What Exactly Is a Business Analyst, Anyway?

To start things off; let’s say that, if you where to ask ten different HR Professionals what a Business Analyst is, that you would probably get about 10 different answers. Well that is basically the problem that the emerging field of “Business Analysis” is facing. So, to get a little clarity on the matter, let’s start by dividing all analysts into the two major categories; business (non-technical) and technical. These will be the two main divisions within the title. This is not to say that one isn’t able to or on occasion required to work on both sides of the fence. This only goes to prove how confusing the title “Business Analyst” really is.

The first side of this very broad coin is the business side. This will be those professionals who apply a specific methodology to provide solutions that increase the value of a company or a business.

The opposite side of the coin is going to be the IT or Technical side. Now, this side has a basic function of applying specific methodologies to provide “technical” solutions to problems, which increases the ability of the company, which in turn increases the value of a company. Confused yet? OK, moving on.

Many times analysts are hired to not only find the problems but to also provide solutions. This is a completely different role than a project manager. As a general rule a company will acquire the services of an analyst or a firm to address a particular issue or problem that it is facing. The analyst will then go to the business, collect data, apply methodologies and principles, and create a solution. At this time a requirements analyst will assess the needs and requirements (this may or may not be included in the solutions initially provided). This information is then passed on to a Project Manger. The PM will then follow his/her proven methodologies and techniques to produce the final product on budget and on time, hopefully.

Basically to describe what a business analyst is, we have to describe the work that a business analyst does. Because it doesn’t matter if the title is business analyst, process analyst, requirements analyst, operations analyst, business systems analyst, systems analyst, consultant, programmer/analyst, etc; the only thing that makes an analyst an analyst is the systematic approach to problems and solutions through predefined methodic principles.

Just a few of the characteristics of a BA will be that the analyst;
• Works with businesses to identify improvement opportunities within processes or operations
• Gathers, documents, and analyzes needs and requirements that a business may have
• The BA solves problems that companies have

There are different organizations that create or adhere to accepted standards of practice in the field of business analysis. One of which would be the certifying agency of the International Institute of Business Analysis another would be the Object Management Group. These organizations will adhere strictly to certain methodologies that when properly employed will lead not only the analyst, but their clients, to a successful outcome regardless of current situations.

Methodologies can vary greatly depending on the disciplines of the particular analyst or firm. No single methodology is right or wrong; however do keep in mind that there are several well defined sets of disciplines that can be verified with a simple internet search. If an analyst claims to use a particular system or discipline, check out.

So just to sum everything up, a business analyst is basically defined as somebody who performs certain tasks to make your business better. Like it has been said before, if you have a problem with your car, you find a mechanic. If you have a problem with your health, you find a doctor. If you have a problem with your business, you find a business analyst.

The Business Analyst Career

Job Of A Business Analyst

A business analyst can prove to be a savior for the business, if it is heading towards troubled waters on account of faulty business strategies. Hiring a business analyst not only improves the working of the company, but also simplifies client interaction. Therefore, if you take a job as a business analyst, keep in mind that you are expected to help the company save money.

A business analyst interprets the project terms and simplifies the business requirements of the stakeholder and sponsor. They formulate an effective project communication system. It is the business analyst’s job to gather accurate data and analyze information on clientele, staff and users, in relation to the technology used. Business analysts are needed in all industries, whether banking, telecommunication, software or pharmaceutical. They are employed in consultancies to offer business related solutions to client firms.

A business analyst studies various business-related problems and works toward finding solution for them. The job also involves system and functional analysis. The business analyst is a common link between the department of information and the enterprise. They collate and document the necessary requirements for the business and make it available for the information technology department.

The Business analyst understands the specific needs of the organization and finds a sound technical solution for the same. They interpret the project terms and simplify relations between the IT department and the business as a whole. The business analyst gathers accurate data and information about the staff and users, in connection with the human resources department and the technology at hand. Thereafter, they develop an effective project communication system, keeping in mind the various business possibilities and predicted threats. In larger organizations, there are both Senior Business Analysts and Junior Business Analysts.

The Functions Of A Business Analyst Are:

Strategist – A company should always focus on a winning strategy. Business analysts provide various business strategies that enable the business to survive the constant competition.

Architect – After strategically analyzing the business needs, the business analyst designs a work strategy to run the business efficiently. Afterwards, the business analyst provides the company with a design to achieve the company goals and objectives.

System Analyst – System analysts work towards getting the best returns from expensive IT investments.

The business analyst has to make sure that the business does not face any threat in future. As a part of their job, a business analyst warns the company about the various profit and loss possibilities in the future. This helps management to be able to tackle any kind of situation efficiently.

Benefits Of A Business Analyst Career

A business analyst can prove to be a savior for the business, if it is heading towards troubled waters on account of faulty business strategies. Hiring a business analyst not only improves the working of the company, but also simplifies client interaction. Therefore, if you take a job as a business analyst, keep in mind that you are expected to help the company save money.

A business analyst interprets the project terms and simplifies the business requirements of the stakeholder and sponsor. They formulate an effective project communication system. It is the business analyst’s job to gather accurate data and analyze information on clientele, staff and users, in relation to the technology used. Business analysts are needed in all industries, whether banking, telecommunication, software or pharmaceutical. They are employed in consultancies to offer business related solutions to client firms.

A Comprehensive Guide to Your Business Analyst Career

Business analyst acts as a liaison between the information technology (IT) division of the company and management. He is responsible for analysing the company’s business systems and identifying different options for augmenting the working of business systems. It is the job of an analyst to clearly understand the problems of a company and create viable solutions for the woes confronting the business. While creating these systems, it is his job to provide technological solutions to different business problems.

Duties

1= Defines and records various business functions & processes.
2= Consults with management and personnel to clearly define business needs, procedures, problems and different levels of systems access.
3= Develops new systems and makes enhancements to current systems in order to ensure that it is in close conformity to the needs of the user.
4= Identifies various opportunities for improving business processes through information systems.
5= Provides assistance in training technical staff.

Requisite qualifications

In reality, there are no particular qualifications that you may need for doing analyst jobs. Business analyst job has become synonymous with engineering and IT. As a result, an IT background would be required for certain job profiles. Also, a post-graduate degree in finance is an added benefit. The IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis) is offering a certified professional certification, which is recognized across the world.

Remuneration

In the last few years, there has been a spurt in the economic growth. Due to this, there are various business analyst jobs which are available in the market. The package of an analyst is quite lucrative and the job comes along with other perks as well. The package depends on factors like company, experience, work profile, location and skills. The IT sector business analysts are drawing good perks. On an average, an analyst can earn around Rs 5-12 lakh/annum.

Sectors generating jobs are

Construction
Oil & gas
Telecommunication
Insurance & finance
Information technology
Hospitality

In India, there is no dearth of jobs for analysts. Some of the top companies offering business analyst jobs are-

Genpact
Infosys
Wipro
Deloitte
IBM
Oracle
TCS

Career progression

Analysts usually start their careers in entry-level job roles. They primarily focus on information, research and interviews. As an analyst gains more experience, they start working on important projects, which demand an impeccable use of complex tools and knowledge. Once a business analyst has gained work experience and skills within different job roles, he/she may also start own consulting business or move into other managerial roles.