What do Business Analysts do, and how important is their role in a company? A Business Analyst's role is vital, especially in bridging the gap between IT and the use of business data analytics. Data analytics take center stage in a Business Analyst's day, as they use data analytics to assess, process, and determine requirements, as well as deliver data-driven solutions and recommendations to a company. They also prepare reports to be given to executives and stakeholders to give them an understanding of the company's outlook, its competitive position, and help these stakeholders make profitable business decisions to steering the company toward success.
Business Analysts deal with business leaders, company owners, and users to understand how data drive changes to products, services, processes, software, and hardware, and how these can improve the efficiencies and increase value. Business Analysts also explain these ideas and support these solutions against technological feasibility, as well as functional and financial reasonable limits.
Business Analysts work with different data sets to improve a company’s product, software, tools, hardware, processes, and services. According to the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), Business Analysts are 'agents of change' and defines business analysis as a disciplined approach of managing and introducing change within an organization using data analysis.
What's the Business Analyst's job description?
A Business Analyst is responsible for the creation of new models that assist in making better business decisions. They usually work closely with the financial reporting and IT departments to build sustainable strategies and initiatives that can improve and optimize costs. A Business Analyst would need a firm understanding of reporting and regulatory requirements, as well as plenty of experience in budgeting, forecasting, and financial analysis combined with understanding key performance indicators.
Generally, a Business Analyst's job description includes:
- Creating a detailed business analysis for a company
- Outlining problems and opportunities
- Propose viable and sustainable business solutions
- Pricing, budgeting, and forecasting
- Planning and monitoring
- Reporting to stakeholders and variance analysis
- Defining business requirements
Among the top priorities of a Business Analyst would be to identify and prioritize which aspects of functional and technical requirements a business needs to look into first. Eliciting these requirements and using it to get IT on board and understand the client’s requirements are among the biggest responsibilities for BAs. They need to put themselves in the mind of the product owner.
As such, a Business Analyst would need to ask these questions when working on a specific product or looking at a set of data analytics:
- What do the systems need to do?
- How do they do it?
- How do we need to get input from?
- How can we get everyone to agree on what we need to do before we do it?
A BA’s professional life centers around defining and prioritizing requirements, as well as getting feedback and approval on these requirements.
However, due to digital transformations taking place in all industries, a BA’s role is also constantly changing and evolving. As more and more ways are created to obtain more accurate data, companies continue to rely heavily on data to understand how their business is improving, what are the best ways to make an investment, which strategies to pay more focus on, and what business operations are needed at a specific time. Every company and organization has different issues to deal with and a Business Analyst to address those. This can be anything from dealing with changing technologies, confronting outdated legacy systems, fixing broken processes, looking into poor client satisfaction, as well as restructuring siloed large organizations.
What skills are needed by a Business Analyst?
A competent Business Analyst requires both soft skills and hard skills. They would need to know how to extract, analyze, and report data trends, and articulate this information to stakeholders and business owners.
Business Analysts don't necessarily need a background in IT (although having it would be a plus). However, they do need to have a general understanding of how systems work, the products involved, and the tools needed. Some Business Analysts have a strong foundation in IT, but not much experience in business and vice versa. However, more and more new graduates in the field of BA are moving toward a hybrid role that includes both a foundation in business and IT.
The IIBA has outlined some of the most vital skills and experiences that a Business Analyst should have. These are:
- Good oral and written communication skills
- An understanding of stakeholder analysis
- Excellent interpersonal and consultative skills
- Costs benefit analysis
- Facilitation skills
- Understanding of networks, databases, and other technology
- Being detail-oriented and capable of delivering a high level of accuracy
- Organizational skills
- Knowledge of the business structure
- Requirements engineering
- Analytical thinking and problem-solving
- Processes modeling
Business Analyst salaries
Knowing how much you'll be paid or what's the take-home salary of a Business Analyst is also essential. After all, it's what pays the bills. The average salary of a Business Analyst is $67,000 a year, according to data obtained from PayScale.
BAs based in San Francisco have the highest pay rate, at least 28% much higher than the national average. Coming in second is New York, with an 18% higher pay rate than the national average, with Boston in third place with 7% higher annual pay.
What are the certifications required for Business Analysts?
The IIBA is the most premier organization that offers certificates related to BA. Other organizations also offer certifications such as the PMI, IQBBA, and IREB. Generally, the certifications a BA would need to boost their resume and career are:
- IIBA Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA)
- IIBA Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA)
- IIBA Certified Business Analyst Professional (CBAP)
- IIBA Agile Analysis Certification (AAC)
- IQBBA Certified Foundation Level Business Analyst (CFLBA)
- IREB Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering (CPRE)
- PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PBA)
If you've accumulated some years of work experience in BA, and you're thinking of getting certified, a good place to begin would be to enroll in training courses such as https://www.adaptiveus.com/cbap-certification-training/. These training courses are tailored to focus on the type of certification, offer mock tests, workshops, and sessions to help you ace your exam on the first attempt!