skills I bring to the table make me an ideal fit for this role.”
Is SQL required for business analyst? ›
With big data and relational databases being the new norm for most companies, SQL knowledge is a prerequisite for almost any business analyst job.What values does a business analyst need? ›
The core values of a business analyst are to enable an organization to achieve its goals for:
- The project by increasing the team's efficiency.
- The client by clarifying scope and advocating for business stakeholders.
Getting your bachelor's degree in a quantitative field like economics, finance, computer science, data science, statistics, information management, or a similar field can prepare you for business analysis jobs.Does a business analyst need it skills? ›
While business analysts are generally not required to write code, it is often helpful for them to have a foundational understanding of basic programming languages, such as Java, C++, Visual Basic and PHP. You'll be able to apply this working knowledge as you identify company challenges and develop solutions.How can I improve my Business Analyst skills? ›
- Know Why You Are Looking. ...
- Use A Variety of Tools. ...
- Consider Positives and Negatives. ...
- Look for Underlying Causes. ...
- Understand Your Organization. ...
- Present Conclusions Meaningfully. ...
- 5 Ways You Can Improve Relationships With Customers.
- 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?
General and Short – within a two minute self-introduction speech, you need not tell them your whole life story. Keep it general and short. State your name, your age if you are comfortable, and your course if you are a student and your future goals. The same goes for professionals at work.Why should we hire you example? ›
“Over the years, I have acquired relevant skills and experience, which I shall bring to your organization. I have also worked tirelessly on my communication abilities and teamwork skills, which I will put to use in my future career, which would be in your organization if I am selected for the position.What is business analysis and its types? ›
Business analysis is a broad term that includes a number of different disciplines. There are three main types of business analysis: functional, process and organizational. Functional business analysis looks at the current system to see how it works and what the customer needs.What are examples of business analytics? ›
- Growing sales. ...
- Developing marketing strategies. ...
- Using predictive analytics. ...
- Improving financial efficiency. ...
- Increasing productivity through streamlined processes.
How do you explain an analysis? ›
An analysis is a detailed examination of a topic. It involves performing research and separating results into smaller, logical topics to form reasonable conclusions. It presents a specific argument about the topic and supports that argument with evidence.What is most in business analysis? ›
MOST is short for Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics. MOST analysis is used to improve internal processes and company culture by analysing the organisation's internal environment.How do you do a 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.
Business Analytics is the process by which businesses use statistical methods and technologies for analyzing historical data in order to gain new insight and improve strategic decision-making.Who uses business analytics? ›
Typically, commerical organizations use business analytics in order to: Analyze data from multiple sources. Use advanced analytics and statistics to find hidden patterns in large datasets. Deseminate information to relevant stakeholders through interactive dashboards and reports.What data is used in business analytics? ›
Whereas BI studies historical data to guide business decision-making, business analytics is about looking forward. It uses data mining, data modeling, and machine learning to answer “why” something happened and predict what might happen in the future.What are the 5 steps of analysis? ›
- STEP 1: DEFINE QUESTIONS & GOALS.
- STEP 2: COLLECT DATA.
- STEP 3: DATA WRANGLING.
- STEP 4: DETERMINE ANALYSIS.
- STEP 5: INTERPRET RESULTS.
These steps and many others fall into three stages of the data analysis process: evaluate, clean, and summarize.What are the 7 steps to analysis? ›
- Define goals. Defining clear goals will help businesses determine the type of data to collect and analyze.
- Integrate tools for data analysis. ...
- Collect the data. ...
- Clean the data. ...
- Analyze the data. ...
- Draw conclusions. ...
- Visualize the data.