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What does a Business Analyst do?

by Chloe Baird
Posted: December 16, 2020

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You’ve probably heard the term Business Analyst before. But how much do you know about what a Business Analyst does? And what kind of roles are available out there for people who want to follow this particular career path? 

Read on to find out what a Business Analyst does, the skills you need to become a Business Analyst, and what jobs are out there for people who want to follow this career path. 

So, are you thinking of becoming a Business Analyst? 

Business Analyst Meeting

What does a Business Analyst do? 

The main role of a Business Analyst is to create in-depth business analyses for a company with the purpose of finding issues and making improvements. They do this by collecting data and researching and documenting business requirements. Then, after they’ve collected the data and identified areas for improvement, they need to work out how to implement these solutions.  

Often, a Business Analyst will work closely with the IT department as their role can also involve implementing new IT systems to improve productivity. 

Business Analysts can work in a range of different settings across a number of industries. They could work for a private company, a not-for-profit organisation, a government entity or an analysis firm. They could even freelance and work for themselves, hiring out their services to companies that need their particular skill set.  

Depending on the industry, the organisation and the organisation’s business goals, the Business Analyst will be on the lookout for different outcomes. For example, a charity will have different business goals to a bank. But no matter what the organisation, it’s the role of the Business Analyst to identify issues with the company’s current systems and processes and facilitate improvements.   

Some of the responsibilities of a Business Analyst include:  

  • collating data; 
  • documenting business requirements; 
  • identifying areas for improvement within the business; 
  • identifying risks and how they impact the business; 
  • reporting; 
  • forecasting and budgeting; and 
  • testing and implementation of new processes. 

What skills do you need to become a Business Analyst? 

To become a successful Business Analyst, there are certain traits and experience you’ll need.  

Many people are drawn to this role or similar roles because they love looking at data and discovering patterns and trends. And as technology continues to expand and evolve, and our methods of data collection become ever more advanced and accurate, the work of a Business Analyst is key in interpreting this data and using it to help an organisation reach its goals.  

But as well as a love for all things data and maths, there are other traits that are intrinsic to the role. 

Here are some of the important skills needed to become a successful Business Analyst: 

1. Problem solving 

At the heart of the Business Analyst’s role is the ability to identify and solve problems. Having strong critical thinking skills and not being daunted by complex problems are integral traits.  

2. Strong communication  

A Business Analyst will often work as a middleman between different departments within a business to make sure everyone is working efficiently, and will also deal with various stakeholders on a regular basis. The ability to also listen to what people are saying is equally as important as getting your message across clearly. Being a good listener is all about asking the right questions and sometimes also reading between the lines. 

3. Decision making 

Deadlines might sometimes be tight. This means that you’ll need to be able to make quick, but well-informed decisions when the need arises and items need to be prioritised.  

4. Planning 

Once you’ve found a problem and identified how to fix it, you’ll need to work out exactly how to implement these changes to benefit the business. This will take careful planning, and you’ll need to utilise those strong communication skills to get your message across to all levels of the company. 

5. Initiative  

Sometimes, the reason why a company is having problems can be obvious. Other times not so much. A Business Analyst must be ready to take the initiative and look into things even if it all looks OK on the surface. By being curious and asking the right kind of questions, they may uncover problems the business didn’t even realise they had.  

Two Business Analysts

What are the different roles available for Business Analysts? 

There are a number of roles that are adjacent to that of the Business Analyst. Often, these roles intersect, and the jobs listed below may work closely with Business Analysts to achieve company goals.

For example, a Business Analyst and a UX Analyst have similar goals, but their ultimate priorities are different. A Business Analyst seeks to improve the overall functionality of a business, while a UX Analyst has the customer at the heart of their projects.

Here are some of the roles associated with Business Analysts: 

1. Business Systems Analyst 

Also referred to as an IT Systems Analyst. In this role, an Analyst will specifically look at ways the company can improve through the use of technology and IT systems.

2. Sales Analyst

A Sales Analyst works to specifically increase sales and revenue for a company. They usually work closely with the sales teams and marketing teams to advise them how they can accomplish this.

3. Data Analyst

At first glance, it may not look as if there is much difference between a Data Analyst and a Business Analyst. But it’s all in the name—a Data Analyst works exclusively with data, while a Business Analyst will look at data as well as other functions of a business. The main focus of a Data Analyst is to develop systems for collecting data and then organising their findings into reports that can help improve the company.

4. UX Analyst 

A UX Analyst looks at ways a business can improve its user experience for its customers. But just because their role is user focused, UX Analysts still need to be across a business’s processes and their work is still based strongly on collected data.  

How do I become a Business Analyst? 

To become a Business Analyst you’ll generally need a Bachelor degree or a VET qualification.  

You can study a number of online business courses with OC. Our business portfolio covers everything from business management to accounting, and as our courses are offered online it means you can fit your study around your life’s other commitments.  

Most Business Analysts don’t start right at the top. As Business Analysts need to understand a business as a whole, and understand exactly how and why it functions, it helps to have previous experience in other related roles such as administration or sales.  

Take the first step towards a challenging yet rewarding career as a Business Analyst and enrol with OC today.  

 

Chloe Baird

Chloe is an Open Colleges alumnus who now works full time for OC as a Content and Copywriting Specialist. She is passionate about encouraging others to pursue their goals through education.

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